In our part of the world, the Big Apple, summer is still very much upon us. (Hallelujah!) And do you know what goes best with summer? Wine, obviously. For us, a crisp Sancerre or Provencal rosé really hits the spot. So does traveling. Some years all of the summer traveling we do is local. Other years, getting out of Dodge means we finally use all those miles we’ve been feverishly hoarding to go somewhere amazing. If you are in the latter category, whether this year or any time in the future–then this post is for you. Because we’ve rounded up some of the best and most affordable wine tours around Europe.
You may be wondering, Why only Europe? The answer is, while we love wine destinations like Seattle, Washington, and Marlborough, New Zealand, tooling around European vineyards in August is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. The weather is ideal, the food is legendary, and because so few people work, the pace of life slows down to a comfortable stroll. And, not for nothing, but Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Italian wines are ah-maze-ing.
If you’re a wine lover, no trip to Florence is complete without going on a Tuscan wine tour.
When you book a wine tour around Tuscany, you’re going to want to use this touring company, rated #1 on Tripadvisor, with 5 star reviews galore. You’ll start at a meet point in central Florence, then travel through Tuscany’s countryside filled with olive groves and vineyards in an air-conditioned coach bus. At the first wine estate in Chianti, you’ll learn about its farm and vineyard, then sample three different wines from the estate paired with olive oil and fresh bread.
At the second winery, you’ll tour its wine cellars, and learn all about their production process. You’ll then drink three of their wines accompanied by Tuscan specialties such as cold cuts, bruschetta, salami, and cheese. Grazie mille!
This tour is a half-day excursion and will drop you back in Florence at the conclusion of your wine journey. Cost in total is only about $100 per person.
Esther will be your guide on this wine tour around Barcelona. You’ll meet her in Barcelona with your group of no more than eight, drive towards Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, in the Penedés, a world-famous wine producing region near Barcelona. While there, you’ll visit an old family estate and roam its vineyards where an expert wine grower will explain all about the different qualities of the soil and the terroir. At the end of the tour, four wines from their vineyard will be served with paired food. Next stop on your wine journey is a visit to another Spanish vineyard’s subterranean wine cellars, where thousands of bottles of cava are cased, waiting to be released. You’ll try four of their best cavas before the return to Barcelona.
The tour is a half-day and Barcelona is your start and end point. The total for the tour is approximately $90 per person.
If you make it to Portugal, the world’s most favorite place to visit right now, you can take a wine tour around the the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage region famous for its vineyards and wine production. On this top-rated tour, you’ll meet in Porto and head out in a minivan for a scenic drive through the Douro Valley. You’ll stop briefly in Peso da Régua, the capital of the Douro Valley and then head to Pinhão, a picturesque village where you’ll eat a traditional lunch accompanied by wine at a villa. After lunch, your guide will take you to two family-run estates where you’ll learn about their history of winemaking and taste each of their award-wining varietals and ports.
Your tour will begin and end in Porto. And the group is limited to 8 people for a more intimate experience. The cost is $110 for a full-day tour.
Rustic Vines is a wine tour operator in Bordeaux, France. Their tours showcase the region’s best family-run estates to the more prestigious vineyards of the Saint Emilion and Medoc regions. They’re one of the top-rated tours in Bordeaux, which makes sense because all of their tours are surprisingly affordable for the quality of Bordeaux wine you’ll be drinking and learning about. They have a few package deals, as well. Below you’ll find a few of their immersive and affordable full-day tour overviews:
Join us on a breathtaking visit to 2 Chateaux of contrasting styles, the medieval village of Saint Emilion and indulge in great scenery, Merlot-dominant wine, rich history and a French picnic, all with a passionate English speaking guide. From 94€.
Revel in the world famous Médoc region where we visit small and large Chateaux including 1855 Classified growths. Enjoy several tastings to better understand this Cabernet Sauvignon-strong region and create your perfect wine blend! From 55€.
A one of a kind wine tour experience through some of the most famous vineyards in the world, on comfortable electric bikes! Enjoy a unique tour of the entire appellation on your way to visit several prestigious Chateaux, tour the medieval village and taste great wines. From 60€.
There is simply no better way to see Bordeaux than by bike! Let us take you on a journey of discovery from the picturesque Miroir d’eau to the relaxing Jardin Public and more as we reveal the city’s long and interesting history. From €39.