Seeking out and learning about the characteristic wines of a region — crisp whites in the valleys of Europe’s Rhine and Moselle rivers, a fine Malbec in South America, or a hearty red pressed from Babic grapes indigenous to the Adriatic — can add a whole new dimension to your travels, a different lens through which to view the region and its culture. Not to mention that wine-producing regions just happen to be incredibly scenic.
Look for the wine glass symbol in the “Special Interest Spotlight” box on the home pages of Vantage journeys — that’s where you’ll find the wine features of a trip itemized. While you’re at it, click the “Culinary” symbol — often, wine and culinary features overlap.
In the course of Italian Train Adventure: Magical Lakes, Eternal Cities, and the Amalfi Coast, the famed high-speed trains of Italy will whisk you from the lakes region in the north, to the Venetto to Tuscany, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast. Each region boasts characteristic wines, very reasonably priced, which you’ll definitely want to sample during meals on your own. You’ll also have an opportunity to enjoy perhaps Italy’s most famous wine, as we enjoy a very special wine tasting and dinner in the heart of the Chianti region. Additionally, for our Farewell Dinner near the Amalfi Coast, we’ll enjoy a multi-course meal of fresh, local ingredients prepared at an agriturismo — a farm inn and restaurant that serves food produced on the premises — accompanied by locally sourced wine, of course.
When it comes to Portugal, the word is “port,” and the place to be is the Douro Valley, epicenter of the estates that produce the legendary fortified wine. The Douro: Portugal’s River of Gold & Spain takes you there, on a cruise tour that includes numerous estate visits and tastings of port, as well as other excellent Portuguese wines. For example, you’ll take part in a tasting at Grahams Port and Wine Cellars during a visit to Oporto, the city that gave its name to port wine. We’ll also tour the beautiful Alto Douro Wine Region, and stop to visit the famed Avessada Winery, as well as the estate where classic Mateus rosé wine is made. To take your experience to another level, sign up for one of our special harvest-themed departures, during which you’ll take part in grape-picking traditions, attend a wine festival, learn how to correctly open and decant a vintage Port, and much more.
The word is out — fabulous wines from Chile and Argentina are no longer one of the best-kept secrets in the wine world. On South America Adventure: Chile, Argentina & Uruguay, you’ll spend two nights in the stunning Colchagua Valley, the “Napa Valley” of Chile. Descending from the slopes of the Andes to the Pacific Ocean, the region specializes in reds produced from Bordeaux varieties introduced in the 19th century.
And keep an eye out for other South American wine opportunities coming soon, including a new extension on Legendary Machu Picchu & the Galapagos Islands that pairs a visit to the mysterious Nazca Lines of the Chilean desert with a Chilean wine tour. Also in the works is an extension to Mendoza, the Argentinian district that is the world’s largest producer of Malbec wines. There’s a theory afoot that the particular Malbec varieties imported 150 years ago have since gone extinct in Europe, providing yet another excuse for wine enthusiasts to visit this spectacular area. Look for the extension to be added to Unspoiled Antarctica: Adventure to the White Continent.
Wine grapes arrived in the Adriatic with the Romans, and the ensuing centuries of cultivation have yielded numerous excellent wines. Regions, towns, and even individual family estates produce their own varieties. You’ll sample a number of them on our private yachting cruise, Croatia & Pearls of the Adriatic Coast, as you sit down to a traditional lunch served with wine from Babic grapes, a red wine grape indigenous to northern Croatia, enjoy Croatian wine served with a home-hosted dinner, and sip wine from a family vineyard, accompanied by freshly harvested oysters, both brought aboard ship by a local producer. You can enjoy similar experiences, with additional culinary features, on our special Croatian Seasonal Splendor voyage.
Rhine & Moselle Valleys
Central Europe is renowned for distinctive wines, such as Reislings and the wines of France’s Alsace region. Switzerland & the Heart of the Rhine & Moselle provides the perfect introduction to the viniculture of two great rivers, as you cruise from one charming town to the next. Destinations include the Moselle wine towns of Bernkastel and Cochem — both charmingly scenic and surrounded by vineyard-covered hillsides — as well as a tour along the famed Alsatian Wine Route, complete with tastings, naturally. For a more immersive experience, reserve one of our harvest-season departures.
French Huguenots immigrated here in the late 17th century, bringing their knowledge of viniculture with them – and thus the wine industry was born in South Africa. The country is known around the world not only for its vintages – which are delightful – but for the jaw-dropping beauty of its famed Winelands, as well. Enjoy the fruits of this delicious region on the Cape Town extension to our famed Best of Africa: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana & Namibia adventure.
Surprisingly for France, Normandy, the focus of our popular France Culinary Delights: Paris to Normandy cruise, is not a wine-growing region. Apples are big , and during your voyage you’ll sip ciders and sample calvados apple brandy. However, you will enjoy French wines with dinner aboard ship, and we’ve scheduled a special wine-pairing dinner, presented by the ship’s maître d’, during which you’ll be served wines appropriate to each course of a specially prepared meal.