Top 10: the great wine tours


Bhe happy coincidence, wine country is often an ideal place for holidays: it combines a mild and warm climate, rolling countryside and very often a fabulous gastronomic tradition. In short, we can eat well, drink well then lie down and enjoy the sun. But it is not only a question of sybaritic self-indulgence. On a well-organized wine tour, you’ll be on a steep and fascinating learning curve. Nothing improves the understanding and appreciation of wine more than visiting the place where it is produced and the people who make it. So it’s more than a bottle with a label. It is a landscape, a vineyard, a sensory experience forever associated with the personality of the man or woman who made it. Here are 10 of the best tours that will give you such insight.

The prices below are per person based on two people sharing a room and include breakfast, all tastings and wine tours.

1. Alsace

Alsace Rieslings are among the greatest white wines in the world – but also among the least popular. As a result, the winegrowers are particularly welcoming and the wines represent exceptional value. This private four-day tour, based in Strasbourg, visits six wineries and offers tastings of 26 wines.

Exclusivity Strasbourg Alsace from Grape Escapes (08456 430 860; raisinescapes.net). From £ 1,174 including private guide and transport and private walking tour of Strasbourg, dinner and lunch. Excluding travel to Strasbourg.




Alsatian winegrowers are particularly welcoming and the wines represent exceptional value



Credit: Fotolia

2. Bordelais

No one has done more than Oz Clarke to get Britons excited about wine, and there is no more charismatic guide to take you through some of the world’s most famous wineries. This fabulous five-day tour by wine experts Arblaster and Clarke includes tastings at all of the Left Bank Premier Crus, Lafite, Latour, Margaux, Mouton and Haut-Brion, as well as many other great chateaux on both sides of River.

Visit of Bordeaux with Oz Clarke from Telegraph Tours (0333 005 9069; telegraph.co.uk/ozwine). From £ 4,495 including all tastings, several meals and flights to Bordeaux. Departure on June 20.




Lafite Rothschild castle



Credit: Jeronimo Alba

3. The Loire

The 15th and 16th century Loire castles are among France’s architectural gems, and the vineyards nestled on gently sloping hills between them are home to some of its most elegant wines. This seven-day tour led by historian Dr Michael Jones and wine guide Lys Hall combines visits to several historic chateaux, including Chenonceau, and some of the best producers of white chenin blanc from Vouvray, the fragrant reds of Chinon and Bourgeuil , as well as crunchy and dry muscadets.

Loire Valley Châteaux – Wine and History Tour with Voyages Historiques (01722 713820; historictrips.com). From £ 2,345 including coach journey from London and some meals. Departure on September 4th.




Gardens of the Château de Chenonceau



Credit: Brian Jannsen

4. Champagne

Few wine tours are more fun or more convivial than those that involve a tasting of champagne. This four-day small-group tour, based in Reims, is especially special. It begins in the cellars of Ruinart and includes tastings of the best cuvées from Billecart-Salmon, Veuve Cliquot and Moët et Chandon / Dom Pérignon as well as visits to vineyards outside the city.

Premium champagne tour with Grape Escapes (08456 430860; raisinescapes.net). From £ 968 including most meals, but excluding travel between UK and Reims. Departure dates in May, June, September and October.




This special tour is based in Reims



Credit: John Kellerman / Alamy

5. Pompeii and Amalfi

This gripping itinerary combines in-depth visits to some of the world’s most spectacular archaeological sites, including Pompeii, Herculaneum and Paestum, with an exploration of the fascinating viticulture of Campania, where wines have been made for 4,000 years and many rare and rare grape varieties. historical still survive.

Pompeii and Amalfi – Wine and Archeology with Andante Travels (01722 713800; andantetravels.co.uk). From £ 2,475 including meals, but excluding flights. Departing September 24.




Explore the fascinating viticulture of Campania, where wines have been made for 4,000 years



Credit: Matthias Riedinger / Alamy

6. Wine cruise in Italy

This seven-night cruise has to be considered one of the most relaxing ways to explore the wines and vineyards of Italy. SeaDream’s upscale 60-berth ‘yacht’ sails along the coast from Rome to Cannes, stops in Elba, Livorno, Portovenere and Portofino, and includes wine tours and onboard tastings led by local staff. wine experts. There is also a winegrower’s dinner.

Wine Voyage from SeaDream Yacht Club (seadream.com) from around £ 3000 with full board but excluding flights. Departure October 1st.

7. Andalusia

Starting in the vineyards of La Mancha and including tastings at two of the best sherry bodegas, this well-planned eight-day tour combines wine with Andalucia’s rich food culture – Iberian ham, lemons, olives, tapas and excellent fish – and its most important monuments including the Mosque of Cordoba and the Cathedral of Seville.

Gastronomic Andalusia – Gastronomy, wine, art and architecture with Martin Randall (020 8742 3355; martinrandall.com). From £ 3,020 including flights and some meals. Departure March 3, 2017.




Cordoba Mosque



Credit: Sean Pavone

8. Northern Spain

This imaginatively planned journey through northern Spain begins in the Basque Country with a visit to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. It then combines sightseeing, sightseeing, walking (four- to seven-mile day walks) and wine tasting in the vineyards of La Rioja, Montsant, and Priorat before ending in cava country and Barcelona. While not intended for serious wine lovers, it’s a great way to get a feel for the background and terroir of some of Spain’s finest wines.

Food, wine and walking in Spain with Explore (01252 883694; explore.co.uk). From £ 1095 for 10 nights, including dinner and lunch; excluding flights. Departures in August, September and October.




The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao



Credit: Robert Harding / Alamy

9. Napa Valley

Relatively few of the great Napa Valley Cabernets and Pinots Noirs make it to Britain. So this five-day private tour is a great excuse to travel to California and sample them there. You get private escorted tours and guided tastings at four of the Sonoma Valley’s best wineries, including Dry Creek and Russian River, and four in Napa Valley itself.

Napa Valley with Smooth Red (020 8877 4940; smoothred.co.uk). From £ 2,636 based in two five star hotels, and including two Michelin star meals with assorted wines, but excluding flights.




The vineyards of Napa Valley



Credit: Dennis Frates / Alamy

10. Cape Town

A top pick for next winter, this eight-day tour of Cape Town’s rich, diverse and innovative wine culture includes visits to Walker Bay, Stellenbosch, Swartland and Constantia at harvest time. Highlights of the tastings include special access to Buitenverwachting with owner Lars Maack and lunch with winemaker Anthony Hamilton Russell. A safari is also included in the itinerary.

South African Wine Tour from Arblaster & Clarke (01730 263111; winetours.co.uk) including nine meals with wine and round-trip flights to Cape Town.




The Buitenverwachting wine estate



Credit: Anthony Souter


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