Healthy Hedonism

By Kristin Vukovic / August 31, 2012

Just as a bold Chardonnay perfectly complements a spicy dish of fire-roasted salmon, the deliciously intoxicating spa practice of vinotherapy taps sumptuous wines for a full and perfectly all-sensory experience. Spas offering vinotherapy treatments—massages, wraps, soaks and facials enhanced by antioxidant-rich wine grapes—are set amidst sprawling vineyards, or found in regions known for producing great wine. In addition to making you smell and feel fabulous, wine grapes serve up a healthy dose of polyphenols and reservatrol for anti-aging benefits. Urban meccas such as New York City are also feeling the heady attraction to vinotherapy. From Mendoza to Miami, here are some of our favorite escapes.

Crushed Cabernet Scrub

The concept of vinotherapy was initially developed by Mathilde Cathiard- Thomas and her husband, who opened the first Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa circa 1999, in the heart of France’s Bordeaux wine region. Almost a decade later, after successful openings of Caudalie spas in Italy and Spain, the couple brought their Vinothérapie Spa concept overseas to The Plaza in Manhattan. A signature treatment, the Crushed Cabernet Scrub (35 mins., $145), combines rounded, non-abrasive grape seeds, grapeseed oil, honey and brown sugar to stimulate the drainage of toxins while simultaneously softening skin. According to Treatment Director Regine Berthelot, “The Crushed Cabernet Scrub is amazing for nourishing the skin. Clients are constantly amazed at how smooth and restored their skin looks.” Caudalie’s contouring concentrate and nourishing body lotion restores and smoothes, promoting radiance and a sleeker overall physique. After your treatment, have the resident sommelier pour you a glass of the day’s featured wine. 

Vinotherapy Massage

Drawing upon the bounty of its surrounding wine region near the Finger Lakes in upstate New York, Spa Mirbeau, modeled after Monet’s French country gardens, offers seasonally inspired treatments and vinotherapy treatments that combine aromatherapy with the nourishing benefits of wine essences. The Wine Salt Glow can be combined with the d’vine Vinotherapy Massage (100 mins., $255), creating a perfectly paired experience. Wine is mixed with dead sea salts to exfoliate and detoxify, while Mourvedre massage oils and antioxidant-rich wine extracts relax and hydrate. Continue your vinotherapy experience at the Wine Bar, with Wine Stations that house 24 wines to sample. Then head to one of Mirbeau’s award-winning restaurants, The French Steakhouse or Aqua Terrace, which incorporate fresh local and organic ingredients. 

Chardonnay Peel

After basking in the abundant Florida sunshine of South Beach, take a refreshing break at the Mondrian Hotel with Agua Spa’s Revitalizing Facial (60 mins., $180), which includes a Chardonnay peel from the Luzern organic skincare line. “I like that it’s not abrasive, it’s effective,” says therapist Maria Larson. “And you see immediate results.” The Chardonnay peel, which utilizes the acidophilus grape and hyaluronic acid, sloughs off dead skin cells and deeply exfoliates to help skin regeneration, leaving fresh, glowing skin. Head downstairs to Asia de Cuba to experience Asian-Latin flavors, and treat yourself to a cold glass of—what else?— Chardonnay. 

Wine Body Glow Wrap

With more than a hundred vineyards in the area, the Mendoza region of northern Argentina—which includes the fertile Uco Valley—has become the largest wine-producing destination in Latin America, making its name with wellcrafted red and white vintages (particular Malbecs and Torrontes). Located in the center of town, the Park Hyatt Mendoza celebrates its location with an excellent onsite wine bar (stocking more than 100 labels), seasonal gourmet tastings and chef demos, and the use of local ingredients in its cozy Kaua Spa. The nourishing Mendoza Wine Body Glow Wrap (60 mins., $76) and Wine Facial (60 mins., $59), feature red grapes (skin, pulp and seeds), and put those antiaging polyphenols to good use. In-room bath and body products contain vinoingredients, too, so you can take the benefits home. 

– Sandra Ramani 

Red Wine Soak & Massage

The intimate Endota Day Spa, tucked into the Novotel Barossa in the midst of South Australia’s premier wine region, is a haven of rest and relaxation. After a wine-tasting tour of the Barossa and Clare Valley, experience the Spa Red Wine Soak and Massage and enjoy breathtaking vineyard views while soaking in an eggshaped tub filled with antioxidant-rich red wine (30 mins., $45), a hand and scalp massage, followed by a muscle-melting full-body massage (30 mins., $65). The spa features its own line of locally sourced certified organic products. 

– Rona Berg 

Kristin Vukovic

Kristin Vukovic

Kristin Vukovic’s writing has appeared in BBC Travel, The Daily Beast, Wall Street Journal India, Forbes India, Condé Nast Traveller India, Culture, Wine Enthusiast, and, among others. During Columbia’s MFA program, she was Editor-in-Chief of Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art and held an editorial internship at The New Yorker. She is working on a collection of short stories that take place on Pag, a divided island in Croatia.
Kristin Vukovic

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