Wine tours make a great way to discover new wine and to see a different side of Europe.
Europe has a wealth of different wines waiting for the avid connoisseur and there are increasingly more and more organized wine tours to help you discover those hidden gems. Choose from a variety of itineraries to tailor a tour to suit your palette and your wallet and let the planning be taken care of by a tour operator that can arrange all of the accommodation and travel for you.
A two or three day tour can be a perfect way to maximise the time for a short break, giving you a great introduction to some classic regions where you will have the opportunity to visit vineyards and wineries and take part in tours and tastings. The classic French appellations of Bordeaux are a good place to start and are within easy reach of the beautiful city that gives the region its name. Visit chateaux in world-renowned wine growing spots like Saint- Emilion and Medoc for the perfect introduction to some classic Claret.
If bubbles are more your thing then you could opt for a guided tour of the Champagne cities of Reims and Epernay where you can get your fix of fizz with visits to some prestigious champagne houses. Within easy reach of Paris and less than three hours drive from Calais, this popular destination combines history and glamour in spades.
The Loire Valley
Famous for its many stunning chateaux, the Loire Valley is one of the most varied regions in terms of the wines it produces – big on whites, but also known for rosé, red, sparkling and desert wine. Covering a fairly small area and within easy reach of the UK this makes a great destination with plenty of diversity.
The wine growing regions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero in Spain are becoming increasingly popular among connoiseurs for their complex and characterful wines, which age beautifully. The regions can either be visited on separate tours to explore in depth or combined to make a longer and more varied itinerary. La Rioja is also known in Spain for its gastronomy and abundant local produce making an ideal pairing for a foodie destination.
Whether you choose Piedmont, Prosecco or Tuscany, a wine tour in Italy will showcase some of the country’s great grape offerings, along with picturesque landscapes, fascinating history, unrivalled culture and sublime food. Piedmont is home to Barolo and Barbaresco – two of Italy’s best red wines, but also produces fresh, crisp whites and sparkling Asti. The landscape is full of rolling hills, lakes and mountains and the region is synonymous with the White Alba truffle. Prosecco is not only becoming the rival to champagne as far as its wine offerings, but is in the Veneto region and the sights of Venice are only an hour away. Tuscany has it all: fine wines, mouth-watering food, beautiful landscape and a rich artistic and cultural heritage with its capital, Florence being a perfect base to explore from.
France, Spain and Italy are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of European travel destinations, but their wine heritage is unparalleled, making them the ideal choices for a holiday centred on the grape. Wherever you choose to book your holiday, be sure to book your insurance through Avanti before you go so that you can enjoy your vacation knowing that you are fully covered for any eventuality.