Vinotherapy might sound like an extravagant form of behavior therapy where anxiety and distress is coaxed into submission over a tall glass of Gran Reserva, but in reality, it’s so much more…
The relaxing properties of a large glass of red wine after a long day at the office are well known to many; however, few will have experienced the virtues of literally soaking in this most noble of beverages. While famous ladies throughout history – such as Cleopatra or Queen Elizabeth I – are known to have bathed in milk to preserve their youth and beauty, the idea of bathing in wine is a relatively new one.
What is Vinotherapy?
The theory behind wine therapy lies in the essence of the grape. The seeds, skin and leaves of the red grape contain antocyanosides, polyphenols and procyanidols, which have been proven to exert more antioxidants, or anti-free radicals, than that of Vitamin E. Consequently, it is said to aid in the vicious fight against aging, by restoring collagen and elastic fibers. Having seen some rather deep wrinkles near my eyes in the mirror as of recent, I’ve been hoping that the treatments I’ve received are still working their magic, even going to far to put just an extra drop or two of wine on those “troubled” areas anytime I think of it. I’m taking bets that if I both consume and cover my entire body with wine, I’ll either age with grace and beauty, or I’ll become a raisin.
Is Vinotherapy Worth your Time and Money?
If you’ve never tried vinotherapy in your life, go for it! It’s fun. It’s a good story. And hey, everyone needs a little gratuitous pampering every now and then. However, this assumes that you have 150 Euros burning in your back pocket to spend. While some of you would rather use that money for a holiday weekend in the country, a nice dinner, or a case of wine, there might be others who find vinotherapy the perfect compliment to a vacation getaway. If that just so happens to be you, here’s what I suggest you experience.
The Best and the Worst of Vinotherapy
Having received the gamut of vinotherapy offerings, I’d suggest you keep it to a facial. Why? Because of any part of your body that needs to fight against free radicals and pollution, it’s your face. Plus, it was the one treatment that I found myself lost in complete relaxation while being sprayed with flower essences, containing the soluble part of the aromatic molecules, massaged with various muds, grape oils and exfoliants – all of which may have given me a body buzz.
The other option is to savor a wine therapy bath. Granted, I’ve only bathed in reduced Cabernet Sauvignon must, and have never tried the Field Blend experience, but even my monovarietal soak while downing a glass of wine was…well…holistic. Granted, I can’t promise that you wouldn’t get the exact same benefits from dumping a bottle of wine in your own bathtub, but here at least you don’t have to clean it up.
What I wouldn’t suggest is the full body exfoliate. This is an all around a bad idea unless your body is one big callous. Simply put, it hurts! Trust me, there is nothing that my butt has sat on long enough to qualify sharp crushed pips being rubbed into this very sensitive area, nor does my chest need to be buffed and shined. If the message therapist kept to my feet and hands, I’d be in seventh heaven, but you just can’t convince me that pain equals relaxation.
Where to find Vinotherapy in Spain
Marques de Riscal
Located in the heart of Marques de Riscals’ City of Wine in Rioja Alave, this spa is for the uber extravagant. From hot stone treatments using essential grape seed oil to a floral bath of white viura, your wish is their command. They have several packages available depending on how extensive you’d like your experience to be, ranging from a romantic couple massage to a full on 3 hour vinotherapy adventure. Well staffed and beautifully decorated, I trust you could spend an entire day finding excuses to hang out, or hit the town for a Private Tapas Tour down Calle Laurel in the nearby town of Logroño, or continue your experience with a multiday Private Wine Tour of Rioja!
Located just south of Barcelona in DO Penedes, on a 16th-century estate at the foot of Montserrat mountain and surrounded by sweeping vineyards, this is an absolutely beautiful spa. Intimate, homey and familiar, you feel more as if you’re in someone’s home than a decked out spa. Offering Turkish baths, ayurvedic massages and of course, a wide range of vinotherapy treatments, I trust you won’t be disappointed. And one suggestion, stay at the hotel. This allows you to head out on a Day Trip to explore Spanish Cava, or simply stay back and bask in the gorgeous hotel amenities including their pool.
Aire de Barcelona
In Barcelona, the luxury spa Aire de Barcelona offers its guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in a preparation of one of Spain’s most famous wines: the Ribera del Duero. After a journey through the spa’s prestigious bath circuit, including cold and hot baths, guests are taken for a 45-minute full-body massage before finishing with a soak in the exclusive wine bath – and, of course, a glass of wine to enjoy throughout! For those needing to explore the romantic backstreets of Barcelona, there’s also an opportunity to experience a Romantic Food and Wine Tour, or a Barcelona Cooking Class where you explore the world-famous fresh food markets and hidden grocers before whipping up a mouthwatering meal.
Where to find Vinotherapy in Portugal
Beyond the plush spa that offers spectacular views of the Alentejano countryside, the hotel’s big attractions are its incredible suites whose ceilings open wide so guests can gaze leisurely at the stars while drifting off to sleep. And there’s more. The building ebbs beautifully into the olive studded landscape, the Michelin starred restaurant features local homegrown ingredients, and the resort comes equipped with a sumptuous swimming pool that connects to an enormous lake with a stunning view of the Montemor-o-Novo castle. And while you’re appreciating florescent wildflowers blanketing the valleys, large horns from gigantic steers peeking over undulating hills, and ancient Dolomite ruins creating a majestic setting for a culinary adventure, you can revel in the region’s rich culinary culture. One our 1 Day Alentejo Food and Wine Tour, savor creamy bread soups seasoned with purslane or cilantro; the infamous Carne do Porco Alentejana stew made with pork and clams served over a bed of potatoes; delicious Alentejano steaks; and secretos de porco made from the famed black footed pig, used in Spain for the glorious jamon de bellota. Hungry yet?
Herdade de Malhadinha Nova
The wild and remote beauty of Herdade de Malhadinha Nova’s luxury retreat down south in Alentejo’s Beja region is perfect for those looking for a secluded hideaway, a place to let the kids run wild, or a secret spot to indulge yourself. Whitewashed rooms are spacious and elegant, the spa offers an array of indulgent vinotherapy treatments. The infinity pool offers gorgeous views of the vineyard and plain ahead. With so much free time, visitors have no choice but to take advantage of the great outdoors – a sprawl of plain and cork oak forests that stretch as far as the eye can see, the massive Alqueva reservoir, and the glorious beaches – though not many people seem to know about them.
Worldly recognized for its wines and beautiful scenery, the Douro’s quiet country living and dramatic scenery has a strong appeal to those looking to escape the hectic city life. The river forms the backbone of the valley named after it, winding from the Spanish border to the sea. On the bordering slopes, vineyard terraces and rows were artfully carved into the land like steps, spotted here and there by century-old manors, among them the beautiful Six Senses Hotel Resort Spa. The spa offers dozens of treatments, many of which incorporate vinotherapeautic elements; hence, there’s something for everyone. And let’s be honest, as you’re in the Douro anyway, you might as well put the cherry on top of your experience with a Luxury Harvest Tour or a Private Wine and Food Tour to gain the most from your time in the Douro!
After a Private Cooking Class or Culinary Tour through the Porto’s medieval quarter – with its steep, narrow streets and unexpected views of the river and its bridges – cross over the emblematic double-deck iron bridge, to sample the deservedly famous port wine at The Yeatman. Sitting in between several port lodges – where for centuries wines have been blended and matured – this luxury wine hotel and spa has every imaginable experience possible. From it’s award winning cellar – one of the largest in Portugal – to its plush wine bar, Michelin star wine restaurant and award-winning spa, The Yeatman is perfect for anyone needing a little pampering.
Vinotherapy at Home
So maybe you’re not a huge fan of traveling all the way to Spain for a treatment. A backup plan may be to get the same benefits from the intimacy of your own home. Aroms-Nature provides homemade vinotherapy products for sale. Simply check out their website, perusing through the mosaic of different fruit, plant and vegetable products to find exactly the treatment you’re looking for.