wine and wellness – refuge in a Styrian vineyard
The latin word ‘refugium’ means something like refuge or hideaway; in some cases also wellness area for relaxation and recovering.
Thus I was quiet curious when following the invite to spent a few days at Weinrefugium Brolli, a refuge set in a vineyard in the Southern part of the Styrian wine country, only a stone’s throw away from the Slovenian border to Austria.
Located on the ‘Eckberg’, the highest point of the wine route, the place provides a magnificent 360-view over hills covered by vineyards, all the way to Hungry in the East and Slovenia to the Pohorje Mountains in the South.
Wine and Wellness
The little family run hotel with 30 rooms (spectacular views!) is surrounded by vineyards, that produce not only their own wines, but also provide the ideal nest for enjoying the same.
I was incredibly lucky to arrive on a slow day off season, as the entire 3-generation-family’s attention was on me. What an enchanting experience being welcomed in such a heartfelt way!
I truly did not expect this kind of blissfully comfortable accommodation when I was taken to my room – after having been offered the home made bubbly on the sun terrace – and a ‘woah’ slipped when entering the room with the full lengths window that parts the indoors from a spacious private outdoor terrace.
Not only the airy, light, transparent feel of the room made me almost feel southern Mediterranean, but also of course the (truly spectacular!) views over the vineyards, as much as cricket sounds and rose and lavender flowers beds in the gardens.
My spacious room provided me with all the luxury I expect from a 4*S hotel room, impeccable cleanliness and quality of furniture, equipment and accessories.
Relax – just do it
Styria is thermal water country with plenty of thermal spas. Wellness has a long tradition. Although the Weinrefugium Brolli is not a Wellness Hotel as such, it provides a lovely Wellness area with indoor pool including underwater massages jets, Finnish sauna, lifestyle shower, and an extended outside sun terrace with sun beds and bistro tables. And again, the spectacular views!
I got to spend a few private hours at the Wellness area, which I had all to myself, and was being spoiled with tea and fruit.
Culinary – the wine is liquid sunshine
Styria, the so called ‘green heart of Austria’, is not only well know for pumpkin seed oil, wine, horseradish, apples, and cheeses but also provides a variety of sumptuous delights revolving around vegetables and meat dishes.
A law dating back to Josef II (emperor of the holy Roman empire in the 18th century) gives farmers of vineyards and orchards the right to offer own produce drinks and foods at prices they are free to set themselves. This home-cooked style is guarantee for excellent offers, such as delightful cheese platters, cold cuts, salads and much more.
I am spoiled with 3-course lunch and dinner meals, not to forget to mention an abundant breakfast buffet in the cosy dining area adjacent the bar. The entire dining area, split in 3 different section, is surrounded by beautiful outside terraces, with – guess what? – spectacular views!
Of course, the affectionate Brolli clan would not let me get away with not having tried ALL their wines. It was not easy for me to pick my favourite amongst all the amazing grapes that are home to the Brolli vineyards, but I finally voted for the Sauvignon Blanc, my liquid sunshine …
What a combination: wine and wellness.
Apart from never wanting to leave my lovely room (have I mentioned the views yet?), never escaping the tranquil spa area, and not wanting to miss the cosy dining area enjoying all the culinary delights, there is a lot more to do in the surroundings.
A confessed chocolate addict, I could certainly not miss the opportunity to visit the Zotter chocolate manufactury which seems just another place out of space, a playground for chocolate lovers.
Zotter chocolates stand for
variety: 365 different chocolates are produced on site, from way-out to classic.
quality: the company says about themselves: “According to an international chocolate test, Zotter ranks amongst the best chocolatiers in the world. Our small manufacture, which was once provisionally set up in my parents’ stable, has grown into a centre of competence for chocolate. We create our chocolates in-house, bean-to-bar, and employ a team of 160 dedicated employees.”
creativity: Zotter hand-scooped chocolates are cult! cheese chocolate, fish chocolate, mass wine and incense chocolate and now the sweet variation of hummus. Each chocolate variety as its own wrapper with fascinating illustrations art design.
sustainability: Aside from organic and fair-trade, Zotter is now also EMAS certified. This certification specifically focuses on the environmental protection of the entire company, which has been rated as exemplary.
After having consumed an estimated five kilos of chocolate during an interesting and informative tour of the manufactury, time was ripe for some physical exercise, and Europe’s largest “Motorik Park” with 30 stations for fitness, balance, strengths and more – developed by sports scientists – is the ideal place to do so.
I was also given a little tour to the ‘heart street’, and I took a lovely stroll through the well kept vineyards.
I truly fall in love more and more with my new home country Austria, which provides such a plethora of geographical regions, culinary delights, things to do, traditions and much fun!
The only things that seems to be the same all over all nine regions in Austria are the friendly, authentic, hospitable people. Which I have again experienced here in Southern Styria with the Brolli family.