HOWARD'S SPANISH WINE TOUR 2017

Wine Tours Spain

Day By Day Itinerary
 


SEPTEMBER 02:  (Saturday) – Depart USA

 

SEPTEMBER 03:  (Sunday) SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

Arrival at Santiago airport.  After clearing simple immigration and customs formalities, you will be transferred to the Hotel NH Collection Santiago de Compostela.  Afternoon and evening free. 


Overnight in the Hotel NH Collection Santiago de Compostela.

 

SEPTEMBER 04:  (Monday) SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – BAIONA

After breakfast, we will take a short ride to visit the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela that has been the final destination for travelers on “The Way of the Cross” for centuries.  It is without doubt breathtaking in its size and glorious artwork, and a guide will provide a detailed explanation of its fascinating history.  Your ticket and guided tour are included. There will be plenty of time for lunch on your own before we depart for the ride to the Parador of Baiona where we will enjoy a wonderful dinner together.  Before dinner, together in the balcony and enjoy a lovely glass of wine.  The Parador is located on its own peninsula just a short walk from town and is one of the finest in all of Spain.


LUNCH ON YOUR OWN – DINNER IS INCLUDED


ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE PARADOR IN BAIONA


SEPTEMBER 5th (Tuesday) – After breakfast we have a short ride through the lovely countryside around the Galician estuaries to O Grove.  A chartered boat will then take us for a visit to one of the bateas (barges) moored in the river.  You won’t believe the size of the instantly harvested mussels that we will have for an appetizer.  Upon returning to the dock, we will drive to Restaurant Yayo Daporta, a Michelin starred restaurant in Cambados, for a sumptuous seafood lunch paired with the sommelier’s choice of regional wines.

After lunch we will return to the Parador.  Later in the afternoon you may want to take a short walk into town where you will find some lovely shops and fine seaside dining.

GOURMET LUNCH WITH WINE PAIRINGS INCLUDED – DINNER ON YOUR OWN                ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE PARADOR IN BAIONA



SEPTEMBER 6th (Wednesday) After breakfast we will depart for Ponferrada, but along the way we will stop for a winery tour, tasting and delicious lunch at Bodegas Do Campo in Ribadavia.  During your tour, you will see some exquisite architecture, beautiful landscapes and fine art.  You will come away with a deep regard for Spain’s culture and an in-depth knowledge of the wines of Northern Spain, but the visit to Bodegas Do Campo, I think, will be one of your most memorable experiences.  The Docampo family has updated a 400 year old farmhouse across from the winery, and it is here that we will enjoy our tasting and lunch.

Depending on the weather, you may have the experience of seeing the white grapes Godello, Treixadura, and Torontes being sorted and gently sent along their way to becoming wine. 

The growing region here is Ribeiro and the delicate flavors of these wonderful grapes are kept fresh and bright through cold fermentation and stainless steel finishing.  The winery also makes a delightfully soft, vibrantly fruity red wine that also is finished in stainless steel.

Lunch will include some very special dishes for which Galicia is most famous and the table will overflow with wonderful aromas and sumptuous food and wine.

Here you see Jamon Iberico being served at our banquet’s beginning.  Next are pictures taken in the dining room and lounge area, and finally Jeronimo Docampo, his son Antero and myself talking about the quality of the harvest.

After lunch the road will take us through some of Spain’s most glorious scenery as we travel through the wine growing region of Ribera Sacra finishing in the lovely village of Ponferrada.

LUNCH IS INCLUDED   DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE HOTEL AROI PONFERRADA



SEPTEMBER 07:  (Thursday) PONFERRADA - LEON

Breakfast at the hotel.  Today we will enjoy a tasting and vineyard visit at Casar de Burbia in Carracedelo, Bierzo.  The Mencia wines made here are some of the best in the entire region because the vineyards from which they come were so meticulously chosen by Isidro Bello’s grandfather.  Some of the root stock of these vines is over 100 years old.  There is great power in them and even the Penin Guide which is Spain’s most prestigious wine publication has given them extremely high praise.  The winery is small and “work a day” but the tractor ride to the vineyards will give you a unique perspective on why the quality is so high.  At the winery we will enjoy a cellar tasting from the barrels and al fresco lunch.

After lunch we will travel to Leon. Once the center of a great kingdom, it is today a uniquely Spanish town with one of the most exquisite cathedrals in all of Spain.  In this cathedral, you will see an array of stained glass windows dating from the 13th century soaring to over 100 feet whose vibrant colors have survived 8 centuries.  One of Gaudi’s earliest buildings is located here. Enjoy a stroll through the lovely shopping areas and outdoor cafes and take pleasure in a quiet afternoon on your own.  This Parador was once a 16th century monastery where different artists have immortalized a yesterday whose strength can be seen in the stone and wood of this “living museum” of a hotel. 

This Parador was once a 16th century monastery where different artists have immortalized a yesterday whose strength can be seen in the stone and wood of this “living museum” of a hotel.  You can check out the web site for more photos.


LUNCH IS INCLUDED DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE PARADOR OF LEON


SEPTEMBER 08:  (Friday) LEON – COMILLAS - SANTILLANA DEL MAR – CASTRO URDIALES – BILBAO

After breakfast we will travel to Bilbao and along the way we will stop at two of the most picturesque towns on the tour:  Castro Urdiales and Santillana del Mar.  Castro Urdiales is a seaside village where we will have time to visit the soothingly beautiful harbor and a lovely cathedral.   Santillana del Mar, where we will stop for lunch on our own, is a perfectly preserved medieval village that Jean-Paul Sartre called “the prettiest village in Spain”.  Wander through this lovely village making sure to notice the tiny terraces adorned with family crests and lovely flowers.  Visit the monastery and enjoy lunch in the Parador or one of the many other cafés that line the streets.  The quality and style of Spanish kitchens where young chefs prepare ground breaking menus is extraordinary, and in Bilbao and San Sebastian you will find some of the finest cuisine in the country.  Dining on your own in this city can include some of the most exquisitely prepared dishes in Michelin “starred” restaurants that you will ever experience or simple “pintxos” at a more moderate price.  The restaurant in the Guggenheim itself, Bistro Guggenheim, is a one star Michelin restaurant.  At the Silken Gran Domine, one of the finest hotels in the Basque country, you will enjoy luxuriously modern accommodations directly across the street from the Guggenheim, and a short walk along the river to many fine shops and superb restaurants in the old town.  It is ranked #1 on Trip Advisor’s hotels in Bilbao. 

LUNCH AND DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE SILKEN GRAN DOMINE IN BILBAO



       WELCOME TO SPAIN’S BASQUE COUNTRY

 

The quality and style of Spanish kitchens where young chefs prepare ground breaking menus is extraordinary, and in Bilbao and San Sebastian you will find some of the finest cuisine in the country.  Dining on your own in this city can include some of the most exquisitely prepared dishes in Michelin “starred” restaurants that you will ever experience or simple “pintxos” at a more moderate price.  The restaurant in the Guggenheim itself, Bistro Guggenheim, is a one star Michelin restaurant.

At the Silken Gran Domine, one of the finest hotels in the Basque country, you will enjoy luxuriously modern accommodations directly across the street from the Guggenheim, and a short walk along the river to many fine shops and superb restaurants in the old town.  It is ranked #1 on Trip Advisor’s hotels in Bilbao.


LUNCH AND DINNER ON YOUR OWN


  ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE SILKEN GRAN DOMINE BILBAO


SEPTEMBER 09:  (Saturday) BILBAO – HONDARRIBIA - BILBAO

After breakfast we will travel to Bodegas Hiruzta, a producer of Getariako Txakolina in the Basque village of Hondarribia.  Hiruzta is a very new and special addition to the producers whom I am privileged to represent.  Their crisp white wines have won very special recognition from the wine press and their beautiful winery is set amid the rolling hills just south of the town which gave its name to the grape from which the wines are produced, Hondarrabi Zuri.  We’ll visit the modern winery and enjoy an alfresco tasting and tapas.  After our visit and tasting we will have time to enjoy a lunch and a walk through the lovely seaside town of Hondarribia before we travel back to Bilbao for our guided tour of the Guggenheim Museum.  Instantly hailed as the most important structure of its time and “…a magnificent example of the most ground breaking architecture to have come out of the 20th Century.  It is an innovatively designed architectural landmark that creates a seductive backdrop for the exhibition of modern art.”  Your ticket and guided tour are included in the tour cost.  Overnight at the Hotel Silken Gran Domine.

 

LUNCH IS INCLUDED - DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE SILKEN GRAN DOMINE IN BILBAO

SEPTEMBER 10:  (Sunday) BILBAO

Breakfast at the hotel.  One of the most persistent comments from last year’s trip was the need for a “day off”.  A day with nothing on the schedule; a day to relax and have a late breakfast, stroll through the Old Quarter of Bilbao or take a short bus ride to San Sebastian and re-visit this lovely city filled with pintxos  bars and wonderful shopping.  Antonio, our Spanish guide, and I can help with any suggestions you might need.  This will be a leisurely day, so you can savor a particularly sumptuous and vast breakfast buffet in the terrace café on the hotel’s upper floor shown below at a more leisurely pace. 

 

LUNCH AT ASADOR ETXEBARRI, INCLUDING ROUND TRIP TRANSFERS, ONE OF THE TOP 15 RESTAURANTS IN THE WORLD IS AN OPTIONAL EXPERIENCE.




                                     ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE SILKEN GRAN DOMINE IN BILBAO


This will be a leisurely day, so you can take a more relaxed approach to rising.  But don’t sleep too late!!  A particularly sumptuous and vast breakfast buffet is served in the terrace café on the hotel’s upper floor shown below.

SEPTEMBER 11:  (Monday) BILBAO – SAN SEBASTIAN - HARO

After breakfast you will be able to don your “chef’s hat” as we travel to a “Txoko” in San Sebastian and participate in a gastronomical class which will include a delicious lunch that some of you can help prepare.  After lunch there will be plenty of time to stroll through San Sebasitan before we travel on to Haro for our stay at Los Austinos and winery visit in the wine producing region of Rioja.  Los Agustinos was a priory founded in 1373 and, before being made over into a hotel, it was a military garrison, a hospital, a school and a prison!  It is an amazing building with old fashioned richness of décor and just enough modern touches to make for a perfect stay. 

LUNCH AND DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT LOS AGUSTINOS HOTEL IN HARO

 

Los Agustinos was a priory founded in 1373 and, before being made over into a hotel, it was a military garrison, a hospital, a school and a prison!  It is an amazing building with old fashioned richness of décor and just enough modern touches to make for a perfect stay.


SEPTEMBER 12:  (Tuesday) HARO

After breakfast we will have only a short ride to the world famous Bodega and vineyards of Vina Tondonia in Haro where we will enjoy a tour of the winery, and wine tasting.  We will return to the hotel after the visit.  Over 137 years, generations of the Lopez de Heredia have been devoted to the purpose of achieving exceptonal wines, masterpieces of craftsmanship and refinement, capable of emulating the most famous in the world; a longing that the founder of the winery Don Rafael Lopez de Heredia y Lanteta, defined in the 19th century as the ‘Supreme Rioja’. 


“Over 137 years, generations of the Lopez de Heredia have been devoted to the purpose of achieving exceptonal wines, masterpieces of craftsmanship and refinement, capable of emulating the most famous in the world; a longing that the founder of the winery Don Rafael Lopez de Heredia y Lanteta, defined in the 19th century as the ‘Supreme Rioja’”


LUNCH AND DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT LOS AGUSTINOS HOTEL IN HARO


SEPTEMBER 13TH (Wednesday) After a delicious buffet breakfast, we will travel to Bodegas Tamaral in the Pesquera de Duero sub-region of Ribera del Duero. With vineyards that date back over 100 years at over 2700 feet, you will tour the winery and taste a range of magnificent wines.  This is the first bodega that I visited in Spain 13 years ago.  I was impressed then and I am even more impressed now.  Their wines are sumptuously rich and full of the smoke and earth tones that make wines from this region so glorious.  In addition to their grand red wines, you will be able to taste a delightful rosé and a magnificent white wine from Rueda, another nearby area of production where the winery has over has 100 year old Verdejo vines.  Wine & Spirits Magazine, The Wine Advocate, and Stephen Tanzer have given these wines superb ratings!  The Wine Spectator has recently counted the Crianza as one of the top 10 Spanish wine finds and given it 92 points.

After the tour we will travel to Burgos.  At an elevation of over 2800 feet, Burgos is situated at a crossroad along the Camino de Santiago, the historic “Way of the Cross”.  The cathedral in Burgos was begun in 1226 and not finished until 1493!  It has been declared a “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO and is one of the most extraordinary in all of Spain.  In its treasure room can be found a 15th century monstrance that is said to be gilded with gold brought from the New World by Columbus.  Here you will also find the tomb of El Cid, Spain’s greatest national hero.

 Enjoy an afternoon stroll through town where you will find a wonderful array of tapas restaurants from which to choose for dinner.

We will stay at the magnificent Palacio de la Merced, a restored 16th century monastery.  It’s elegantly appointed rooms are only a 2 minute walk from the historic center of the city.

 

LUNCH AND DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE NH-PALACIO DE LA MERCED, BURGOS


SEPTEMBER 14:  (Thursday) BURGOS

After breakfast we will travel to Bodegas Valduero for a tour of the cellars, a wine tasting and lunch.  A multi-course gourmet lunch will be served with meticulously paired wines.  These wines have all received 90 points or higher from Robert Parker, and your tasting and vineyard tour will be guided by Yolanda Viadero, the winemaker and daughter of the winery owner, and/or the export manager.  

Here you see Carolina and Yolanda Viadero; the incredible man-made hill to hold their aging cellars; and some of the French oak barrels used for aging.

Last year, our lunch at Bodegas Valduero was one of the highlights of the trip.  The whole range of their wines were opened and paired with an incredible lunch served at the winery.  The guests enjoyed the wines so much that they ordered several cases of wine which they purchased when they returned to the U.S.  In fact, there is a very special barrel program that you will learn about. We will then travel to back to Burgos to enjoy the rest of the day on your own. 

LUNCH IS INCLUDED - DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE NH-PALACIO DE LA MERCED, BURGOS

 

SEPTEMBER 15:  (Friday) BURGOS – PESQUERA DEL DUERO –LERMA - BURGOS

 After breakfast we will travel to Pedrosa de Duero  for a tour of the fabulous  cellars of Pago de los Capellanes and a tasting  of an extraordinary group of wines.   

In the 14th century, a chaplainry existed in the village of Pedrosa de Duero just 1 mile away.  The villagers donated small parcels of land to the chaplains for their work and, over time, these holdings became quite large.  About 500 years later these lands were given to the village, but they retained the name “Land of the Chaplains”.   The present owner, Paco Rodero, purchased the lands from the village and built a magnificent winery using the finest

equipment and the most perfect cooperage to make some of Ribera del Duero's finest wines.  Roger Mathews, the export director and Julio, the assistant wine maker will lead the tour and the tasting.

These wines have consistently received extraordinarily high praise from the world’s wine press and in the past have been among those wines on the Wine Spectator Magazine’s “Top 100” list.  In 2012 this winery was “Winery of the year” for Wine & Spirits Magazine. Afterwards we will return to Burgos where you will be free to enjoy more of the city’s charm.

After our visit, we will travel just a very short distance to Roa where we will enjoy a lunch at Restaurant Raiz.  Lamb done in a wood fired brick oven will be the highlight of your meal here.

LUNCH IS INCLUDED - DINNER ON YOUR OWN


HOTEL NH-PALACIO DE LA MERCED, BURGOS


SEPTEMBER 16:  (Saturday) BURGOS - MADRID

After breakfast we will depart for Madrid.  We will arrive at one of the world’s foremost hotels, The Ritz.  It has been a landmark since 1910 when it was ordered to be built under the direction of King Alfonso XIII.  The focus is on style and as one might expect impeccable service. It is located across the street from Retiro Park and the Prado Museum.   The Reina Sofia – home to Picasso’s Guernica - and the Thyssen Bornemisza museums are a short walk away.

LUNCH AND DINNER ON YOUR OWN

 

SEPTEMBER 17:  (Sunday) MADRID

 Free day in Madrid to enjoy the museums, shop, visit the Royal Palace, throw caution to the wind and take a Segway tour, or watch Flamenco dancing after a visit to the raucous Plaza Mayor.  

Before you depart the hotel for dinner we will enjoy a lovely glass of wine together in the most elegant garden in the world and have a chance to share our experiences.


LUNCH AND DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE RITZ HOTEL, MADRID


SEPTEMBER 18TH (Monday) – After a breakfast transfer you will need to make arrangements for transfer to the airport for your return flight.  Sun Bird Travel can assist you in making these arrangements.

 *********


Merrill Dilley of Sun Bird Travel, Marcos Roel of Petrabax Tours and I have worked long and hard to organize a truly memorable experience for you. 

Antonio Abastas, our Spanish guide, and I will work even harder during the tour to make certain that you will learn something about Spain and its heritage every day. 

I tried to keep the price as low as possible while keeping the quality of the hotels at the highest level.  At the end of the day, the difference between top quality hotel accommodations and those of lesser quality was very small, and I know from my own travel experiences that it is the little touches of elegance and style that will forever remain in your memory of the trip. 

I truly hope you can join me, because the only thing I enjoy more than a glass of wine is sharing the experience with people who enjoy it just as much as I do.


PRICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE


LAND ONLY PRICE $4839.00 PER PERSON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY


SINGLE SUPPLEMENT ADD $1509.00


A DEPOSIT OF $400 PER PERSON IS REQUIRED TO SECURE YOUR PLACE

SPACE IS EXTREMELY LIMITED AND RESERVATIONS WILL BE TAKEN ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS FOR ONLY TWENTY PEOPLE. DEPOSITS SHOULD BE RECEIVED BY OCTOBER 15, 2016.   FINAL PAYMENT IS DUE BY MARCH 1,2017


PRICING IS BASED UPON THE CURRENT EXCHANGE RATE

AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE UNTIL FINAL PAYMENTS ARE MADE.  


See links for Terms and Conditions and for optional Travel Insurance.




 

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Baggage handling throughout the trip
  • Transfers from the airport SCQ to the NH hotel Santiago de Compostela.
  • Accommodations at all hotels with full breakfast daily
  • Non-smoking rooms will be standard
  • 1 dinner and 5 lunches
  • Entry fees and guide’s fees for the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral and the Guggenheim Museum
  • A large, deluxe air conditioned coach throughout the trip with plenty of room to spread out and relax during your rides
  • Spanish tour guide fluent in English as well
  • Specially prepared handouts for each guest to help you with a more in-depth understanding of Spanish wines and culture

 

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:

  • Travel insurance – Purchase within 10 days of deposit to assure full refund – Call Merrill at Sun Bird Travel for details
  • Air fare
  • If paying by credit card there is an additional charge of 3.5%
  • Tips for the Spanish tour guide and bus driver

 

AS MUCH AS WE TRY TO ASSURE THAT ALL ARRANGEMENTS ARE SOLIDLY MADE BEFOREHAND, CHANGES BEYOND OUR CONTROL MAY OCCUR AT THE LAST MINUTE. 

DUE TO THE ROUGH TERRAIN, STEPS, AND UNEVEN, COBBLESTONE PAVED STREETS, THOSE WHO HAVE DIFFICULTY WALKING MAY NOT BE ABLE TO ENJOY ALL ASPECTS OF THIS TOUR.

 

Checks should be made payable to:


Sun Bird Travel Co. and mailed to


Sun Bird Travel Co. 


11983 Tamiami Trail N. #108


Naples, Florida 34110


Contact for any questions you may have:


Howard Friedman (410) 956-2446 or [email protected]


Merrill Dilley - Sun Bird Travel (239) 430-2000 


Or [email protected]



CANCELLATION POLICY

The following scale of charges will apply when cancellation notice occurs 

90-40 days 25%

39-22 days 50%

21-08 days 70%

07-03 days 85%

Less than 3 days 100%



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