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FOOD & WINE TOURS

Culinary excellence is a hallmark of a journey with Insight Vacations and we take great pride in offering Special Interest Tours focused exclusively on food and wine. Join us as we learn from local winemakers, dine in traditional farmhouses, talk to passionate chefs and explore local food markets across Europe. We’ll customise your itinerary to focus on wine varietals and culinary experiences of your choice. Discover the finest wine regions of France on a dedicated wine tour during which you’ll learn about the secrets of Champagne-making, taste award-winning Chardonnay in Burgundy and travel through parts of the Rhone Valley where vineyards have been cultivated for thousands of years.

Whether it’s visiting a gourmet food emporium on a fashionable street in Paris, learning to make traditional paella in Spain or exploring the Italian Riviera where some of the country’s most sought-after wines are produced, our food and wine tours offer extraordinary experiences that will be remembered long after you return home. Along the way you’ll be accompanied by an expert Travel Director who will take care of all the details required for a hassle-free journey. You’ll travel in a luxury coach dedicated solely to your group, overnight in hand-picked hotels and enjoy immersive Insight Experiences.

Food & Wine Lover's Tour of France & Italy

Grand Wine Tour of France

Stately Wine Route of France - Paris, Champagne, Riems, Epernay, Burgundy

Tastes & Delights of California's Wine Country

Wine Connoisseur's Tour of Spain & France

Food & Wine Lover's Tour of France & Italy

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Day 1: Welcome to Paris!

On arrival at the airport, you are met and transferred to your hotel. After check-in, there’s time to relax or perhaps explore the local area. Later we enjoy a welcome dinner and drinks at a cosy bistro with our Travel Director and fellow guests. (HD)

Day 2: Highlights of Paris & Cookery Lesson

On our guided sightseeing tour this morning, we will see the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysees, the Place de la Concorde and the magnificent Eiffel Tower. We then visit various Gourmet Food Emporiums that can be found on some of the most fashionable streets of Paris. This evening, we visit a Culinary School for a cookery lesson and dinner. (BB, HD)

Day 3: Food Markets of Paris

We start with an early morning visit to an open-air market, where there is time for you to wander around and mix with locals who shop daily for the freshest foods. We then enjoy breakfast at a local café.  The remainder of the day is free for you to explore this beautiful city at your leisure. Perhaps visit the Louvre Museum or simply stroll along the boulevards and browse in the chic boutiques. (HB)

Day 4: Champagne to Beaune

All aboard for a day of fine wine and charming scenery! First we travel through Brie country to Epernay in the heart of Champagne, where we stop to visit the wine cellars and taste some of the celebratory drink. Then via Dijon, we continue through the Burgundy vineyards to the quaint, medieval town of Beaune with its gabled houses, 13th century walls and myriad wine cellars. This evening we enjoy dinner at a local winery. (BB, HD)

Day 5: Sightseeing Medieval Beaune

This morning we enjoy an orientation excursion to this town, including a visit to Hotel Dieu - the master element of the town’s heritage with its multi-coloured roofs. It is one of the jewels of Burgundy. Each year, more than 400,000 visitors pass by the Hôtel-Dieu, which today covers a large area of the town. Marvel at its museum, three courtyards, outbuildings, 15th century bastion and hundreds of metres of cellars which contain, notably, the personal reserve of the Hospices. This afternoon is at your leisure and tonight we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (BB, HD)

Day 6: Nougat Capital Montelimar & Old Roman City of Nimes

This morning after breakfast, our journey takes us past the vineyards of Macon and Beaujolais and the valley of the River Rhone to Montelimar, famous for its delicious nougat. Here we stop to visit a nougat-and-chocolate factory for a tasting. We then continue on to the old Roman city of Nimes. Tonight dinner is included at our hotel. (BB, D)

Day 7: Roman Sites & Food Markets in Nimes

Our orientation of Nimes this morning shows us the Roman Arena and the 2000-year-old Maison Carree. Then we visit a local market to see and sample fresh produce. Dinner tonight is served at a restaurant, which specialises in local cuisine. (BB, HD)

Day 8: French Riviera to La Spezia in Italy

We leave Nimes today and travel along the smooth motorway towards the most beautiful town in France after Paris: Aix-En-Provence. We continue on via the stunning French Riveria and cross the border into Italy along the spectacular ‘Flower Riviera’. This stretch of coast consists of little-sheltered coves, sharp promontories, cliffs, tiny fishing villages and wide sandy bays.  We arrive at our hotel in Golfo dei Poeti, which is situated in the most inner part of the Golfo dei Poeti, in time for dinner. (BB, D)

Day 9: Italian Cookery Class in La Spezia

Today we enjoy a highlight visit to a local restaurant for a cookery lesson. We begin with a welcome cappuccino and a relaxing walk in the vegetable garden to learn about herbs, before enjoying a standing lunch with a glass of wine. Then, later this evening, we enjoy a gourmet dinner to taste everything that has been prepared during the morning. Wine and liqueurs are included. (BB, L, HD)

Day 10: Highlights of the Italian Riviera

A full day excursion to the beautiful western coastal region known as the Italian Riviera, where we explore the ‘Cinqueterra’, or ‘five villages’, which were for years only accessible by donkey. The villages still retain their charm and their reputation for producing one of Italy’s most sought-after and exclusive wines. Tonight we enjoy a seafood dinner at a local restaurant. (BB, HD)

Day 11: Wonders of the Italian Lakes

We drive northwards from La Spezia this morning through the dramatic scenery of the Apennine Mountains and on to the fertile plains of the Po Valley. We stop for some wine tasting and then we head towards the spectacular Italian Lakes District. This afternoon you have time to relax, before our special farewell dinner at the hotel. (BB,D)

Day 12: Farewell Milan

Our memorable tour comes to an end this morning after breakfast. We transfer to Milan Airport for our onward flights home. (BB)

Grand Wine Tour of France

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Day 1: Welcome to Paris & Reims

On your arrival at the Paris Airport, you will be met by your Travel Director and start your journey via luxury motor coach to the religious capital of France, Reims. We start with an orientation visit to Reims, which was reconstructed after its destruction in World War I. Take note of its 13th century Gothic cathedral, one of the finest in France with spectacular facade and glorious rose windows. The rest of the day is at your leisure and tonight we enjoy a welcome drink before dinner at the hotel. (D)

Day 2: Champagne Region including Moet Et Chandon

After breakfast, we visit the historical and magical House of Pommery. Located in the heart of Reims, the Pommery Domain is at the foot of the grapevines. Being the only domain of its kind in the Champagne region, Pommery has been welcoming visitors from around the world for over 150 years. With over 60,000 visitors a year descending the magnificent 116-step stairway and travelling through the cellar’s 18kms of labyrinths to discover the secrets of the Art of Champagne-making, this will be an experience not to be forgotten.

Later we visit the House of Piper Heidsieck. This fun and hi-tech place is a medium-sized champagne house, owned by Rémy Martin. It produces about 5 million bottles a year. Their premium brand is Florens Louis, and they produce a fully dry premium champagne called Brut Sauvage. Finally today we take a beautiful drive through the vineyards and arrive in Epernay where we will visit the Moet et Chandon cellars – the largest champagne house in France, founded in 1743 by Claude Moët. Moët et Chandon is part of the huge Moët-Hennessy group, which also has holdings in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Germany, and Spain. They produce over 18 million bottles of wine a year and own over 2,000 acres throughout the Champagne region. Fruit from these vineyards also helps supply the smaller champagne houses of Mercier and Ruinart, which are also owned by Moët-Hennessy. Moët et Chandon produces large volumes of non-vintage wine under the White Star and Brut Imperial designations. It is however best known for its premium brand Dom Perignon, named after the famous monk credited for enhancing the methode champenoise process. (BB)

Day 3: Port City of Strasbourg & Colmar

After breakfast, we drive to the House of Nicholas Feuillatte for something completely different and modern. We then continue to the Rhine port and Alsatian capital of Strasbourg. Home of the European Parliament, your Travel Director will reveal the imposing buildings erected by the Germans during their ownership of the city, as well as the Palais de l'Europe set amid leafy gardens. In the old heart of the city, we see the incredible Gothic cathedral surmounted by its soaring spire before continuing to the Alsace countryside. Contrary to other French wine regions, the wines of Alsace are not named after the villages or vineyards from which they come, but after the grape variety. This afternoon, enjoy a visit to the Klipfel Domain, one of the largest cellars in Alsace, filled with oak tuns containing more than 20,000 litres of wine. Created in 1824 by Eugène Klipfel, it is today a family business that has sole ownership of 40ha of vineyards. Finally we continue to our hotel in Colmar where we will enjoy dinner together. (BB, D)

Day 4: Alsatian Vineyards Excursion

Today we travel out into the countryside to explore delightful villages. We take the 'wine-road', seeing the fine vineyards, beautiful half-timbered houses decked with geraniums and perhaps a stork for which the province is famous. We stop in the tiny town of Riquewihr, home of fine Riesling wine and Kugelhupf cake! We then travel via the picturesque town of Munster and continue back to Colmar where a train ride shows us the Old Town and Little Venice, which make it possibly the prettiest city in France. We then have time to wander down the Rue des Marchands (Merchants Street) and Rue Merciére (Haberdasher Street) where there are many picturesque half-timbered, flower-decked old houses. This evening perhaps join an optional excursion to dine at a farmhouse inn, high in the Vosges Mountains. (BB)

Day 5: Burgandy Capital of Dijon to Beaune

Continuing on beneath the foothills of the forested Vosges Mountains, we travel past the fortified city of Belfort which once guarded the access to the riches of Alsace. Here we enter another famous wine growing district of France, Burgundy! Through venerable vineyards, we reach the ancient Burgundian capital, Dijon. Strolling along the cobbled streets, we see the Palais des Ducs and colonnaded Place de la Libération. We then continue through the scenic village of Gevrey-Chambertin. One of the larger villages in this acclaimed area, it contains approximately 1,460 vineyard acres, all focused on producing red wines from pinot noir grapes. Here we will visit the Domaine of Seguin Gerard, before travelling onto the town of Nuits-Saint-Georges. Reading like a wine list, this is the second most important commercial centre in France's cote d’or section of Burgundy. Finally we arrive at the charming walled town of Beaune. (BB, D)

Day 6: Burgundy Excursion, Including House of Michael Laroche

This morning we drive through the leafy Burgundy countryside to the picturesque town of Vézelay, built along a rocky spur among the northern Morvan foothills. Tradition has it that Mary Magdalene was buried here and from the basilica, Richard the Lionheart set off for the Crusades. We then continue to the pleasant wine village of Chablis which produces some of the world's best-known white wines, with chardonnay as the approved grape for Chablis' appellations. Our first visit is to the Domaine of William Fevre who won the admiration of all the region's growers for his fight around the world to stop the use of the word "Chablis" as a generic term for ordinary white wine. Later we visit the House of Micheal Laroche, located in the heart of historic Obédiencerie. This listed ninth century monastery – with its history inextricably linked to the wines from the appellation - was home to the monks of Saint-Martin who planted the first Chablis vines. (BB)

Day 7: Beaune at your Leisure

Today you are at leisure to relax and explore at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Hospice de Beaune Museum, alternatively enjoy a degustation at one of Beaune’s Tasting House Restaurants. Joseph Drouhin and Joseph Faiveley both have wines from several Burgundy Regions on offer. The choice is yours! (BB)

Day 8: Beaujolais Red Wine Region & Lyon

After breakfast, we travel south to the region of Beaujolais, located in the hills south of Burgundy and north of Lyon. Beaujolais is different from most of Burgundy because of its focus on the gamay grape for its red wines, instead of pinot noir. Here we are introduced to the cellars of Georges Duboeuf. Founded in 1964, they value tradition and quality and with annual sales of 30 million bottles, Georges Duboeuf is one of France's largest and best-known wine merchants. An included visit to Le Hameau Museum will showcase this, as well as winemaking in the Beaujolais area. Later we arrive in Lyon, the meeting point of the Rhone and Saone corridors, where we enjoy an orientation excursion and some time at leisure before dinner at the hotel. (BB, D)

Day 9: Rhone Valley Excursion, including Paul Jaboulet Aine’s Cellar

After breakfast, we travel to the village of Condrieu, south of Cote Rotie, in France's northern Rhone region. Condrieu AC produces only white wines made from the rare viognier variety. These dry, rich wines have a perceptible spiciness and aromas and flavors reminiscent of apricots, peaches, and pears. They are however very expensive because the wine is of a very good quality, with vineyards grown in almost inaccessible soil. We take the opportunity to visit the House of Guigal in Ampius. We then travel to Tournon Sur-Rhone and cross the Rhone River to the centre of Tain-l’Hermitage. Here both red and white wines of excellent repute are produced with vineyards planted on the very steep, sun-drenched hillside above the town. The vineyards are thought to have been cultivated as far back as the Roman occupation of this area. We visit possibly the most impressive cellar in France, that of “Paul Jaboulet Aine” before returning to our hotel. (BB)

Day 10: Clermont Ferrand & Medieval Cahors

After breakfast, we travel west to Clermont Ferrand with its unique old town built on a volcano. The black lava assists in making it an unusual townscape. Here we will enjoy an orientation exploration of the old town, seeing the cathedral, before continuing via Brive La Gaillarde to the medieval town of Cahors. With rich, fertile alluvial soil in the river valleys, the wine of the area (with principal grape variety of Auxerrois) is one of the world’s best wines thanks to the unremitting effort and enthusiasm of its growers. Tonight we enjoy a highlight dinner at the hotel where we will have the opportunity to sample some of the local wines. (BB, HD)

Day 11: St. Emillion and Bordeaux

Today we depart Cahors and travel to the village of St Emillion, the last refuge of the Girondins and where Emilion (the 8th century monk) was to make his hermitage in one of the grottoes. This wine-producing region is nearly as famous as the "Medoc", but is not distinguished by the same classification ranges. After lunch we may get the opportunity to taste the wines of the Chateau Cheval Blanc, before continuing to the bustling seaport of Bordeaux. With its unique 18th Century character, our orientation visit to the city will show you the quays, the Cathedral, boulevards and pedestrian shopping streets. Tonight is at your leisure. (BB)

Day 12: Medoc Valley Wine Excursion

Our excursion today takes us through the narrow and enclosed valleys that give the Medoc wines their characteristics, where growers exploit stony soil to cut the vines short and avoid damage from spring frosts. Medoc is a country of chateaux, but the name here is linked to the production of wine rather than architectural style. We visit the magnificent Chateau Mouton-Rothschild with its wine museum situated in ancient cellars, after which we take pleasure in another tasting at Chateau Palmer in Margaux. Tonight a highlight dinner and tasting of the local drop is also scheduled. (BB, HD)

Day 13: Onto The Loire Valley with a Stop at Remy Martin

Over the Gironde and Dordogne rivers, we depart Bordeaux and cross the coastal plain arriving in Cognac where we will visit the brandy distillery of Remy Martin. We then continue past Poitiers, a centre of Christianity since the Fourth Century, and onto the Loire Valley. On arrival into trips, our orientation trip shows us the Basilica of St Martin and the old town. (BB)

Day 14: Chateau of Fontainebleau & Paris

Another splendid day brings us first to Chartres to marvel at stained-glass windows, which flood the cathedral with colour and light. Now we continue through the rich farmlands of the Ile de France to visit the beautiful Renaissance Chateau of Fontainebleau, where the 'Mona Lisa' was first displayed when Leonardo presented it as a gift to King Francis I, and where Catherine of Medici lived in an anguish of unrequited love from her husband Henri. From here, it’s a short drive through the picturesque villages and forest of Fontainebleau, bringing us back to Paris. Tonight don't miss the chance to visit one of the world-famous cabaret shows for an evening of excitement and glamour! (BB)

Day 15: Highlights of Paris

Sightseeing with a local guide this morning shows us the highlights of the city, including the Arc de Triomphe, Opera House, Invalides and the immense facades of the Louvre Palace. We also visit the 13th century Gothic cathedral, with its memories of the tale of Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame and we see the famous Eiffel Tower. This afternoon is at your leisure to shop in the great department stores, visit the great museums or alternatively perhaps ascend the Eiffel Tower, before getting ready for this evenings highlight farewell dinner together at a local Parisian bistro. (BB, HD)

Day 16: Farewell Paris

This morning you are at leisure, until your transfer to the airport for your onward journey. (BB)

Stately Wine Route of France - Paris, Champagne, Riems, Epernay, Burgundy

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Day 1: Welcome to Paris & Cruise Dinner!

On arrival in Paris, you will be met by your Travel Director and transferred to your hotel. Take some time to relax after your flight and then join your Travel Director and fellow passengers in the evening for a highlight dinner cruise on the Seine. (HD)

Day 2: Journey to Champagne

We depart on our journey to the Champagne region after a leisurely start to the morning. Enjoy the views of the picturesque countryside, before we reach the outskirts of Epernay for a 3-night stay in the heart of the Champagne region. (BB, D)

Day 3: Champagne Houses & Royal Reims

This morning we travel to Reims, home to a number of exceptional UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Reims played a prominent ceremonial role in French Monarchial history, as the traditional site of the crowning of the Kings of France. Visit Notre Dame Cathedral, dating back to the 13th Century and the site of 25 Coronations.  See the Palace of Tau, which was the residence of the Bishops and Archbishops of Reims, as well as the Saint Remi Basilica. After time to explore, we head to the top champagne houses in Reims. First we journey to Veuve Cliquot for a private tour, including tastings of 2 vintage cuvees (Brut Carte Jaune and La Grande Dame). Then it is onto Champagne GH MUMM for a VIP visit and tasting, including a visit to the Jereboam cellar (usually closed to the public).  (BB, D)

Day 4: Cellars & Estates around Champagne

Today we continue our exploration of the region with a visit to Epernay and the Cote des Blancs, a region covered by Chardonnay Grapes. We visit Cave Mercier for a private viewing of the cellar and tastings of 3 different champagnes (Brut Mercier, Rosé Mercier and Réserve Mercier). The visit starts with an informative film about Eugène Mercier. Then we take a panoramic lift to 30m underground and board a laser-guided train for a ride that will take us through some of the 18km-long tunnels to see bas reliefs in the chalk, created by the artist Gustave Navlet. We then return to ground level for a tasting.  Next we go onto another winery for lunch, which also includes a tasting.  (BB, HL)

Day 5: Highlights of Burgundy - Chablis & Beaune

Today we travel first to Chablis for tastings of this steely white wine. We visit La Cave Du Connaisseur to see the Chablis vineyard and enjoy a guided tasting of three wines: Petit – Chablis, Chablis and Chablis 1er Cru. Then it’s onto Caveau WILLIAM FEVRE to visit its winemaking area and to taste a number of different wines, including Petit Chablis, Chablis, 3 Chablis Premiers crus and 3 Chablis Grands crus.  Our final destination is Beaune, where we will be based for the next 3 nights.

Day 6: Signature Tastes of Burgundy

This morning join a local guide for a sightseeing excursion to the quaint town of Beaune. We then head to a collection of wineries in the region to taste Burgundy’s signature wines.  Starting with a private visit to Chateau de Pommard, we explore the property and vineyard, and enjoy a tasting. Then we move onto Chateau de Meursault for a guided visit and tastings of 8 wines, hosted in a private wine cellar with our very own sommelier. Lunch is served at a winery, before we head back to Beaune. (BB, HL)

Day 7: Burgundy at Leisure

Spend today at your leisure and experience the many charms of Burgundy. Your Travel Director will also suggest optional excursions that you may want to sign up for. (BB)

Day 8: Royal Residence of the Chateau De Fontainebleau & Paris

Today we travel back to Paris, but first we stop at The Château de Fontainebleau, which can proudly claim to have been a sovereign residence for eight centuries! Capétiens, Valois, Bourbons, Bonaparte and Orléans, all members of French ruling dynasties, have lived within its walls. Kings and queens, emperors and empresses have all striven to make their own improvements to the château, which is built around the original keep. We continue onto the French capital for a 2-night stay. (BB)

Day 9: Highlights of Paris

Start the day with a highlight excursion to the City of Love’s best attractions, followed by an afternoon at your leisure. Our highlight farewell dinner will be celebrated at a local restaurant this evening. (BB, HD)

Day 10: Farewell Paris

It’s time to bid farewell to your travel companions, as our tour comes to an end with a transfer to the airport. (BB)

Tastes & Delights of California's Wine Country

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Day 1: Welcome to San Francisco

Arrive to the City by the Bay! Join your Travel Director in the hotel lobby at 5:00pm for a quick talk and then it’s off to the California Academy of Sciences for a welcome reception at the hottest new attraction in California. You’ll be treated to cocktails and Hors D’oeuvres in a private VIP lounge before time to explore the aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum… all under one roof. (WR)

Day 2: Highlights of San Francisco, Including Haight-ashbury

We’ll pass a few iconic city sights this morning, as we make our way to eclectic Haight-Ashbury where we embark on The Haight Ashbury Flower Power Walking excursion. From rock ’n roll to art, fashion and architecture, this fantastic walking adventure gives you a real insight into the cosmic draw of the Haight! Take some free time for lunch, before we embark on an afternoon catamaran sail beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. This evening there is some time to wander through the Ferry Building before a highlight dinner at the Slanted Door, a modern Vietnamese restaurant that showcases an abundance of produce as well as ecologically-farmed meat, game and poultry found at farms around the San Francisco Bay Area. (BB, HD)

Day 3: California Wine Country

Enjoy an entire day to explore San Francisco at your leisure! Perhaps take in the upscale shops on Union Street, ride the ferry for an afternoon in Sausalito, or head to Treasure Island. The choice is yours. (BB)

Day 4: San Francisco to Wine Country

We leave our hearts in San Francisco this morning, as we make our way across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge towards California’s Wine Country. Our first stop is in Petaluma to visit the McEvoy Olive Ranch.  Originally 550 acres of dairy farm, the ranch now boasts one of the finest groves of imported Italian olive trees in the United States – all certified organic. Visit both the groves and milling room, before tasting some of the oils and olives. Traveling north to the shores of Clear Lake, we explore Ceago Vinegarden, a unique winery that uses Biodynamic Farming techniques to utilize the vineyard’s natural resources in cultivating the highest quality grapes without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetically-modified organisms. These practices go beyond organic standards. Our final destination is our lodge near downtown Sonoma. This evening join your Travel Director for a reception, followed by dinner in the Carneros Bistro and Wine Bar, named one of the Top 50 restaurants in the bay area and winner of the “Award of Excellence” by Wine Spectator magazine every year since 2002. (BB, D)

Day 5: Wine Blending in the Valley of The Moon & Cookery Class

Enjoy a leisurely start, as we head just north of Sonoma to explore the quaint and scenic towns of Glen Ellen and Kenwood, along the Valley of the Moon Highway. Loxton Cellars is our first stop where we explore the Syrah varietal in great depth. A picnic lunch is provided, before a guided walking visit to scenic Quarryhill Botanical Gardens, 21 acres of diverse Asian flora. If you’ve ever wanted to become your own winemaker, today is your chance. Chateau St. Jean is our host for a private blending seminar. You’ll spend 2 hours sipping and swirling 5 of their flagship Bordeaux wines and mixing these to create the perfect blend – perfect to you at least! See how your blend compares to those of fellow travellers. Tonight we have a hands-on experience at the Ramekins Cooking School for a private wine-pairing cooking class. Professional cooking instructors and wine educators will show you how to create innovative food dishes, paired with unique wines from the local region. A 3-course dinner concludes our evening. (BB, L, HD)

Day 6: Hot Air Balloon Ride over Napa Valley & Calistoga

This morning you have the option of a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards of the Napa Valley. We make the scenic drive through Yountville, St. Helena, and Rutherford on our way to Calistoga. Only 80 acres of the Charbono grape exist in California, and 40 of them are right here in Calistoga. We’ll visit Summer’s Estate to learn more about this rare wine grape and wine. A bit of history comes our way, as we explore Chateau Montelena, a winery dating back to 1886 and winner of the Paris Tasting of 1976. We toast to a wonderful afternoon in Calistoga with a tasting of four sparkling wines at Schramsberg, where we also journey to their historical caves. This evening is at your leisure.  Perhaps you’d like to take advantage of the complimentary admission to the Radiance Spa at our lodge? (BB)

Day 7: Vineyard-lined Silverado Trail

Today we make our way to wineries on one of the most scenic roads in the country, the Silverado Trail. First stop is St. Supery Vineyards & Winery where we will focus on Malbec and Petite Verdot wines. Don’t miss their sensory evaluation to see how your nose matches up with your palate. Enjoy a taste of Italy at Luna Vineyards, as Sangiovese wine is featured front and center, followed by a picnic lunch. And due to popular belief in the world of film, the Merlot is still alive and well, and nobody does it better than Duckhorn Vineyards. We are treated to an intimate tasting in their estate house. This evening, celebrate a wonderful trip with a private farewell dinner at one of wine country’s most popular restaurants, The Girl & The Fig, located in the heart of Sonoma Square. (BB, D)

Day 8: Winelands Farewell Brunch

All good things must come to an end. But why not leave wine country with a bang! Emmy award-winning Food TV chef and Napa Valley native, Michael Chiarello, will host a farewell brunch at scenic Nicholson Ranch winery, one of Sonoma’s most beloved family-owned wineries. Mr. Chiarello will bring some of his personal wines from his own wine label, as well as his flavour-infused olive oils to share with the group. Then enjoy a light brunch, hosted by Michael Chiarello and Ramona Nicholson (owner of Nicholson Ranch), in the winery’s Vintner’s Room. It’s now time to transfer to San Francisco International Airport for your onward journey. (BB)

Wine Connoisseur's Tour of Spain & France

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Day 1: Welcome to Barcelona

On arrival at Barcelona airport, you will be met by your Travel Director and transferred to your hotel. This evening, join your fellow guests and Travel Director for a Welcome Drink.

Day 2: Priorat Red Wine Region & Barcelona

This morning, we visit the vineyards and wineries of the nearby Priorat region, one of Spain’s trendiest wine regions. Since the 1990’s, this region has produced some of the most sophisticated and sought-after reds coming out of Spain. We’ll be visiting Cellar Laurona in the Monsant region, as well as Clos Figueras Priorat. Later this afternoon, we enjoy a sightseeing excursion in Barcelona, alongside a local guide. Wander through the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter, visit the ancient Cathedral and see the famous Las Ramblas with its open-air markets and cafes.  In contrast to the old part of town, drive along the broad, elegant avenues of the Eixample District to admire some of Gaudi’s extraordinary architecture, including his unfinished creation, the Sagrada Familia Cathedral. (BB)

Day 3: Logrono & Winery Dinner

Today we travel via Zaragoza to Logrono, a city rich in history and traditions, which has been preserved since the middle ages.  On arrival, you have free time to relax before dinner is served at the Bodega Juan Alcorta winery. (BB)

Day 4: Wine Regions Around Logrono

After breakfast, we visit a range of regional vineyards. We’ll learn about the fascinating history of Rioja wine, which reflects the long and varied winemaking traditions of the La Rioja region dating back to the  first Phoenician settlers in the 11th century BC. Enjoy a local lunch in Haro. (BB)

Day 5: Ribera De Duero & Riverside Valladolid

Today we travel to one of Spain's most legendary winemaking regions, the pristinely-rural Ribera de Duero, which is home to some of the world's best and most exclusive red wines. Here we will visit Bodegas Alion and enjoy lunch and a tasting at Bodegas Vegas Sicilia. We then continue to the city of Valladolid on the River Pisuerga. Take time to explore the city’s interesting collection of Renaissance buildings in its old quarter, comprising of residential homes, palaces, churches and its highly-symbolic Cathedral. (BB)

Day 6: White Wine Mecca of Rueda & Valladolid

After breakfast, we explore two of the top wineries in the Valladolid region, before continuing to the popular wine appellation of Rueda in the afternoon. Wine has been produced commercially in the Rueda region since the 11th Century. These days, the winemakers of Rueda are highly successful in producing good value-for-money fruity white wines that are regularly compared to French Sancerres and New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. We then return to Valladolid for dinner. (BB)

Day 7: Maritime City of Pontevedra & Rias Baixas Wine Region

We travel today to the city of Pontevedra with its long maritime and trading traditions, boasting one of the largest and most elegant historic quarters in the whole of Galicia. The old town extends into a network of streets and squares and contains major civic and religious buildings. During our stay, we will visit the nearby Rias Baixas region, known for its flagship Albarino wine. The extraordinary qualities of this wine, including its crisp and young character, make it well worthy of the international prestige it has acquired. Dinner is served at Bogega Granbazan. (BB)

Day 8: Douro Valley in Portugal – Home of Port

Today we visit the Douro Valley in Portugal, home of port wine. This spectacular valley is known for its rolling hills covered with terraces of vines that fall steeply down towards the river. In addition to port wine, regular red and white wines are also produced in the valley. We visit the Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha Winery and vineyards, and taste some of the world’s finest port. The scenery in the valley is spectacular with variations of colour perfectly reflecting the seasons. We then return to Pontevedra for dinner. (BB)

Day 9: Porto, Flight to Paris & Transfer to Reims

Today we head back to Portugal to the city that gave port wine its name – Porto. Soak in the vibrancy of this modern and lively city. You’ll quickly discover that Porto’s traditional importance as an industrial centre has not diminish the charm and character of its old quarters or even of its newer,  busier avenues, shopping centres and quiet residential blocks. After exploring the city, we transfer to Porto Airport for a flight to Paris. On arrival in Paris, we board our luxury coach en route to the Charmpagne-Ardenne region in the north of France. Our hotel for the next 2 nights is located in Reims. (BB)

Day 10: Reims & Epernay – The Heart of Champagne

Rich in traditions and centuries-old know-how, Reims is a modern and lively regional capital. With the refined atmosphere of the Champagne Houses, it has a town centre which offers both the elegance of its Art Deco facades and its relaxed atmosphere prevailing in the streets and on the café terraces. Apart from its status as champagne capital of the world, Reims possesses one of the most impressive Gothic cathedrals in France. The Cathedral of Notre Dame was built on the traditional coronation site of the Kings of France and is one of the greatest monuments of Gothic art and architecture. Marvel at its grandeur on a guided visit, before we make our way to Epernay, the heart of champagne.  Sitting below vine-covered hills, Epernay is the ideal location from which to discover various local producers. Start your journey on the Avenue de Champagne to see the grand champagne houses, including Moet et Chandon and Mercier. There are also many smaller producers to visit. Today we are treated to lunch at Moet & Chandon. (BB)

Day 11: Paris at Leisure & Illuminations Tour

Today we travel back to the glittering French capital of Paris with its grand boulevards and world-famous landmarks. The remainder of the day is free for you to relax and explore at your own pace. Tonight we enjoy a sparkling illuminations tour to the ‘City of Light’ – the perfect introduction to Paris! (BB)

Day 12: Paris at Leisure

Today is at your leisure to explore this fabulous city. Perhaps meet the enigmatic Mona Lisa in the Louvre, ascend the Eiffel Tower by elevator, or travel up the hill of Montmartre by mini-train for superb panoramic views! (BB)

Day 13: Paris at Leisure

Enjoy the last stretch of your journey at your leisure. While in Paris, don’t miss the chance to go shopping in the Galleries Lafayette or the elegant designer boutiques of the Left Bank. (BB)

Day 14: Farewell Paris

Today we bid farewell to fellow travellers, as our memorable tour comes to an end. (BB)

Meal Guide: BB = Buffet Breakfast, CB = Continental Breakfast, HD = Highlight Dinner, D = Hotel Dinner, HL = Highlight Lunch, WR = Welcome Reception, CD = Celebration Dinner with Wine, WD = Welcome Dinner, FD = Farewell Dinner, PL = Packed Lunch

ALL THE SIGHTS AND THE INSIGHTS, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL, IN COMFORT AND IN STYLE