The best tours and trips for wine lovers from Port to California

Vine grape row in champagne vineyards in montagne de reims

Talk about grape escapes (Image: Getty Images)

If you like wine, have you ever thought about taking a trip?

From city breaks to country walks, visiting vineyards and wineries offers the perfect balance of history, adventure and, of course, great wine.

Whether you prefer to savor deep reds, light whites, or fizzy bubbles, here are some of the best wine tours and experiences to please the palate.

Holy!

Port of call

Walking Tour and Wine Tasting in Porto and the Douro Valley

Visit ‘quintas’ in the Douro Valley to see where the port is made (Photo: Allan Harris)

These days, port isn’t just for your grandmother at Christmas: younger drinkers turn to this sweet wine, too (especially when mixed with tonic). Discover the secrets of this fashionable drink in Porto, the Portuguese city and capital of the port wine trade.

Steeped in history and charm, it offers a touch of a city break, made extra special by combining it with a stay on the Douro River to the vineyards and ‘quintas’ (cellars) where the port is produced. Stay two nights at each location, travel by train, and enjoy self-guided walks and a tasting tour at a riverside quinta.

Stay: Four nights bed and breakfast with transfers, two dinners and a guided tour of Quinta De La Rosa costs from £745 per person, excluding flights through Inn Travel.

lovely bubbly

It's only a real wine tour if you're in the Champagne region, otherwise it's just a sparkling holiday...

It’s only a true wine tour if you’re in the Champagne region, otherwise it’s just a resplendent holiday… (Image: Supplied)

Bollinger, Taittinger and Veuve Clicquot may be household names, but do you know why these brands’ golden bubbles create such a buzz? Find out on a classic wine-tasting trip to France’s legendary Champagne region.

Depending on where you are in Great Britain, it is easy to access by ferry, train or plane. As the home of the world’s most festive fizzy drink, it’s never too early to raise a glass.

From your base in historic Reims, venture out to explore prestigious Champagne estates, including the legendary Moët & Chandon, plus the hilltop village where Dom Pérignon once lived.

Stay: B&B accommodation, a full day of touring and a tasting masterclass cost from £462pp for two nights, excluding flights via Grape Escapes.

cycle and sip

CROATIA BIKE WINE TOUR Bike the Istrian peninsula, pedaling through vineyards and visiting family owned wineries to taste vintages you won't find in your regular supermarket.  Week-long B&B with bike rental, luggage transfers, detailed maps and 24/7 support costs from 815 pp, additional flights;  responsabletravel.com Please give credit to Fiore Tours and Adventure

Picturesque Croatia is a delight to explore by bike (Image: Fiore Tours and Adventure)

From prosecco and pinot grigio in Italy to riesling found along the Rhine, Europe has many famous wines, but those of Croatia are not among them. This is an oversight, as the wines made from Malvasía and Terán grapes are outstanding.

Discover them on a non-motorized holiday on the Istrian peninsula, cycling through sun-drenched vineyards. Following the provided maps, stop for lunch at traditional ‘konoba’ restaurants and visit family-owned wineries to sample vintages you won’t find in your regular supermarket.

Along the way, stay in small-scale hotels and sample the region’s olive oil, truffles, and Italian-influenced cuisine.

Stay: One week B&B with bike hire, luggage transfers, detailed maps and 24/7 support costs from £815pp, additional flights through Responsible Travel.

california dream

California Sonoma County in California now has nearly 20 vegan wineries.  A half-day private tour will take you to the vineyards you want to visit, vegan or not;  then round out the day by dining at a plant-based restaurant.  Four night?  Sonoma accommodation with car rental, roundtrip flights to San Francisco and a personalized wine tour starts at £1,485 per person.  bon-voyage.es

Taste vegan wines in Sonoma Country (Image: Supplied)

Grapes are a fruit, right? So you might think the wine they’re made into would be suitable for plant-focused palates, but the winemaking process often uses animal-based fining agents, such as egg white and gelatin.

Dedicated vegans will find good news in California, where Sonoma County has nearly 20 vegan wineries. A private tour will take anyone who wishes to visit, vegan or not. End the day by dining at a plant-based restaurant like SingleThread in Healdsburg.

Stay: A four-night stay in Sonoma with car rental, return flights to San Francisco and a wine tour costs from £1,485 per person via Bon Voyage.

stay on the south coast

DG356G English winemaker Chapel Down Wines, Tenterden, Kent, England, UK.

Chapel Down makes high quality wine in the Kent countryside (Image: Alamy Stock Photo)

Don’t feel like traveling abroad to find a vineyard? With English sparkling wine going from strength to strength, there’s no need. The calcareous soils of the North and South Downs are very similar to those of Champagne, less than 100 miles across the Channel.

As a result, the English sparkling wine now rivals the French original in quality. Individual guided tours and tastings at Chapel Down (from £25pp) and Hush Heath Estate (from £45pp) are the way to do it on a tight budget, or from your base in picturesque Rye near the border between Kent and Sussex, you can explore both wineries with Smooth Red’s private guided tour, then make the most of the coast with a walk around Camber Sands, or wander the medieval streets of Rye.

Stay: A two-night break costs from £759 per person, including meals and a full-day wine tour, smoothred.com. For day trips from £109pp check out Wine Tours Of Kent.

The Greeks carry gifts

Vineyards in a row in the wine producing area of ​​Nemea, Greece

The countryside of Greece is covered in vineyards (Image: Getty Images)

Homegrown wine is a way of life in rural Greece, and Greek wines have evolved to gain international recognition.

In the Peloponnese, wander through small-scale estates where winemaking is as old as the archaeological sites you’ll visit along the way. In Nemea, sample the products of the Palivou Wine Estate and visit the Temple of Zeus.

In Nafplion, sample ruby-red wines before visiting the city’s fortress. This small-group tour (minimum four people) includes transportation and a driver/guide.

Stay: Four nights from £678pp, including transfers, vineyard tours and B&B accommodation, additional flights via Wine Tours Greece.


Save over £60 on 12 bottles of world-class red wine with Metro Wine Club

Do you fancy a drink?

Do you fancy a drink? (Image: Soudan E/Alpaca/Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Do you fancy a drink without leaving the sofa? Join the Metro Wine Club, in association with Virgin Wines, and get a case worth £131.88 for just £65.88. How about that for a cheap luxury?

This offering of these sublime old and new world reds also acts as the perfect introduction to our premium WineBank service. Terms and conditions apply. So, what are you waiting for?

To order visit Virgin Wines or call 0343 224 1001 quoting VF2240. You must be 18 years of age or older to purchase alcohol. New clients only, one case per client. To view the full terms and conditions, click here

MORE: The best all-inclusive holidays under £1,000: From magical Morocco to Canarian awesomeness

MORE: The Metro Wine Club: How cheap and cheerful eats can be made better with the right wine



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