Red, white, sparkling, rose. Big glass, small glass, as a compliment to dinner or a tipple to have with dessert... Everyone has their wine preferences. Getting to know your wines and grapes, and learning to distinguish between different notes and flavours is a genuine skill (and can provide an ice breaker at parties)!
So why not take the time to visit some of the finest wineries and vineyards in the world during your visit to the lakes and mountains this summer? Inghams have compiled this nifty little guide to some of the loveliest, most unique and traditional wine tours around Europe.
The Ugolini family have owned the land and the vineyards in the Lake Garda area for many years. It was roughly 10 years ago when Giambattista, the latest member of the family to take over the business, saw the potential the grounds had to make some remarkable wines.
They now produce a variety of Valpolicella wines made up of a variety of grapes including Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Oseleta, depending on the wine.
The Amarone Della Valpolicella is a firm favourite, ruby in colour and you should be able to pick up cherry notes with a slight cinnamon spice. This wine can be paired with red meats and game or alternatively it can be enjoyed on its own as the sun goes down.
You can also visit the Bardolino Wine Festival which is an annual event in October where you can sample an array of local wines and cuisine alongside live music and other festivities.
Inghams recommends: You will find the Catullo Hotel in the heart of the Bardolino. The hotel is renowned for its fantastic food and warm welcome, a great way to start your Italian holiday!
Less a wine tour and more a celebration of all things vino. Nonetheless, this is a necessary experience for all wine connoisseurs.
The Bardolino Wine Festival, which takes place in late September and occasionally early October, celebrates the local grape harvest. The celebration includes the Enoteca, where expert sommeliers introduce visitors to the best Italian wines.
The festivities which take place along the magnificent Bardolino lakeside promenade includes music, dancing and fireworks. Not only does it provide ample opportunity to sample the many delightful, local wines, such as the award winning Bardolino Superiore, but you can also try the many fabulous regional dishes.
Inghams recommends: The 4 star Hotel Kriss Internazionale is situated directly on the lakeside promenade.
This vineyard is located in the Morenici hills. It was founded in 1959, but production of these high quality wines didn’t start until 1963.
The wines produced here benefit from the Mediterranean micro-climate found on Lake Garda, therefore the quality of the grapes is very high which is something the owners and producers are keen to keep as a focus.
This makes the wines more special as they selectively pick grapes to create a more superior flavour. The wines created at the Cantina are typically light and fresh and should be drunk young, they also offer a great range of sparkling wines to enjoy on a hot summers evening.
Inghams recommends: In the resort of Gardone Rivieria we have one of our most popular Chalet Hotels, the Hotel Galeazzi.
Many people don’t know about the fantastic wines on offer in Slovenia due to the fact that they aren’t often exported to the UK. It could be argued that they wish to keep their treasures for themselves, but as more and more people taste these wines, the demand will no doubt increase! We offer a 3 or 4 day wine tours that you can conveniently add on to your holiday.
Starting at the Goriška Brda region. Many describe this area as the “Tuscany of Slovenia” and it’s not surprising. The vineyard lined hillsides are a striking resemblance to ones that you would find in Italy.
In Goriška Brda, wine making is considered a very serious practice and this type of commitment and passion can be tasted in every drop. You will also be given the opportunity to head to the village of Smartno and visit a lookout tower where you will be able to see from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea.
Next day you will visit the Vipava Valley, where wine making is a big part of the local community. Not only are there some great large wine producers, but also there is an abundance of smaller wineries located higher up in the hills.
You’ll stop at the local village of Zalosce to pick up your farmers picnic for the day before you are taken on a picturesque walk through the vineyards and then shortly returning to the village for a wine tasting.
On the last day of the tour you visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Skocjan Caves to sample the famous Teran mineral wine.
The Karst region wine producers tend to like to keep things local, producing smaller batches to the other areas. Due to the rich limestone in the regional soils you may find a slightly different taste to the wines you sample. Another difference you will find is that some of the cellars are carved into the caves which provide a really nice, quirky touch to the tour.
Inghams recommends: The Hotel Kompas is roughly 5 minutes walk out of town and has a fantastic outdoor terrace where you can enjoy stunning views over Lake Bled and the historical Bled castle.
If you are staying with us in Lake Como you will have the opportunity to visit the Cantina Follie, which is a very quaint winery set in a cave close to the shores of Lake Como.
You will be greeted by Joost and Deborah who own the winery where they will take you on a brief tour of their cellar. Then make your way to the sunny terrace and you sample an array of local wines all in a very peaceful tranquil setting.
Local sommeliers alongside Joost and his wife will spend time explaining each wine, its provenance, the creation process and the different notes you should be picking up.
Inghams recommends: The Bazonni in Tremezzo has a modern appearance from the outside but a lovely traditional décor on the inside. It also boasts great value for money as the hotel offers free packed lunches daily.
The Trasimeno region is steeped in history of winemaking, from the lake to the Taupo River, there is an array of routes you can take to discover different wineries.
The locals believe in senses and therefore find that to experience the wine you must immerse yourself in the nature and surroundings. Dating back thousands of years to the Estruscans and Romans, winemaking is a practice which has descended through generations of locals, passing on their wisdom to their ancestors.
The region is situated in an optimum grape growing environment. There are a variety of reds, whites, rose and sparkling wines to sample throughout the hills, so we’re sure there will be something to suit your taste!
Inghams recommends: The Club Hotel Villa Paradiso is a popular choice for families as it has a great friendly environment and large pool. The full board basis and free local drinks makes it very easy to relax and enjoy your time whilst on holiday. The local wine routes can be explored on foot, by bike or car, thereby making it a perfect fun day out for the family.
The wines produced in the Merano area have often been described as unique. This is mainly due to the northern alpine range mixed with the southern Mediterranean temperatures. The height of the surrounding mountains protect the vineyards from the cold winds whereas the valley allows access for warmer temperatures to push through, it’s like a giant wind breaker!
It is believed the wine reflects the attitudes and personalities of the local people, it’s the elegance of the north missed with the vigour of the south, described as “the wisdom of mountain folk and the passion of the dolce vita.”
What does this mean for the wines? Well, it means you get some really strong, full bodied red wines and then some more fun and fresh white wines. Best of both worlds!
Inghams recommends: The fabulous five star Mignon Park Hotel is run by the Amort family and they are very proud of the establishment they manage and rightly so. The hotel has also recently added a new rooftop terrace with spa pool!