Bordeaux, France is not only the home of some of the finest wines in the world, but it is also where the first official wine spa opened in 1999. After stumbling upon the secret that grape seeds are chalk-full of the antioxidant polyphenol and vitamins C and E, Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas used the leftovers from grape harvesting on their Château Smith Haut Lafitte estate to create the Caudalie line of skin care products, now trademarked as Caudalie Vinothérapie. Their first hotel, Les Sources de Caudalie, offers guests vinotherapy treatments such as a leisurely splurge in the depths of crushed fresh grapes,
a pulp friction massage or a soothing soak in vintage tinted baths.
The Romance of the Vine
With the revelation that wine not only tastes good but it's good for you, wine spas began spreading to every corner of the world. They say the enjoyment lies not only in the luxurious vinotherapy treatments, but also in the travel to the luxe resorts. According to the location, you can get your Merlot face wrap overlooking the vineyards of Sonoma or a champagne facial in the midst of Bordeaux. Here's a quick look at three favorites:
Kenwood Inn, the first vinotherapy spa in the US, is snuggled into the heart of California's wine country where, amongst a full array of treatments to choose from, you can get your skin slathered with grape seed oil, honey and salt followed by a quick mist of grape water.
In Italy, the vinothérapie spa Relais San Maurizio is housed in a 17th century monastery overlooking the vineyards of Piedmont. Wine massages, scrubs, facials and wraps are provided along with a cocktail bar honoring Ernest Hemingway.
Not to be overlooked, South African vineyards have also entered the spa scene. A short distance from Cape Town is the Santé Winelands Hotel and Wellness Center. Its vinotherapy treatments include chardonnay wraps, grape detox diets and wine casket baths.
Whichever one you choose, you'll come out a little happier and a lot healthier.