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.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, the concept – also known as ‘vinotherapy’ – was made famous in the French wine-growing region of Bordeaux. It was the chance encounter between a pharmaceutical scientist who specialised in the study of polyphenols – of which the tannins found in wine are one variety – and the daughter of an important wine grower in the region that led to the foundation of the first vinotherapy spa in the world.
Today, there are spas across Europe and the USA offering guests the chance to take a soak in a mixture of wine and a special blend prepared from the by-products of wine production. Indeed, it is the grape skins and vine branches that are most rich in tannins, a particular kind of polyphenol typically found in full-bodied reds. Research suggests that these polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that offer many health benefits for the skin.
Here 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!