Wineries and wellness classes — not often known to go hand-in-hand.
But when you have a venue as beautiful as Chateau Bu-De, it absolutely makes sense.
The Chesapeake City winery at Bohemia Manor Farm hosts monthly sessions of Barre Bootcamp and Mini Retreats.
The latter, led by Jennifer Doyle Boileau, encompass a sound bath and meditation, as well as a workshop in which participants create a take-home element as a memento of their experience.
For the unfamiliar, Jenn explains her workshops: “I use quartz singing bowls, called crystal alchemy singing bowls, and the thing that makes the quartz bowls special is the frequency of the sound of the bowls resonates with your body … It mimics deep relaxation, deep meditation and it also is a space where the muscles relax and loosen up so there is pain relief, and you lose your connection with time so it helps you to slow down and settle down.”
She also adds a symphonic gong and bamboo Koshi chimes to the sound bath.
All together, “It’s a really calming mixture of this atmospheric-type music and it just envelops you, so while you are lying down and resting in the space, and I’m guiding you gently with my voice through the meditation, the sound is just surrounding you and washing over you.”
Jenn says the workshops are uniquely personal: “Your body experiences it in a really interesting way. Every person is going to have a different reaction. Every person is going to have a different experience with it, but I think that’s what makes it so special.”
The workshops are appropriate for most anyone to try: “This type of class is accessible to everyone, no matter your physical limitations. You don’t have to have any experience to come take a class.”
While the overall purpose is for individual peace and wellness, taking part also serves as a wonderful opportunity for social interaction.
The classes are held inside Chateau Bu-De’s beautiful ballroom. Jenn begins each session with a discussion to get to know the participants and their level of familiarity with (or complete ignorance of) a sound bath.
She incorporates the take-home element (such as candles with inspirational messages or flower leis) as a hands-on way for those in attendance to use what they have learned. “I like for people to be able to create something, and then be able to take it with them and it is a connection back to the experience.”
It also allows them time to make a connection with one another. “The group that comes together always seems to be people that needed to meet each other.”
Each workshop is finished out with glasses of wine for all of the new friends to sip and relax after the experience.
“There’s such a gorgeous view … and they get to just enjoy each other’s company and linger a bit.”
The sound baths are usually scheduled once a month. Check the winery website, chateaubude.com, for the next event.
For those who are looking to get their bodies moving, rather than slowing things down, Chateau Bu-De also hosts a monthly Barre Bootcamp, generally from April to November.
Led by Wendy Coleman Orovitz, the bootcamps include a mix of barre (ballet-style moves sometimes done with a chair instead of a barre handrail) and small movements with light weights, but the workouts are no cake walk.
“You are obviously working up a sweat … I found that when I came to it, even though I was used to working out and in good shape, I noticed it was very hard compared to other workouts I had done."
Yet anyone can give it a try: "The reason we say it’s good for beginners is because there is no jumping, so it’s a low-impact workout. So that’s great for people who have knee injuries and things like that, or that don’t like cardio.”
Wendy said the idea to hold the classes came to her on a date night with her husband at the winery.
She thought, “This would be a pretty nice place to be able to work out and do a low-impact without much equipment, and overlook the water.”
So she mentioned it to a staff member, who took the idea and forwarded it on, and it just kind of went from there, Wendy says.
Once she got the ball rolling, she intended to hold the classes down by the water, but the workouts are instead held outdoors under the winery’s tent (and occasionally move indoors to the ballroom in the event of bad weather).
“With the wedding tent, it worked out really well. It’s nice because you still get to see the water and you have a nice, clean, hard, flat surface to work on because they have a floor in there.”
Wendy provides the weights, but asks that participants bring a yoga mat and a bottle of water.
As with the sound bath classes, the barre bootcamps also end with a glass of wine.
“I usually teach the class for about an hour and then, when it’s done, they walk up to the vineyard and they get to pick from a wine menu, and they get to keep their wine glass if they want. And now they serve food, so it’s nice. A lot of people come with their girlfriends to take the class and then they’ll get a glass of wine and sit there until 2 o’clock or so.”
The classes begin at 11 a.m. one Sunday per month. Registration in advance is preferred, but walk-ins are also welcome.
Visit chateaubude.com to learn more.