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Walk the talk

Stop reading books on wines to increase your grape quotient. Go on any of these five amazing wine tours around the world. Call your travel agent. Pronto!

Dhiman Chattopadhyay | Print Edition: June 1, 2008

Napa Valley Wine Country, US

Wine tours are a great way to spend a romantic holiday
Wine tours for romantic holiday
With over 300 wineries, from enormous estates to cozy family-owned boutique set-ups, Napa Valley Wine Country in California is a fantastic place for a wine tour. You can take one of the many luxury tours from San Francisco that usually lasts 10 hours. Unearth a side of this historic and beautiful area that many visitors will miss.

What to see: The Napa Valley’s climate and soil have made it one of the world’s great wine-growing regions. It has long been famous for its ability to grow Bordeaux grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Of late, it has started growing Burgundy as well. So, whether you wish to taste some of Napa Valley’s most well-known wines on your tour, (with names like Robert Mondavi, Sutter Home and Cakebread Cellars), or discover the hidden charm of Napa’s small family-owned wine cellars—there are such tours tailor-made for you.

With over 300 wineries, from enormous estates to cozy family-owned boutique set-ups, Napa Valley in California is a fantastic place for a wine tour.
Napa Valley in California
Of course, you can stop by at Napa Valley’s great stores, including the stores of Donna Karan, Brooks Brothers, London Fog, Coach, Liz Claiborne, Nautica, Carole Little, and J. Crew—for a bit of shopping. Oh, did we mention that you can do all this in the comfort of your own chauffeur-driven limousine? Now, that’s luxury.

Travel in a stretch limousine
Travel in a stretch limousine
How to get there: Most international airlines fly from Indian airports to San Francisco with a single stopover. Napa Valley is an hour’s drive from San Francisco

Contact:www.napavalley.com or www.pureluxury.com/winecountry_napa

Price: $500 (Rs 20,000) for a 10-hour tour in a limousine for two people

Bordeaux Wine Country, France

A chateau in Bordeaux
A chateau in Bordeaux
The south west of France and its cultural centre, Bordeaux, is truly fascinating—it has world famous vineyards and endless sandy beaches. Take the wine tour in Bordeaux with wine tasting in the famous chateaux in the Medoc, Pomerol, Sauternes or Graves regions.

Make this trip really count. Visit St. Emilion nearby, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its charming, medieval old town and its impressive underground galleries and catacombs. Of course, you can relax in Lacanau with a stroll along the Atlantic coast, a game of golf on one of the excellent 18-hole courses or with an exquisite glass of red wine in the heart of Bordeaux.

How to get there: There are several luxury buses as well as taxi services between Paris and Bordeaux.

Contact:www.bordeaux-winetravel. com

Price: Full day plus evening on a luxury sedan—m500 (Rs 31,500) plus incidentals

Tuscan Wine Tour, Italy

A Tuscan vineyard
A Tuscan vineyard
Do names like Castellare di Castellina, Villa Cafaggio or Olena, Le Fonti, sound familiar? Unlikely. But visit these amazing vineyards in Tuscany and we are sure you will come back in high spirits.

Take a day tour from Florence and stop at the hilltop town Castellina in Chianti, to get the feel of the town that has been transformed by the importance of its wines. Also remember to shop for local specialities and handicrafts. Head off to a local winery, see the cellars and, of course, don’t forget to taste the wines. Most tours offer a Tapas-style lunch en route so get set for a food fiesta.

How to get there: Florence is connected to most Indian cities by international flights via Rome or Milan.

Contact:www.tuscanwine-tours.com

Price: Upwards of m250 (Rs 15,750) per person

La Rioja Wine Country, Spain

Discover La Rioja on a private wine escape. Begin your journey in Bilbao, an excellent gateway to visit various wineries in the quaint wine towns of Rioja.

For the duration of the trip, get yourself a chauffeur-driven car. The drivers who chauffer you around are great guides and are knowledgeable about the wines of the area. Most tours will take you to Haro in the heart of Rioja Alvesa wine country. Visit Bodegas Muga at the charming wine town of Laguardia. Stay at a hotel near the famous Bodega Marques de Riscal and enjoy.

How to get there: India is connected to Madrid through several international flights every day. Regular domestic flights operate between Madrid and Bilbao.

Contact:www.spanish-fiestas.com or www.cellartours.com

Price: Upwards of m100 (Rs 6,300) per person per day

Queenstown Wine Country, New Zealand

The Queenstown tour for one is fabulous. Itís a full-day tour that takes you to the famous Gibbston Valley Wines to visit New Zealand's biggest wine cave.
Gibbston Valley wines
There is a wide range of options when it comes to wine tours in New Zealand.

A number of companies offer half- and full-day wine tours. These usually involve visits to several wineries and a meal at a winery restaurant. There are also a number of companies that offer multi-day tours that visit several of New Zealand’s wine regions.

Wine tasting is a great way to finish a wine tour
Enjoy wine tasting
The Queenstown circuit is fabulous. It’s a full-day tour, which takes you to the famous Gibbston Valley Wines to visit New Zealand’s biggest wine cave. Taste the wine here before driving past the magnificent Kawarau Gorge to Bannockburn District.

Stop at Carrick Winery for a platter lunch. Drop in at the small, family-owned Aurum Wines or the up-market Rockburn Wines for more sampling before leaving back for Gibbston Valley. The owners here offer you tastings with a cheese and pickles platter.

How to get there: To reach Queenstown, fly to Auckland or Christchurch. Air New Zealand flies daily from these two cities to Queenstown. It’s a 90-minute flight from Auckland.

Contact:www.wtn.co.nz/winetours

Price: NZ $190 (Rs 5,987) upwards

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