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Bordered by the Vosges Mountains to the west and the Rhine River and Germany to the east, the Alsace wine region is undoubtedly one of the most charming and uniquely distinct regions of France. Famed for wine, culture, landscape, history, gourmet food and ‘chocolate-box’ villages, Alsace offers something for everyone. We’ll be based in Colmar, one of the prettiest towns in the whole of France and there will be time to explore the town.
The wines are predominantly white and the 4 main grapes are Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Muscat, but there are also reds made from Pinot Noir and plenty of Cremant (sparkling wine). We’ll visit several wine producers and taste lots of their lovely wines, enjoy gourmet food and we’ll also visit a famous local castle.
Day 1: Thursday 14th October
Meet at Zurich airport at 12.20. A coach will meet us and transfer us straight to our first winery appointment for a tasting. Late afternoon check-in to 4-star Novotel Suites (3 nights). This evening a group dinner at a (very smart!) local restaurant.
Day 2: Friday 15th October
After breakfast we board our coach and today we will visit two more producers, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. There will be free time for lunch when we will be in one of the beautiful villages of the region. Late afternoon return to hotel and this evening there will be a group dinner.
Day 3: Saturday 16th October
After breakfast we board our coach and head back to the villages of the region to visit two more producers with lunch at one of them. This afternoon we will also visit the medieval Haut Koenigsbourg Castle which is situated high in the village of Orschwiller with stunning views over the surrounding area. Here we will have a tour with a private guide. Late afternoon return to Colmar. Free evening.
Day 4: Sunday 17th October
This morning is free to explore the beautiful town of Colmar. You may like to visit the Unterlinden Museum, the Food Market, or wander along the canals soaking up the atmosphere. Departing the hotel before midday we re-board our coach for our final group visit which will be a tasting and lunch at a winery.
Late afternoon transfer to Zurich Airport (2 hours) to arrive by 16.45
WINERIES: We have along list of favourite wineries which are on our shortlist for visits. These include Joseph Cattin, Zeyssolf, Paul Blanck, Rolly Gassman, Domaine Gresser, Jean Becker, Paul Ginglinger, Sylvie Spielman, Louis Sipp, Leon Beyer, Meyer-Fonne, Bott-Geyl…all independent family producers who offer quality wines and a warm welcome. The final list is available on request.
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ACCOMMODATION: Novotel Suites in Colmar. Newly opened in 2018, the rooms are spacious and modern. There are indoor and outdoor reception/ seating areas with a bar. The hotel is a few minutes’ walk from the canals and historic centre of Colmar and its many restaurants https://novotel-suites-centre.colmar-hotels.com/en/
TRAVEL: flights are NOT included so you will need to book your own travel to/from Basel airport. The recommended group flights are with British Airways:
Thursday 14th October BA712 departs London Heathrow 09.25 arrives Zurich 12.20
Sunday 17th October BA717 departs Zurich 18.40 arrives London Heathrow 19.30
Price £860 per person sharing a double or twin room (+ £40 supplement for tour bus - see tour copy). £160 Single Supplement
Ground transport throughout in a spacious, air-conditioned coach
3 nights’ accommodation with breakfast at the 4-star Novotel Suites
4 lunches or dinners with wine
Tours and tastings at 6 wineries
Entrance ticket and private guide at Haut Koenigsbourg Castle
Services of Tour/Wine Guide from Criterion Wine Tours
HOW TO BOOK: go to https://criterionwinetours.com/product/alsace-wine-tour/ to complete the booking form and pay the non-refundable deposit of £215 per person. The balance is due 8 weeks before the tour. Your money will be held in a secure Client Deposit Account and is fully protected.
Think of single malt whisky then think of Speyside! Centred around the River Spey half of all Scottish distilleries are based in this beautiful region. Famous names like Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Macallan sit alongside smaller, artisanal producers and all have their own individual style. We will be staying in a beautiful private mansion near Forres, where we will have a very special, professionally catered dinner with matching whiskies the first evening – think of it as a private houseparty. We will explore several distilleries, learn about the fascinating process of making single malts and taste more than a few drams! We will even visit a cooper who make the all-important barrels used for ageing the spirit. If you’re a malt whisky lover you won’t want to miss this tour!
Day 1: Saturday 6th November: Meet at Inverness airport at 11.10 (to coincide with the British Airways flight from London Heathrow). Group transfer by coach to Lossiemouth overlooking the ocean (1 hour) where we will have free time for lunch. The first steps in making whisky involve creating a strong beer and so to better understand this process, our first visit will at the Windswept Brewery where we will have a tour and tasting of several beers. Continuing to Forres we visit Dallas Dhu distillery. The distillery is no longer operational but has been turned into a museum where we can step back in time to see and hear how whisky was made in the 1900s. Late afternoon we check into the private mansion, our base for the next 3 nights
On our first evening together, we will enjoy a very special whisky and food matching multi-course dinner. A whisky expert will present a tutored tasting of 5 Speyside whiskies from distilleries which are not open for tours. This will be accompanied by a 5-course dinner prepared by a professional chef
Day 2: Sunday 7th November: we head to south Speyside to visit Glenlivet in the town of the same name. We will have a tour and tasting followed by lunch in their café. In the afternoon visit Cragganmore distillery, whose 14-year old whisky is part of the Classic Malts collection, for a tour and tasting. Late afternoon return to Dalvey House. Free evening to visit one of the restaurants in Forres or perhaps order a take-away and relax ‘at home’
Day 3: Monday 8th November: This morning head back to Speyside and visit the Speyside Cooperage to experience first-hand the art of barrel-making. We continue to Macallan for a tour and tasting in their remarkable contemporary distillery, followed by lunch in their brasserie. In the afternoon tour and tasting at Aberlour distillery. Late afternoon return to Dalvey House. Free evening to visit one of the restaurants in Forres or perhaps order a take-away and relax ‘at home’
Day 4 Tuesday 9th November: This morning after breakfast we say farewell to Dalvey House and drive to Elgin for a brief stop at Gordon & Macphail, the famous whisky bottlers. It’s a short walk from there to Glen Moray distillery where we will have a tour followed by lunch in their café. Early afternoon head back to Forres for a tour at Benromach distillery. Late afternoon, maybe after a last dram or two in a local pub, we drive back to Inverness airport in time for the British Airways flight to London Heathrow which departs at 16.45
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Please note: some distilleries do not accept bookings for tours more than 3 months in advance, therefore some visits are subject to change
TRAVEL: you need to book your own flights to/from Inverness -see the 'Travel' tab on the Criterion Wine Tours website
ACCOMMODATION: a magnificent Adam-style Georgian Mansion https://www.dalveyhouse.com/
COST: £1050 sharing a room, single supplement £100 or £150 for shared or en-suite bathroom (see Criterion Website).
There is a maximum of 12 places. For full details and to book this tour go to https://criterionwinetours.com/product/speyside-whisky-tour/