3. The Romans are though to have cultivated vines on the site of Adgestone
vineyard on the Isle of Wight (01983 402503; adgestonevineyard.co.uk).
One of the oldest vineyards in Britain, it is overlooked by the grassy chalk
ridge of Brading Down, has a well-preserved Roman villa on its doorsetp and
is only a few miles from wide sandy beaches at Bembridge and Sandown. There
is bb accommodation on site (guests get a free cellar visit and
tasting) and a cafe serving great cream teas.
4. Valley Farm Vineyards, deep in the Suffolk countryside (01986
is a great place for a family break as the self-catering barn conversion in
the grounds sleeps up to 10 people, has a large garden with stream (so not
good for toddlers), a games room and babysitting by appointment. Guests can
join tours of the 14 acres of vines, which include tastings. Nearby is the
Suffolk coast, with charming seaside towns including Southwold and
Aldeburgh, and the impressive 12th century Framlingham Castle.
5. You might think that Yorkshire was a bit chilly for viticulture, but
the team at Ryedale Vineyards (01653 658507; ryedalevineyards.co.uk),
England’s most northerly commercial venture, have established a flourishing
business.Guests staying in the attractive farmhouse bb there can take
wine tours, and volunteers are encouraged to help with tending the vines.
York, Castle Howard and the Yorkshire coast are all within easy striking
distance, and birdwatchers will appreciate the variety of resident birdlife
around the vineyards.
Mandarin-speaking tourists looking for a unique western experience in B.C. will be able to take gourmet wine tasting tours of the Fraser Valley and the Okanagan in their own language starting this month.
Robin Kort, owner of Swallow Tail Tours, has organized the tours in direct response to the meteoric rise in the number of Mandarin-speaking tourists to B.C.
According to Tourism B.C., the number of overnight tourists coming from China to B.C. during the past four years has grown from 99,686 in 2009 to 161,047 last year. The figures for Chinese visitors to Canada has increased from 166,200 to 288,279 during the same period.
The U.S. remains the biggest source of overnight visitors. A total of 2.8 million Americans spent a night in B.C. followed by 193,673 from the United Kingdom and 167,121 from Australia.
One of the main reasons for the growth is the signing in 2010 of the Approved Destination Status between Canada and China. That agreement allows Canada to be officially promoted and marketed as a tourist destination in China.
Canada remains a popular international destination for tourists from China. According to a survey by the Asia Pacific Foundation in 2010, Canada ranked third behind Australia and Singapore as a favoured destination for Chinese tourists.
One of the big differences about the new tourists from China is that they speak Mandarin, Chinaâ€™s main dialect. Traditionally, visitors to B.C. from China have spoken Cantonese, the dialect of the area around Hong Kong called Guangzhou that has provided the bulk of immigrants to Canada, the U.S. and Australia.
Kenny Zhang, senior research analyst at the Asia Pacific Foundation, said many tourist-related businesses in Canada may not be 100 per cent ready for the new wave of visitors. Gestures as simple as having menus and signs in Chinese or in easily understood pictograms are important to making tourists feel comfortable during their visit.
It comes down to providing what Zhang called China-specific services. Attention to detail is important. That includes knowing that tourists from China donâ€™t start their day with coffee. In hotels in China, teapots are provided so guests can make their own tea.
â€œThose are the things that industry operators need to pay attention to if theyâ€™re really serious about Chinese tourists,â€� he said. â€œIt is the total mindset. We need to realize that this is a growing market. We need to do something that is friendly to our growing visitors. Itâ€™s not necessary to treat visitors differently than others. Just to be market friendly.â€�
One thing that tends to set tourists from China apart is their interest in shopping for luxury goods, Zhang said. On an organized tour to Canada, Chinese tourists often have a day set aside for shopping.
One reason is a cultural expectation that gifts will be brought back for relatives. Another incentive is price: because of high taxes on luxury goods in China, the same items are cheaper in Canada.
â€œThere is a huge price difference between inside and outside China,â€� he said. â€œThere is a strong economic incentive for tourists to buy luxury goods.â€�
Another local travel company that has seen a growth in tourists from China is Five Star Travel, which organizes charter bus tours.
Manager Tony Yin said that four years ago, almost 90 per cent of tourists from China spoke Cantonese. Now the split is closer to 50/50 as all the growth is in Mandarin-speaking Chinese tourists.
He said that, until recently, Canada lagged behind Australia and the U.S. when it came to targeting tourists from China.
â€œCanada, for them, is new â€” it just opened for tourists,â€� he said.
One place where Canadians could do a better job, he said, is to hire more Mandarin-speaking immigration officials at the airport. Too often, Yin said, there arenâ€™t enough staff to process the direct flights from China that land in YVR during peak season. His tour guides can be held up for hours as the Canada Border Services Agency processes as many as 500 tourists arriving in a few hours from China.
The introductory, basic Mandarin-language tour from Swallow Tail Tours is $99. Designed for between six and 15 people, the tour visits three wineries in the Fraser Valley and provides a gourmet lunch. In each winery, the vintnerâ€™s talk to the group will be translated into Mandarin.
Education is a big part of the tour. At the tastings, Chinese tourists will be told about the culture of wine, including how to taste, how to swirl the wine around in the glass and how to assess the wineâ€™s quality.
Kort said tourists from China want a western experience but with a twist. The difference Chinese tourists are looking for is embedded in the introductory tourâ€™s title which sounds a bit awkward in English: Wine Education Business Intelligence Tour.
â€œA lot of Asian tourists we have love an educational component,â€� said Kort, a chef and sommelier. â€œChinese clients want to do something useful. They donâ€™t just want to just relax like a North American on a tour â€” they definitely want to do that, too, but they want to get something out of it as well.â€�
Swallow Tail is a five-year-old company that specializes in food tours and unique culinary experiences that includes guerrilla dining in secret locations with star chefs and unique wines and drinks.
In her marketing to the Mandarin-speaking community, Kort is partnering with Export Ventures Group, a Vancouver-based wine export company that represents Canadian producers in Asia, said Alice Chen, Export Venturesâ€™s chief executive officer.
â€œWe interact with Chinese people who want to get into export, Chinese tourists or Chinese people who want to understand the wine industry,â€� Chen said.
In addition to the one-day tours, Swallow Tail will also be offering two others, including a three-day deluxe tour to wineries in the Fraser Valley and the Okanagan that starts at $4,999 for up to four people. Itâ€™s designed as a Chinese investor tour, she said.
â€œItâ€™s an ultra VIP, fine-dining experience,â€� Chen said. â€œChef Robin will go along and prepare meals with wine pairings.â€�
Swallow Tailâ€™s move into offering Mandarin-speaking wine tours is a sign of the way the tourism industry is changing gears to accommodate the continued growth of tourists from China.
Sedona’s famous red rock vistas, oak-lined creeks, ancient cliff dwellings, and breathtaking beauty beckon all types of visitors – from outdoor enthusiasts, photographers and artists, to art buyers, nature lovers, and those seeking enlightenment and wellness. What many don’t realize is that Sedona also offers an incredible culinary scene, offering a variety of cuisines, such as French, Italian, Asian, along with delectable twists on classic American, Southwestern and Mexican dishes.
Reserve a table on an outdoor patio, then enjoy an old-fashioned cowboy style steak accompanied by a prickly pear margarita. Or visit one of Sedona’s many raw, vegan and vegetarian hotspots for heart-healthy plates made of wholesome ingredients served from garden to table. A meal isn’t complete without a locally crafted Hefeweizen or a Chardonnay from the area’s vineyards. Explore your foodie personality and check out where to wine and dine in Sedona.
Visit MySedona.com to plan your trip to one of the most beautiful places in the USA.
A Private Wine Experience
Enjoy sampling local wines on the best wine tours available while you are visiting red rock country. Choose from our Northern Arizona Scenic Wine Tour, “Wine Your Way Tour”, or Bachelorette Wine Chocolate Excursion. We can even incorporate a massage and dinner to give you the ultimate tour. All tours conducted in a fully enclosed and climate controlled van. Allow us to share with you an experience of a lifetime. For more information visit SedonaRedRockAdventures.com.
Grand Canyon Railway Announces Custom Wine Label
As part of an ongoing initiative to utilize local products and materials, Grand Canyon Railway is pleased to partner with The Grand Canyon Winery to showcase a new custom wine label featuring a unique hand-drawn image of 90-year old Steam Locomotive 4960 in a Grand Canyon setting. This special Grand Canyon Railway label wine, handcrafted and bottled locally at Page Springs Cellars, will be available onboard the Train, at the Grand Depot Café and at Grand Canyon Railway gift shops in Williams, Arizona.
For more information on the Grand Canyon Railway, please visit www.TheTrain.com or call 1-800-THE-TRAIN.
Sedona Winefest: September 28-29
Sedona Winefest celebrates the wine industry of Arizona and will feature great wines from the Verde Valley, Prescott and the Southern Arizona Regions. The event is located at the Sedona Airport Vista, where patrons will marvel in the spectacular mountain scenery and delight in tasting Arizona wines, local foods and the live music throughout the day. We will also be showcasing some great artists at the Annual Juried Art Exhibition featuring original art for sale.
Visit www.SedonaWineFest.com for more information.
Unwind, Relax and Rejuvenate
The Hilton Sedona Resort Spa is the perfect home base to explore Northern Arizona Wine Country. After a day of tasting, dine in the resort’s Grille at ShadowRock sampling the delicious creations of Chef Moscato as you select a fine wine from the Grille’s extensive wine list. The resort features spacious suites with balconies or patios, microwave ovens and refrigerators, three pools, golf course and spa. Call (877) 273-3762 or visit HiltonSedonaResort.com to make a reservation.
Grape Train Escape at Verde Canyon Railroad
On select Saturday evenings May through September, Verde Canyon Railroad’s Grape Train Escape takes you on rolling wine-tasting adventures where select wineries purvey their wines which we pair with delectable appetizers. History comes alive around every bend whether you’re relaxing in the comfort of a first-class car or on an open-air viewing car enjoying the true essence of the Arizona outdoors … with a glass of wine in your hand.
Visit www.VerdeCanyonRR.com for more information.
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More and more states are producing wines, but Oregon’s industry is unsurpassed for quality. Yet sometimes it’s easy to take such abundance for granted when it’s in your own backyard. Don’t let that happen to you. May is Oregon Wine Month, which culminates in the Memorial Day weekend celebration at many of the state’s 450-plus wineries. Many of these wineries are open only two or three times a year, or by appointment, so don’t let this opportunity slip away without sampling a little of what makes Oregon so special.
Use our maps of the state’s key wine regions and AVAs (American Viticulture Areas) to help select an area to visit (note that it’s hard to enjoy more than five wineries in one day), and then check with each winery to make sure it will be open during the hours you want to visit. Our list of websites for each region or AVA will help you connect with each winery.
The curious as well as the thirsty should also consider taking one of the in-depth winery tours described by The Oregonian’s travel writer, Terry Richard.
Also in this issue, Katherine Cole, who writes the Wine Notes column for The Oregonian, profiles a winery that was crushed by the recession only to be reborn as a co-op for several winemakers.
And don’t miss Oregonian staff writer Dana Tims’ profile of Oregon’s newest AVA (its 17th), Elkton, located in the Umpqua Valley. While southern Oregon is known for its warmer weather, the Elkton AVA is able to grow cool climate varieties such as pinot noir, pinot gris and gew£rztraminer.
Grant Butler returns with his indispensable snapshots of wine country restaurants, because wine tasters shouldn’t taste on an empty stomach.
This year we’ve also included a map of 13 wineries in Washington state’s Clark County, which is closer to Portland than several Oregon wine regions.
Finally, once you’ve made your grand tour, we invite you to go to oregonlive.com/wine to vote for the winery with the best view. This year’s poll brings together the top 12 finishers from the past two years, when more than 6,000 votes were cast after stories were published in The Oregonian.
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There’s a better way than elbowing for space at the wine tasting bar.
Do your tasting in the vineyard.
That’s what Sokol Blosser Winery in the Dundee Hills offers during its vineyard hikes.
You won’t be going on a scavenger hunt, because the tour leader knows where she has stashed the wine, but it is quite refreshing to discover an insulated case containing pinot noir and glasses to pour it in.
A chorus of “salud” never went down so well.
A hike in a vineyard is one of many ways to experience Northwest wine beyond the tasting room.
Some wineries give free behind-the-scenes tours to show their rows of stainless steel tanks and oak barrels stacked to the ceiling. Others sell guided tours, including Sokol Blosser, to better educate and entertain an increasingly sophisticated clientele. And some are small enough that the owners can talk about the wine business with people who buy their wines.
Come along for some tours:
Sokol Blosser: The vineyard hike shouldn’t leave you sweating, but it does cover 400 feet of elevation in one of Oregon’s most beautiful landscapes, the Dundee Hills. The hills are pretty much off limits to other off-pavement foot traffic because of private ownership and intense cultivation.
The hike begins in the winery tasting room, which as of July will be brand new. Sokol Blosser is one of Oregon’s long-established wineries, with a first planting in 1971 and the opening of a tasting room in 1978. It’s a very busy and popular place.
As the vineyard hike begins, that day’s tour leader, Elise Kubisiak, looks at the shoes group members are wearing and issues a warning (“You will be drinking and there are gopher holes”), then leads the way into the vineyard. But don’t worry, she says, “No one has been lost or injured and no one run over by the tractor.”
With that, everyone is ready for an adventure among the grapes.
She leads the way to the high point of the vineyard, while explaining the importance of the red clay loam soil, named “Jory” for a pioneer family. It’s the official state soil.
“It’s unique to parts of the Willamette Valley,” she says. “It’s not especially fertile. It makes the vines struggle, but that builds character, just like people who have lived hard lives have more stories to tell.”
Then she finds one of the insulated cases and proceeds to pour tastes of 2010 Dundee Hills pinot noir, which was “just released today.”
The tour continues pretty much in that vein, with a side trip to sample olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salts from around the world at neighboring Red Ridge Farms. The tour ends in a shady outdoor picnic area with a catered lunch — wine included.
The winery also has a schedule of ATV vineyard tours and shorter walking tours. The vineyard hikes cost $75 for non-wine club members. Check the schedule and register in advance at 503-864-2282, ext. 10, or sokolblosser.com.
Domaine Serene: Another of the major wineries of the Dundee Hills, Domaine Serene offers tours and tastings to small groups. Cost is $35 per person for the Estate Tasting, or $50 for the Exquisite Oregon Wines Experience.
To begin the latter tour, Lucas Willett leads the way to the vineyard while explaining the challenges a winery faces.
“In 2010 we were slammed by migrating birds,” he said. “We installed tape on rows, shadow hawks, air cannons and had people riding the vineyard in ATVs. We were more ready in 2011, but the birds never came. Every year is a different circumstance in the vineyard.”
Inside the five-story winery, he explains how a gravity-flow system is used to move the juice through the process with a minimum of pumping. Oregon’s signature pinot noir grape has a reputation for being sensitive to excessive movement.
The tour moves past the destemmer, then the vacuum that removes insects and unwanted debris from grape clusters. The barrel room is stacked with $1,500 French oak barrels, which are used for three years and then sold for $50 as planters or outdoor decorations.
The tour winds up with a tasting of four wines, including the winery’s signature Yamhill cuvée pinot noir, accompanied by local cheeses. Lunch can be catered for an extra charge; 503-864-4600, domaineserene.com.
King Estate: The free 45-minute walking tour of this winery, largest producer in Oregon and located southwest of Eugene, is as much about organic farming as about its annual production of 200,000 cases. The estate grows or processes much of the food served in its busy restaurant.
The tour shows off dozens of 38,000-gallon stainless steel tanks where the winery’s signature pinot gris is made. The estate lays claim as the largest producer of that premium white varietal in the world.
Red wines are aged in as many as 3,000 oak barrels, one of the largest collections in the state. Tours leave on the hour from noon to 5 p.m. The grounds around the winery are also lovely for strolling; 541-942-9874, kingestate.com.
Harris Bridge: This tiny winery west of Corvallis has a limited output of 150 cases of dessert wine a year, so what would there be to show on a tour? Owners Nathan Warren and Amanda Sever share stories of the pioneer history of their valley (Warren grew up nearby) and walk with visitors to the Marys River and a covered bridge.
The bucolic setting is one of the most pleasant (at least on a nice day) in Oregon wine country. If you’re lucky, a four-car train from Toledo to Corvallis may even toot its horn as it passes; 541-929-3053, harrisbridgevineyard.com.
Columbia Crest: Weekends have free guided tours at this, the largest producer of wine in the Pacific Northwest. The scale of this winery, located in the Horse Heaven Hills near Paterson, Wash., is mind-boggling compared to anything in Oregon. The footprint of the production facility covers 21 acres. During harvest, trucks filled with grapes arrive around the clock for days on end.
Stainless steel tanks seem to go on forever, while another room contains thousands of oak barrels with chardonnay that gets hand stirred once a week. The tour guide explains petit chai, a French term that translates as “little barrel room,” meaning a small winery where premium wines are made within the much larger winery.
The tasting room and wine store are in a French-style chateau that has an intimate feel but can offer more space when tour buses arrive. Self-guided tours are available daily; 888-309-9463, columbiacrest.com.
Chateau Ste. Michelle: The flagship in a wine empire that includes Columbia Crest, this winery in Woodinville, Wash., has been the top wine tour destination in the Northwest since it opened in 1976. In addition to the winery, there is a summer concert venue that accommodates 4,300.
Free tours of the production facility are offered daily, reservations not required. A number of other special tours and tastings are available for a fee.
The tour guide explains that the chateau is the largest producer of riesling in the world. With its estate partners, which include six of the seven largest wineries in Washington, the Ste. Michelle team is the seventh-largest winemaker in the country.
The 30-minute tour of the production facility winds up in the tasting room, where samples of muscat canelli, Eroica riesling and Cold Creek chardonnay (or similar) are free; 425-488-1133, ste-michelle.com.
To see a photo gallery and videos, go to oregonlive.com/wine.
This week in Deals and Steals, they’re all Steals.
And your options abound. Take the family to Aruba and kids stay free with lots of perks. Or book a suite in Anguilla for 40% off. Or enjoy a romantic escape to St. Lucia with loads of tours and activities.
FIND FAMILY FUN IN ARUBA’S SUN
Retreat to Aruba in the Southern Caribbean this summer with perks for the whole family.
Steal: Through Sept. 30, the “One Happy Family” package offers children under 12 free hotel accommodations, daily breakfast and VIK (Very Important Kid) benefits at more than 10 properties in Aruba. Families also receive discounts from several on-island tour operators.
Experience: Upon check-in at participating hotels, children enjoy a special beverage and are awarded a passport featuring several of Aruba’s kid-friendly hot spots. They include: the world-famous Baby Beach, the archeological museum, history museum, California Lighthouse, aloe factory, Arikok National Park, hidden beaches, cacti and indigenous fauna.
As families explore each of these locations, kids are challenged with questions and puzzles. Once finished, the youngsters submit their passports to the hotel to be entered into a drawing for the chance to win a one-week trip for four (airfare included) back to Aruba. Winners will be announced at the end of September.
Book it! Call +297-582-3777 or go online to aruba.com and choose the “One Happy Family” package.
SUITE LUXURY IN ANGUILLA
Soak up the sunshine at the world-class CuisinArt Golf Resort Spa in tranquil Anguilla in the British West Indies.
Steal: Save up to 40% off rates in the junior suite category, July through August, with the “Leading in Advance” offer. It’s for rates starting at $345/night, based on double occupancy. The price also includes continental breakfast in suite or full breakfast at Cafe Mediterraneo, along with airport or ferry greeting and complimentary WiFi.
Experience: Set against a stunning backdrop of turquoise water and white sand beaches, this five-star facility, dubbed a “Leading Hotel of the World,” provides the ultimate Caribbean experience. Relax in luxury on pristine beaches, treat yourself at the state-of-the-art Venus Spa or take a swing at the Greg Norman-designed 18-hole golf course.
Book it! Call 1-800-943-3210 or visit online at cuisinartresort.com. “Leading in Advance” bookings must be prepaid and are nonrefundable.
SUMMER ROMANCE, SET IN ST. LUCIA
Take a sweetheart to Anse Chastanet Resort for an all-inclusive package — and experience the tranquility, romance and adventure of St. Lucia.
Steal: For travel between July 15 and Oct. 31, stay five nights and enjoy the fifth night free. Or stay seven nights and receive two nights free. Rates are from $4,306 for five nights and $5,185 for seven nights.
The price includes: all taxes and services; airport transfers; three meals a day and afternoon tea; all drinks including house wine; tours of a volcano, sulfur springs and mineral baths; a guided tour of old French Colonial plantation of Anse Mamin; a jungle bike ride, sailing jaunt and a boat snorkel trip; a resort scuba-diving course for beginners or two dives for certified divers; a one-hour Swedish massage; and an anniversary certificate of $500 to be used on a return visit.
Experience: With a scenic location, unusual setting and its unique ambience, Anse Chastanet is one of St. Lucia’s more romantic and intimate vacation spots.
Book it! Call 1-800-223-1108 or go online to ansechastanet.com.
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In Southwest France, there’s a Filipino-owned vineyard which carries some of the world’s best wines. With a Philippine banner hoisted outside, this estate has been visited by the likes of former President Gloria Arroyo, former Cabinet member Vince Perez and banker Aurelio Montinola III.
Located in the wine epicenter of the Bordeaux region, Chateau Siran is run by winemaker and businessman Edouard Miailhe (pronounced mee-EYE). For several generations, the Miailhes ran a trading company in Manila. Today, the younger Miailhe shuttles between the Philippines and France to look after the family business.
“My father traded less in the Philippines but he kept our real estates in Binondo, Escolta and Santa Ana that were left over from the 19th century,” he says.
A fifth-generation vine grower, Miailhe took over Chateau Siran, which was acquired by his family in 1859. Chateau Siran lies in the town of Labarde in the Margaux Appellation. To the wine uninitiated, he explains, “An appellation is a piece of land which answers to certain characteristics in soil, climate and type of grapes,” says Miailhe. In the Margaux Appellation, the soil is embedded with silica and white gravels from the mountains transported from the river. The wines from this region are known for their delicate flavors.
The 88-hectare estate includes 36 hectares of vineyards which are open to the public. Visitors come to sample and buy the Margaux wines.
“When you walk around, you see the various grapes; the ages of the vines; the way we plant, grow and prune; the canopy management on how to manage the leaves and the grapes. What you see will depend on the season of your visit. The growing season is from April to October. From November to April, we prune the vines. In April, the buds start to come out,” he says.
The vineyard cultivates the grape varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Petit-Verdot, a variety of red wine grapes, adds color and spices up the wines. Its main products are Chateau Siran which is famous for its “perfect balance of tannins, fruit and sharpness”; S de Siran, the second wine, which is noted for its roundness; and the sweet Saint-Jacques de Siran.
The chateau’s wines are locally found in Premium Wine Exchange, Wine Story, Terry’s and Santi’s.
As Vice Maître (second master) of La Commanderie de Bordeaux Manila, Miailhe invites Filipino friends over to his chateau and entertains them.
Chateau Siran offers a modern cellar, a tasting room and a large hall, both of which can be rented out for special events. To get a sweeping view of the estate, there is a terrace that overlooks the vineyards. The nuclear bunker is host to the vintages, the oldest of which dates to 1870.
Unique to Bordeaux is the Future Sales which runs from April 15 to June 15, before the Vinexpo or wine exposition. It is the ultimate preselling event for wines before they are bottled. The wines are priced according to what the market is willing to dole out.
“When you are part of the 150 most famous brands in the world, you sell your wines in the future. You sell even if they are still in the barrels for aging. If the grapes have been harvested in October 2012, they are stored in the barrel in January 2013 for 12 months. By January 2014, I remove them, put the wines in the tank, clarify them and bottle them. The wines are sold through the wine selling system, the Bordeaux Negociants,” explains Miailhe. Negociants is a group of wholesalers who contract to buy an allotment of an estate’s harvest every year.
In April, the world’s most prominent wine writers come to Bordeaux to rate the wines. “Depending on the ratings and the market, you release the wine. You will allocate the wines to the different buyers. We have 45 buyers—some take 800 cases, some 10 or 20 cases. In two days, you release the wines for the same price and same payment conditions. This is what the buyers have to pay for what will be allocated to them. The buyers confirm and pay in six months. The wine is delivered at the end of the year,” explains Miailhe.
Most visitors stay at the charming hotels in Bordeaux City. Still there’s Chalet Siran, a cottage good for six, in the estate. Guests can dine at Miailhe’s restaurant La Gare Gourmande, a former 50-square-meter train depot in the village. Consisting of seven tables, it serves traditional French fare including poultry, magret confit and pork from the Southwest which complement the red wines.
“Many customers are winemakers who bring their own wines,” he says. The Trip Advisor described La Gare Gourmande as the best-kept secret in Bordeaux, and gave the meal of cold pasta with salmon, roast quail with vegetables, and a warm apple strude, a thumbs up.
Then there are the tours of the neighboring subregions of Bordeaux. “If you love architecture and wine, Bordeaux (region) is the place,” says Miailhe. Médoc is famous for the châteaux, some 1,500 vineyards, the ocean, beaches and pine forests filled with animals. Saint Emilion is a World Heritage Site, famous for its Romanesque cathedrals, limestone houses and a viticulture that dates back to the Middle Ages.
Wine lovers will appreciate the wine tours at Sauternes and Pessac, where travelers can learn more about the nuances of Bordeaux wine in the famous chateaux such as Yquem, Rothschild, Gironde and Sancerre.
“Keep one day for the city of Bordeaux. It’s gorgeous. The new mayor cleaned it up, put in the tramway and overhauled the riverbank. It’s the second most preferred city of France. We are proud of what the mayor has achieved. It looks like Disneyland but more real,” says Miailhe.
Bordeaux underwent a beautification program, starting with the removal of soot from its Medieval churches and old buildings and a reclaimed dockland. It has been modernized with galleries, concept stores, restaurants and wine-bars.
Aside from the châteaux, visiting the markets are enough reason to travel to France. The variety of cheeses, terrines, meats and breads astounds travelers. Miailhe cites coffee, foie gras, fresh produce and the famous classified rosé from Medoc as some of the popular things to shop for. “Food is important for the French and people in the Southwest,” says Miailhe.
For tour and tasting, log on to www.chateausiran.com.
California is the most famous wine producing area in the U.S., but it is far from the only area to produce good wines. Oregon is the third-largest producer of fine wine in the country, according to The New York Times.
Oregon provides ideal growing conditions for the pinot noir grape. The state has warm, mildly wet summers, rainy springs and wet, mildly cool winters. It is a similar climate to the Burgundy region of France.
For those interested in learning more about wine production in Oregon and the pinot noir grape, wine tours offer an excellent opportunity to explore the region.
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My Chauffeur Wine Tours takes guests along the Columbis River Gorge area, which is known for its pinot noir wine. Guests ride in luxury vehicles to the vineyards of Carlton, Yamhill and McMinnville. There, they enjoy catered gourmet picnics and wine tastings. The tours are narrated by local experts and can be customized from a selection of 11 routes.
My Chauffer Wine Tours
Equestrian Wine Tours are a more adventurous way to explore the wine-producing region. Tour guides takes groups on horseback on Tennessee walking horses through the Red Hills of Dunde, an area famous for its pinot noir, and then onto the Carlton and Yamhill regions. The tours have options for gourmet picnics and wine-pairing demonstrations, as well as carriage rides through the region.
Equestrian Wine Tours
Main Street Tours is another company that explores the pinot noir region of Oregon, taking visitors through the vineyards of Applegate, Illinois, Umpqua Valley and Rogue. These tours are intended to be more educational, and provide information on the history of Oregon wine and gourmet food pairings, as well as a demonstration of the “Five S’s of Wine Tasting.” Guests are chauffeured through the rolling hills and rural vistas that have panoramic views of the vineyards perfect for photograph opportunities. The tours also stop at local farms and creameries and include lunch at one of the vineyards.
Main Street Tours
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