British wine tourists’ favourite vineyards revealed

A recent study has highlighted the wineries most popular with British wine tourists.

The study was undertaken by Kayak.co.uk, a travel metasearch engine that compares airline, hotel, car rental, cruise, and other vacation deals from other travel sites, including other fare aggregators. The company based its findings on an analysis of searches on its website, and the survey results have been released at a time of burgeoning interest in wine tourism, and as World Wine Week draws to a close (last day Tuesday May 14).

Europe monopolises the vineyard popularity poll for British wine enthusiasts, not surprising considering its proximity to the UK and the quality of the wines produced on the continent. It accounted for eight of the top ten vineyards, with California in the US claiming the other two top spots.

The top winery was Cims de Porrera – Catalonia, Spain. Kayak said each vineyard in this region sits on steep, rocky summits around 500 metres above the village of Porrera. The black slate soils, varying microclimates and old vines ensure the production of exceptional quality wine. The suggested local wine was Solanes Barrica (2006).

Second on the list was Tedo River Vineyards – Douro Valley, Portugal. The Duoro Valley lies in northwestern Portugal and is combed with golden vine-filled terraces and the tranquil River Douro that winds its way from the Atlantic. The wild vineyards in this region have been awarded Unesco World Heritage status and offer a selection of tours and tasting courses. The suggested local wine is a bottle of 20-year-old Tawny Port.

The top Californian vineyard, which entered the list at number five, was Kunde Estate Vineyards in Sonoma County. Kayak said that this family run, 1,850 acre estate in the heart of the Sonoma Valley produces a selection of sustainably farmed wines from elegant, balanced reds to delicate, vibrant whites. With a variety of vineyard tours and a dedicated tasting room, this winery is the perfect destination for all wine enthusiasts. The Suggested local wine is Kunde Sauvignon Blanc (2011).

The full list was:-

Porrera Vineyards – Catalonia, Spain

Tedo River Vineyards – Douro Valley, Portugal

Taylor’s – Oporto/Gaia, Portugal

Weingut Juliuspital – Wurzburg, Germany

Kunde Estate Vineyards – Sonoma County, California, US

Robert Mondavi – Napa, California, US

Villa Vignamaggio, Greve in Chianti – Tuscany, Italy

Castello Banfi – Tuscany Italy

Baden Wurttemburg Vineyards – Wurttemberg, Germany

Lavaux Vineyards – Lavaux Switzerland

Nassau Valley Vineyards receives tourism award

eggy Raley-Ward, owner of Lewes-based Nassau Valley Vineyards, has received Southern Delaware Tourism’s 2012 Recognition Award.

After winning the award, Nassau Valley Vineyards has become one among the distinguished members of Southern Delaware Tourism’s elite honour roll. The winery became Delaware’s first commercial winery in 1993 and since then it has received a number of awards in global tourism competitions.

Raley-Ward said, ‘This is a great honour. I love Sussex County. My family has been here for almost 200 years. I left and was all over the world and I came back home to start a business because I believe in Sussex County. I guess there is a lot of truth to the adage that when you have sand in your shoes it doesn’t go away. I guess farming and manufacturing runs deep in my blood. And I’m very happy and proud to tell you we have just surpassed winning 100 medals in international competition. It was not an easy road to do what we are doing. Yes, I had to change Delaware laws to allow for wineries. It has been a long road to prove we can make world-class wine in Delaware.’

The winery is credited to be Delaware’s first and only farm winery, and is engaged in the production of wines ranging from sweet to dry and red to white. All the wines are sold from the same location. Nassau Valley Vineyards opened in 1993 for business, and since then has attracted visitors from all over the world. In recent years, it has become a tourism location for those aspiring to hold their weddings in a green environment.

TripAdvisor rates top wine getaways in Europe

Travel company, TripAdvisor, has announced that it has rated the top wine getaways in Europe.

According to the company, Italy and France are the most popular wine destinations in Europe, and the travel firm has rated and awarded the top nations as part of the 2012 Travellers’ Choice Wine Destinations awards.

The company said that Italy takes the top region in wine destinations, with Tuscany coming out as the number one Travellers’ Choice Wine Destination for Europe. Aquitaine in France was awarded second place under the rankings.

The recent list compiled by Tripadvisor shows that France was dominating the overall rankings with five of the top ten destinations being located in that country, but in the overall tally, Italy still took first, fourth and fifth positions. Other than Italy and France, Spain’s Costa de la Luz and Portugal’s Porto District also achieved positions in the top 10, being placed in ninth and tenth positions respectively. In addition to wine, both Italy and France are well known for their food and fashion.

TripAdvisor listed the top 10 wine destinations in the world through feedback from travellers and their reviews. They were asked to rate the sites on the basis of popularity. In addition to the quality of wines and the wineries, the travel company also collected opinions on local restaurants, attractions and accommodation.

TripAdvisor said, ‘Italian and French destinations have dominated this year’s Travellers’ Choice Wine Destinations list, with classic wine-producing regions proving that not only do people love to drink their wine, but have a great time visiting the areas as well.’

Israel becoming wine destination

Israel is becoming a popular destination for its rich wine-making tradition.

The nation has a thriving wine industry and tour operators are now promoting conducted tours that seek to link the culture, history and politics of the nation with the equally important wine industry.

Wine tourism is important to Israel’s wine industry to increase consumption and to encourage more people to enjoy its wines, and wine tourism from overseas clients is particularly valued.

For the tourist, Israel offers 5,000 years of winemaking history, and those trying to get a grasp of the industry will also interact with the nation’s agriculture, archaeology, gastronomy, history, religion and politics.

Wine tourism in the nation is being promoted as two models: the Italian model, known as agritourism and the Californian Napa Valley style. In the first, winemaking is introduced as a way of life and tourists enjoy all aspects of wine making as they visit different places. In the second model, the winemaking is restricted to specific areas that specifically attract tourists.

There are three main wine routes in Israel, the North, comprising Galilee and the Golan, the Mount Carmel area on the coast and the Shfela (Judean foothills) lying west of Jerusalem. Each area has diverse sights and tastes to offer the discerning tourist. The North has some of the fastest growing vineyards, and activities are more intense here. The Mount Carmel region, overlooking the Mediterranean, is the most traditional wine region and it is here that Israeli wine was fermented 2,000 years ago.

The Judean foothills are home to some of the finest wineries.

In the Negev area, there are farms to visit, resplendent in the near-desert landscape.

AmaWaterways Offers Wine Cruises

AmaWaterways, a company that operates luxury river cruises in Europe, is offering new cruises to celebrate Europe’s fine wines.

The company has recently released its new Wine Cruises through Europe 2012 & 2013 brochure, listing new cruises that will showcase Europe’s finest wines and transport travellers through the best wine producing areas.

The company executive vice president and co-owner, Kristin Karst, said, ‘We’re thrilled to announce our new wine – themed itineraries and the new brochures are the perfect way to share this exciting news. We believe that each travel agent and guest is a part of our AmaWaterways family and we’re always looking for ways and tools to enhance their experience with us.’

The new wine cruises feature exclusive shore excursions and complimentary wine-themed programmes that highlight the history of the celebrated wine regions of Europe. Guests are being offered customisable visits to local vineyards and wine cellars in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape region, tasting trips for vintage wines including Beaujolais and Cotes du Rhone, as well as discussions on wine-themes with celebrated food and wine experts.

The 15-day Legendary Wine Regions of the Rhone itinerary begins from November 4, 2012, and includes three nights in Barcelona, a seven-night cruise onboard the AmaDagio through the wine regions of Arles, Les Baux de Provence, Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, Vienne and Trevoux, and a three-night stay in Paris.

The 12-day Rhine and Mosel River itinerary offers travellers the opportunity of experiencing vineyards in Europe, including three nights in Paris, a seven-night cruise from Luxembourg to Amsterdam, and a visit to the city of Cologne, with the tour departing November 3, 2013.