Treating your group to a good bottle of wine is one thing. Pouring them a glass fresh from the vineyard is another. Following, we uncork a few U.S. winery hotels where your group can stop, sip and stay.
- Braselton, Ga.
- Guest rooms: 275
- Meeting Space: 53,611 square feet
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With 20 acres of vineyards and 30 varieties of wine -- whites, reds and Muscadine-grape blends -- Château Élan Winery and Resort (pictured above) produces about 500,000 bottles each year. Groups of up to 60 can take a private tour of the production and vat rooms, led by a steward who will detail the wine-making process from grape-to-glass. After the tour, indulge in a guided tasting of winemaker-selected blends in Château Élan's cask and tasting rooms. The property also sets up events out in the field, as well as activities like cooking demonstrations among the vines.
The property features a 275-room resort; a 40,000-square-foot conference center; 10,000 square feet of outdoor event space, including the vineyards and a 16th-century-style château; four golf courses; eight restaurants; a spa; a tasting room; and a tennis center. The property currently is wrapping up a $25 million renovation that is transforming the guest rooms, three restaurants, the fitness center, the atrium and lobby, the pool terrace, the spa, and the tasting room and winery. In addition, Le Petit Cafe, a coffee and wine bar, is being added to the hotel lobby and will feature an outdoor patio.
- Geneva, N.Y.
- Guest rooms: 47
- Meeting space: 8,570 square feet
On a vineyard adjacent to Seneca Lake in New York's Finger Lakes, Belhurst a stone castle dating back to the 1800s, and the historic building's original beamed cathedral ceilings, mosaic fireplaces and period décor still dazzle. Each of its 47 guest rooms was designed with a unique theme, such as the study room, the billiard room and the bamboo room. The property treats travelers to complimentary wine on tap, and offers two restaurants, two ballrooms and a spa.
Private tours through the on-site vineyard are available for groups of up to 25 people, and wine tastings can be arranged. Belhurst Castle also offers private, six-course food-and-wine pairing dinners for which the executive chef creates unique, seasonally inspired dishes. Each course is expertly paired with a Belhurst vintage. A host educates groups on the history of wines from the Finger Lakes area and provides specific tasting notes for each course.
- Napa Valley, Calif.
- Guest rooms: 41
- Meeting space: 900 square feet
This boutique luxury hotel is owned by the winemakers behind the local Hall and Walt wine labels, known for their cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir, respectively. Groups can embark on a winery tour to sample the bounty of local producers, or planners can arrange for participants to board the Napa Valley Wine Train for a chartered journey through the countryside. Daring attendees might choose to soar above the vineyard in a hot-air baloon for a birds-eye-view, or they can stay on the ground and cycle through town on a bike tour.
The property sets up a complimentary wine-and-cheese reception each afternoon; its 900-square-foot meeting room with vine and fountain backdrops welcomes groups of up to 50. As the day ends, attendees can debrief with a wine tasting around the fire pits.
- Palisade, Colo.
- Guest rooms: 80
- Meeting space: 7,326 square feet
Colorado's first wine-themed hotel, Wine Country Inn is not exclusively operated by a vineyard; adjacent to two wineries, the property is surrounded by 21 acres of vines that produce grapes that are crushed and bottled under the inn's signature label. Guests get to try the wines during complimentary afternoon tastings.
The hotel's vineyard ballroom hosts groups of up 120 guests. When there's free time in the schedule, attendees can hop on bicycles for a guided or self-guided tour of the vineyard.
- Williamsburg, Va.
- Guest rooms: 28
- Meeting space: 1,098 square feet
In 1983, the Duffeler family -- descendants of colonists who settled in Virginia -- bought a 300-acre farm, and two years later the Williamsburg Winery was founded. The vineyard is now Virginia's largest with an annual production between 55,000-60,000 cases of red, white, dry and dessert-specialty blends -- almost 20 percent of the state's total wine production. In 2007, an on-site hotel opened for after 10 years of planning.
The property, Wedmore Place, features two dining options and 28 guest rooms, all but four of which are equipped with wood-burning stoves. The multiple meeting spaces can accommodate up to 300 people, and groups of at least eight can partake in private wine tastings of select blends. The hotel's Extensive Tour and Reserve Wine Tasting includes a trip to the vineyard and grape-crushing pad, and a detailed tour of the cellar led by wine educators. The tours are followed by a seated tasting of nine wines featuring estate and reserve blends. A three-course dinner at the property's Cafe Provencal can also be added to the itinerary.