How did you find your way into the world of viticulture and wine tourism?
That is an important question! My love for wine started when I was very young and it grew more and more over the years, so I decided to enroll for a Sommelier Course in the Zurich area where we live. Over the period of 3 years, I really learnt a lot about wine and the wine world. When I finished, I understood how little I actually knew about wine before starting the studies. During the course, we learned a lot about the different wine regions and we organized a wine tour. Being there in this interesting wine region – grabbing the soil, touching the leaves, getting information about the territory, the climate, the grapes, the production methods and philosophy of the wine makers – we started to understand the whole picture. And then, tasting the wines with all this knowledge acquired, we could appreciate the wines much more.
Do you have typical clients for your Wine Tours?
Most of our clients are passionate about wine and want to learn more about wine. They appreciate great quality wines and enjoy unique experiences during our wine excursions. Singles, as well as couples or a group of friends, are joining these wine exclusive wine tours. Our wine enthusiasts can choose from a wide range of tours during the year. In case someone wants to have a tailor-made Tour exclusively designed for his group, then of course it is our pleasure to design this trip according to this specific and unique needs.
Can you tell us a bit more about the story behind Gourmet Wine Travel?
Several years ago, I had a break through that life has more meaning than just working and making money. I decided to follow my passion of wine and started the company “Gourmet Wine Travel Ltd.”
Our mission is to take wine lovers to the most fascinating wine regions of the world and have the best experience of their lives.
What do you think makes Gourmet Wine Travel so special for your clients?
There are many unique benefits that Gourmet Wine Travel offers. To ensure that our guests will have the most memorable experiences, all of the wineries that we visit must past our strict selection criteria. Some examples of our criteria are; that they must produce great quality wines; have a great customer service; are established with a great legacy; and they are set in a convenient and beautiful location.
We offer our guests the opportunity to taste and learn about wines at the source. They will get all the information and hear the story behind the wine and vineyards directly from the wine producers. The hotels our guests stay at are 4 or 5-star hotels. Most of our wine tours are either with half-board or full board. We are taking care of essential things, i.e. transportation, meals, etc. which means that our guests can enjoy the tour from the moment they arrive.
Our tours also create excellent opportunities for our clients to connect and make new friends. This show proof to be an added value as many of our single guests found their partners at our tours.
Can you tell us a bit about what you’ve been working on recently?
At the end of May we had an exclusive tour to Germany. The guests discovered Germany’s wine regions, the winery “von Othegraven” of television show master Günter Jauch and other top wineries. We tasted lots of exciting wines, especially Riesling and Pinot Noir. All of us experienced unforgettable moments during this group trip and enjoyed a great dinner at Germany’s best restaurant, Victors Fine Dining by Christian Bau.
In July, we had our “Gourmet Wine Tasting SUMMER PARTY” in Zurich. More than 50 guests joined us. Everyone enjoyed selected wines, tapas and live music by the amazing duo, Chasing Summer with Tammy Rochelle & Joseph Bamber from America. They stopped for us in Zurich during their 2018 European Summer Concert Tour.
A couple of amazing Wine Tours will follow during the autumn season. We are already preparing two new tours for next year. We will discover Northern Greece from 02.04. – 06.04.19 and the Veneto region in Italy from 10.04. – 14.04.19. Please contact us for more information.
What do you most enjoy about working in the wine travel business?
What I enjoy most, is travelling to great places in the world, having access to Top Wineries and tasting outstanding wines. What has given me even more pleasure is sharing these experiences with my clients. It makes me happy to see that my clients enhance their wine knowledge, enjoy themselves and make new connections.
We have members from all corners of the world, including Japan, Canada, Georgia, Switzerland, Greece, Italy and many other countries. I am grateful to be able to provide once-in-a-lifetime-experiences.
Can you tell me four of your favourite tours available at Gourmet Wine Travel? – and why?
Of course every tour is one of our favourites. Out of all favourites, the four best ones include;
our excursion to Georgia from 02.10. – 08.10.2018. Georgia is considered the “cradle of wine” with a wine-growing tradition that dates back over 8,000 years. In Georgia, traditionally the wine is produced in a clay amphora (Qvevri). The ancient tradition of Qvevri wine production in Georgia has been recognized by UNESCO as a very important intangible cultural heritage in 2013. Since the wine journalist Alice Feiring put Georgian wines on the TOP 10 Forbes wine list more than a year ago, the attention for the small country east of the Black Sea has risen sharply. Nevertheless, Georgia is still largely unknown to us. This is understandable, because without speaking Georgian or Russian the individual tourist can hardly travel this country. Great food and wine, places of rich culture and an incredible hospitality are the main things to make this trip one of our favourites.
The second one will lead you to Porto and Douro from 28.10. – 01.11.18. Porto and Douro is the new hottest destination in Europe, one of the UNESCO world heritage wine regions and probably the most exciting wine region in Portugal. This country has a fantastic array of native grape varieties that produce unique, enticing aromas and flavors. The quality of the wines has risen sharply, because a quarter-century of investment, education, open-mindedness and flair has brought explosive change. Imagine you are sitting at the Douro River, holding a glass of these marvelous Douro Wines in your hand and enjoying the sunset with its golden and red coloured patches in the sky. This will stay in your memories forever.
Another favourite Goumet Wine Tour, where we can still accept some participants, is the South Africa Gourmet Wine Tour from 09.02. – 19.02.19 and this period is also harvesting time. I fell in love with South Africa and the wines a few years ago. Thanks to its dry, mountainous climate, this area is home to many world-class producers and is one of the World’s largest wine producers. South Africa attracts wine lovers with vintages that range from Sauvignon blanc or Chenin blanc to its famed red Pinotage. Unsurprisingly, the region is a hotbed of first-class restaurants as well. The nature, the culture, the wineries, the tastings and the lovely wine-food-pairing-experiences will give you a luxurious and unforgettable experience.
The fourth trip we offer is something a little different, and it is our best selling tour, called Sport – Yoga and Wine at Lake Iseo, coming up from 28.04. – 04.05.19 in a great location. Once a year we are pleased to invite guests on a sporty and culinary discovery journey to Lake Iseo and the wine region of Franciacorta in Lombardy/Northern Italy. This trip is for motivated beginners to advanced sports-lovers. Our goal is to enjoy sport and yoga as well as having a pleasure of testing the excellent Italian cuisine with a great selection of wines.
What interesting trends/themes are going on in the world of wine tourism?
The world of wine tourism is constantly changing . Let us give you two major examples. Firstly, the wine market is very competitive. To be able to succeed and stand out, the wine producer must not only have a great wine, but also deliver a great experience to their customers. What kind of experience could that be? For instance, nowadays there is more information available on how to select the right wine that compliments food.
At Gourmet Wine Travel, we do more then just giving information to our guests to read. We take them to the best places, where they can discover and understand how to pair wine and food. We would love to give this wine-food-pairing-experience directly in the winery, but, often, this is not possible and we have to change the place and have to go to the restaurants in order to give our clients this kind of experience. Luckily, in the last years, the wineries are also starting to offer such wine-food-pairing-lunches or dinners. The “Drinks International Wine Tourism Awards” has recognized the importance and award wineries that offer such kind of experience to their customers.
In South Africa the wineries are much more ahead in this matter. Thats also the reason “La Motte Wine Estate” from South Africa has won this prestigious award four times in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018. We are going to visit them at our next South Africa Gourmet Wine Tour.
The second topic we would like to focus on, is the increase in people’s online presence. They want to share great experiences about wineries, wines, food etc. with their friends instantly and not a couple of hours later. If a winery does not provide free internet access, it will loose the opportunity to promote the business. By offering free Internet access, the clients can post their pictures on social media platforms during their visit. This means free advertising and reaching out to new potential clients. The winery can also increase the credibility by asking for testimonials and reviews from their clients.
What is the next trip?
The next trip is to one of the world’s most popular wine regions. From Friday 31.08. until Sunday 02.09.2018 we will discover Champagne. You can visit the top champagne houses, like Moët & Chandon, Andre Clouet, Philipponnat and Nicolas Feuillatte and dive into the “Sparkling World of Champagne”. Discover Reims, the famous Notre-Dame cathedral and dine at the Michelin recommended restaurant. Register now for this unique gourmet wine journey.
How can interested people contact you?