HOWARD'S SPANISH WINE TOUR 2018


Wine Tours Spain

Day By Day Itinerary
 

SEPTEMBER 22nd  (Saturday) – Depart USA


SEPTEMBER 23RD (Sunday) - Arrive Santiago de Compostela.  Transfer to Hotel NH Collection.  The rest of the day is at leisure.


SEPTEMBER 24th (Monday) 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, its architecture and glorious artwork.  Your ticket and guided tour are included. There will be plenty of time for lunch before we depart for the ride to the Parador of Baiona where later we will enjoy a cocktail hour and wonderful dinner together.  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 25th (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 freshly harvested mussels that we will have as an appetizer.  Upon returning to the dock, we will drive to Restaurant Yayo Daporta, a Michelin starred restaurant in Cambados, for a sumptuous multi-course 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 walk into town where you will find some lovely shops and fine seaside dining if your still hungry!


GOURMET LUNCH WITH WINE PAIRINGS INCLUDED – DINNER ON YOUR OWN


                ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE PARADOR IN BAIONA


SEPTEMBER 26th (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 27th– (Thursday) 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.

 




The cathedral is a must see but this lovely town is a pleasure to walk through and enjoy a bit of tapas and glass of wine in the Plaza Mayor.


WINE TASTING AND LUNCH ARE INCLUDED - DINNER ON YOUR OWN

ACCOMMODATIONS AT HOTEL AC LEON SAN ANTONIO

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER 28th (Friday) 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, 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. 



       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.

Guggenheim

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.




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.  We will have some wonderful breakfast buffets during our journey, but none match the incredible number of delicious dishes that you will find here.  The setting – on one of the top floors of the hotel – is also a place to reward yourself and allow plenty of time for a relaxing.


LUNCH AND DINNER ON YOUR OWN


  ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE SILKEN GRAN DOMINE BILBAO


SEPTEMBER 29th (Saturday) - 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 that 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 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.


WINE TASTING INCLUDED


LUNCH AND DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE SILKEN GRAN DOMINE IN BILBAO



 

SEPTEMBER 30th (Sunday) – Today is 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 to 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.


LUNCH AT ASADOR ETXEBARRI ONE OF THE TOP 10 RESTAURANTS IN THE WORLD IS AN


OPTIONAL EXPERIENCE IF YOU CHOOSE TO RELAX WITH A 4 HOUR LUNCH!!


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 AND DINNER ON YOUR OWN – SILKEN GRAN DOMINE HOTEL


OCTOBER 1st (Monday) - After breakfast you will be able to don your “chef’s hat” as we travel to a “Txako” 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 IS INCLUDED - DINNER ON YOUR OWN


 LOS AGUSTINOS HOTEL


OCTOBER 2nd (Tuesday) – After breakfast we will have only a short ride to the world famous Bodega and vineyards of Bodegas Muga in Haro where we will enjoy a tour of the winery, and wine tasting.  We will return to the hotel after the visit.

Founded in 1932, Bodegas Muga has become a world-wide standard for superb Rioja wine produced in the old ways with new touches to enhance it’s traditional methods.  It’s Prado Eneo is one of Rioja’s finest wines and it’s stunning barrel fermented white wine is an unique blend of Mavasia and Viura.

WINE TASTING INCLUDED - LUNCH AND DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT LOS AGUSTINOS HOTEL IN HARO



OCTOBER 3rd (Wednesday) -We will visit the vineyards which are the very special heritage of Javier Sanz’ wines and we will enjoy a tapas lunch at the winery.

 

Spanish red wines have dominated the country’s presence in the U.S. market for many years, but lately new winemaking techniques and resurrection of indigenous clones long absent from producer’s references have markedly changed that view of the Spanish wine industry.  It is an interesting footnote to the production of white wine in the DO of Rueda that it was with the dedication of the director of Marques de Riscal and his work with a French Oenologist, Emile Peynaud that the production of high quality wine from Verdejo – Rueda’s principle grape – began.

At Bodegas Javier Sanz, this dedication to the extraordinary quality of wine that could be produced

in Rueda from modern viticulture practices is it’s mantra.  Painstaking work in the vineyards to

ensure the best quality grapes and the inclination to intervene as little as possible in the natural

wine making process have assured the production of Verdejo with the delicate, crisp gooseberry flavors for which it is famous.



Javier Sanz has dedicated his winery to the production of wines from pre-philloxera vines and the recovery of varieties that have almost become extinct.  His Malcorta wines are the culmination of this effort and represent a style of Rueda white wine that but for his interest would have disappeared.

A fabulous visit to both the original and the new wineries has been arranged with a tasting of the superb quality Rueda produced there.  We will visit the vineyards which are the very special heritage of Javier Sanz’ wines and we will enjoy a tapas lunch at thw winery.


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.        


OCTOBER 4th -  (Thursday) 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. 

 

In past years, 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 AND WINE TASTING ARE INCLUDED - DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE NH-PALACIO DE LA MERCED, BURGOS



OCTOBER 5th - (Friday)  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 and again in 2016 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 AND WINE TASTING ARE INCLUDED - DINNER ON YOUR OWN


HOTEL NH-PALACIO DE LA MERCED, BURGOS


OCTOBER 6TH (Saturday) After breakfast we will head south on the final leg of the tour which ends in Madrid.  On the way, we will make an interim stop in Segovia.  The 2000 year old aqueduct and the Jewish Quarter can be visited and there will be time for lunch before we leave for Madrid. 

There we will arrive at one of the world’s foremost hotels, The Hotel Wellington.


The Wellington is by any standard an extraordinary hotel.  This elegant 5 star hotel in the heart of the sophisticated Salamanca shopping area of Madrid exemplifies the ability to frame uniquely modern dining experiences with the highest of old world excellence of service and elegance of setting.  Enjoy lunch, dinner, an evening cocktail or even a relaxing swim on the Wellington Terrace. The Kabuki Wellington offers the best sushi in Madrid and is the proud recipient of a Michelin star.  The Goizeko Wellington is the result of “a culinary union between Jose Santos and Chef Abel Maretlloti and serves innovative and seasonal Basque Haute Cuisine.” 

LUNCH AND DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE WELLINGTON HOTEL, MADRID


OCTOBER 7TH (Sunday) 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.  

 LUNCH AND DINNER ON YOUR OWN


ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE WELLINGTON HOTEL, MADRID

 

OCTOBER 8TH (Monday) – After a breakfast you will need to make arrangements for transfer to the airport for your return flight.  Merrill Dilley of Sun Bird Travel and I can help you with any additional arrangements.


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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.


 

LAND ONLY PRICE $5049.00 PER PERSON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY


SINGLE SUPPLEMENT ADD $1490.00


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, 2017.   FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY MARCH 1, 2018.


PRICING IS BASED UPON THE CURRENT EXCHANGE RATE AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE UNTIL FINAL PAYMENTS ARE MADE. 



Please see the TERMS AND CONDITIONS tab.

 

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Baggage handling throughout the trip
  • Accommodations at all hotels with full breakfast daily
  • Non-smoking rooms will be standard
  • 1 dinner and 6 lunches (lunches will include fine wine pairings)
  • Wine tastings at 7 different wineries
  • 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 and for each guest to more fully explain the wines and the Spanish wine 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 (240) 401-9342 or hfriedo@verizon.net


Merrill Dilley, Sun Bird Travel (239) 430-2000 Or merrill.sunbird@gmail.com



The following scale of charges will apply when cancellation notice occurs within 90 days of tour departure


90-40 days  25%

39-22 days 50%

21-8 days 70%

7-3 days 85%

later 100%


We recommend travel insurance.




                                                                                           

                                        

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