Though emerging wine regions may not have an established viticulture hundreds of years old, they do have the advantage of giving birth to some of the most innovative wineries in the world.
Areas like the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario, Canada, and Central Otago, New Zealand, have begun commanding attention for architectural designs that not only wow the eye but also impress with an insistence on sustainable practices. Even more established regions, Napa Valley and Mendoza among them, contain some of the coolest wineries — ones that offer something unique to separate them from the pack, like an abandoned winery that Trapiche took over and renovated, merging state-of-the-art facilities with vintage elements that celebrate Mendoza’s winemaking heritage.
In fact, some historic wineries like Lopez de Heredia in La Rioja, Spain, have begun to reimagine themselves in this brave new world of state-of-the-art facilities. To celebrate their 125th year, the Spanish winery commissioned world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid to design an eye-catchingly modern visitors’ center. But looks aren’t everything, of course. Concept, too, gets points, like at New York’s City Winery, which combines the art of winemaking with a passion for music-making, all wrapped up in a lovely little package in Tribeca, where visitors and members can crush grapes and blend wines in addition to pairing them with food or with nightly concerts featuring new talent and well-known rock stars.
Then there are the wineries that offer a little something extra to the intrepid wine traveler. For instance, Hop Kiln Winery, set inside in a converted hop dryer on the premises of an old hops farm, may appeal to wine enthusiasts who also love their brews. Or for fun-seekers, Novelty Hill-Januik Winery built a glass crystal-detailed fire pit and bocce court, and for wine-drinking art lovers, Clos Pegase displays an expansive collection of paintings in their visitors' center and caves, plus a huge outdoor sculpture garden.
It’s an adjective that escapes definition, but each of the 10 wineries on our list has some element that fits the description of that je ne sais quoi of cool.