It might not be like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s wedding at their Château Miraval in Provence, but getting married in a winery is within everybody’s reach —no need to fork out $55 million to buy the estate or say “Yes, I do” to a Hollywood star.
There are many wineries in Spain which offer their premises for weddings. Most of them see it as an extra source of business beyond selling wine and is part of their wine tourism offer.
An abundance of historical buildings coupled with good weather has helped Jerez to be a place where tying the knot at a winery is a long-standing tradition. María José is one of the founders of Jerez de Bodas, a wedding planner operating mainly around the Sherry Triangle.
“About 80% of the weddings we organize take place in wineries or estates surrounded by vineyards. Most of the companies we work with —Lustau, Sánchez Romate, González Byass— are located in solemn regal buildings, which people adore”, she says. Wine is not the most important priority when deciding a wedding location, but couples do like the wine theme, María José explains. “While the bride and groom are having their photo session we show the winery to the guests”, she adds.
Luis Pérez is a recently established winery with 17 hectares of vineyards planted with Tintilla de Rota, Tempranillo and several French varieties. They are specialized in red wines, an exception in an area where sherry rules and Palomino is the dominant variety. The estate in the outskirts of Jerez is available for hire and includes a manor house, gardens and lounges with spectacular views of the vineyards —civil ceremonies and receptions for up to 500 guests. At €3,225 for a day’s rent it is not a cheap option, but the party has exclusive use of the facilities throughout the day.
As in Jerez, wine tradition is well established in this appellation —not so much the fact of holding weddings at the region’s wineries. Out of over 800 wine producers registered in the DOCa Rioja, only a handful of them organize this kind of events, although numbers are increasing.
Finca de los Arandinos started as a wine tourism project in 2011 with a winery, boutique hotel, restaurant and spa. “The space we have was not originally designed to hold large events so we didn’t celebrate any weddings until recently —usually after couples enjoy a weekend break at the hotel”, explains María Sáenz, communication manager. “People look for small, personal venues; somewhere with a bit more charm than large function rooms”.
Facilities in Entrena, a 15-minute drive to Logroño, are booked entirely for the event and include a 14-room hotel and restaurant with meals served for 90 people. Their services include the bridal suite, tailor-made decorations, music and drinks bar along with new trends such as a photocall and a candy bar with sweets for guests to enjoy during the party. Wine is always supplied by Los Arandinos. “Anyone getting married at a winery understands that your wines will be served, but of course they are welcome to choose any of the wines in the range to serve to their guests”, says María. She remembers a wedding when the bride and groom didn’t drink wine. “They were both into beer. When they arrived at the restaurant, we normally serve a glass of wine for the wedding toast. On this occasion, they wanted to toast with Mahou (a Spanish beer) and of course, we couldn’t say no”.
Other wineries in the region with wedding venues: Viña Real, Eguren Ugarte, Bodegas Franco Españolas.
Getting married in a 12th century abbey surrounded by vineyards is the experience offered by Abadía Retuerta, a winery based in Sardón de Duero (Valladolid). After thorough renovations in 2013, the abbey has been converted into a luxury 5-star hotel which includes Le Domaine, a one Michelin star restaurant where chef Andoni Luis Aduriz (Mugaritz, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country) acts as consultant.
Last year 15 couples, both Spanish and from abroad, chose Abadía Retuerta to say “Yes, I do”. Both civil and Catholic ceremonies are held —prior to having the blessing of the church judge in Valladolid. “Provided a wedding is not religious, couples can choose to hold their receptions in the church”, explains Estefanía Gimeno, from Abadía Retuerta. A standard wedding pack includes the rental of the 21 rooms in the hotel, welcome cocktail and a menu paired with wines from our winery by our sommelier. Other wines can be added to the menu for an extra fee. Free drinks bar, photocall, supper and even a butler are some additional services offered for weddings, which add up to the €180 average spend per guest. “For the winery, this kind of events mean brand visibility rather than extra wine sales. Word of mouth after a luxury wedding is very welcome”, adds Estefanía.
Other wineries in the region with wedding venues: Cepa 21, Dehesa de los Canónigos, Finca Torremilanos.
A restored 18th century manor house surrounded by vineyards accommodates the Casal de Arman winery, hotel and restaurant in Rivadavia (Ribeiro). Run by the González Vázquez family since 2004, they expanded the restaurant business in 2010 to welcome weddings and other events that might increase brand visibility. They are doing pretty well, says Jorge, one of the owners. “Last year we had 20 weddings; we already have 25 bookings for this year”. They are flexible and try to adapt to all kinds of requests. “We shut the restaurant for the day so the bride and groom and their guests can enjoy this place to themselves. It’s a beautiful location, on the higher part of the valley. We are not a factory”, Jorge remarks.
Their offer is similar to other wineries —aperitif, reception, ad hoc decorations, free drinks bar and music— but they also throw in supper, a dessert trolley and an open-air smokers’ table. The wedding menu is paired with wines from the winery, but Jorge allows other wines to be served —he just charges them an extra 10% over the trade price on the bottles they drink. He even designs special labels at the bride and groom’s request. The average cost per guest at Casal de Arman is 100-125 euros, a figure which Pazo de Señorans does not reveal because budgets are “thoroughly tailor-made” based on the couple’s wishes.
Their imposing estate in Meis (Rías Baixas) includes a restored manor house —or pazo, as this type of constructions are known in the region— with an old winery surrounded by gardens and a capacity to hold weddings with up to 300 guests. Only civil ceremonies are held in the estate’s little chapel —around 20 a years, says Andrea Pardo, from the winery’s events team. Couples are mostly from Spain, but they have had some from France, Switzerland and other European countries who like to celebrate their receptions with the Albariños and eau de vie made by Pazo de Señorans whose labels are personalized. For other styles —red, sweet and sparkling—the winery advises the bride and groom based on the chosen menu. “Wine is an important factor for most couples; they usually choose them depending on the region they come from”, explains Andrea. Visiting the winery on wedding days is not easy, but they have done the occasional tour, she says.
Other wineries in the region with wedding venues: Martín Codax, Agro de Bazán, Condes de Albarei.
Located in the Pla de Bages appellation, in the Barcelona province, Oller del Mas has an appealing asset that many couples look for when they choose a place to get married. Its charming 10th century castle with views of the Montserrat mountain range was the perfect backdrop for the wedding photographs of 30 couples who tied the knot at the estate, surrounded by 400 hectares of vineyards, forest and crops. The property also boasts a chapel for civil ceremonies as well as aging cellars with old vats dating from pre-phylloxera times.
Weddings and other events help Oller del Mas to get more out of the estate, which is currently focused on the recovery of organically-grown local varieties. It is expanding the wine tourism business with a six-bedroom country hotel and seven bungalows built into the forest.
Other wineries in the region with wedding venues: Heretat Mas Tinell, Abadal, Jaume Giró i Giró, Celler Martí Faixó.