Thank you for your interest in Wine Lovers Tours. Below you will find answers to some of the more common questions we often receive. If you do not find an answer to your question here or for any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

About Wine Lovers

Do you have to be a wine expert to go on these tours?

Absolutely not! As long as you like cuisine and wine, you’ll feel at home. After 34 years, we know how to satisfy the winemaker and the wine novice. Incidentally, we encourage a non-snob approach to wine.

Why are Vin's tours so reasonably priced compared to other advertised tours?

This is passion. Vin wants to help wine lovers realize their dreams. He removes all the hassles involved in arranging VIP tours and affords everyone the chance to visit wineries in a fashion usually reserved for wine notables and dignitaries. As proof of his success. Vin is proud that since 1998, over 80% of the participants were repeat travelers!

What kind of people go on Vin's tours?

All ages, from honeymooners (yes, people have used Vin’s tours for their honeymoon) to retirees, from wine makers to wine lovers, from physicians to lawyers, teachers, housewives, and businessmen – the one thing they have in common is a camaraderie and zest for unique experiences.

What about our accommodations?

We have been doing this a long time and we know what our customers expect. You are usually staying in one of the top hotels in the area. We’ve stayed in chateaux, converted abbeys, mountainside retreats, tents (haha – just kidding) or major hotels in bustling cities. All of the hotels we stay at have air-conditioning and most offer wifi and other amenities. If we haven’t already been to a city or region before, we typically conduct extensive research from our various sources and contacts and often scope out an area conducting site inspections in person before planning our trip to make sure they meet our high standards.

What about meals?

A long time ago Vin went from providing no meals to breakfast and one major meal each day. He felt he could provide a better cultural experience for participants than if left on their own. We have had lunch with Baron Ladoucette in his private dining room in Chateau Nozet; we’ve also had a cookout in a vineyard under the moonlight. We’ve eaten at 3 stars and at no stars. Everyone feels that the meals are one of the highlights of the tours. They trust Wine Lovers Tour’s judgement and expertise to come up with the best possible dining experiences within budget.

What do you like best about the tours?

The people who travel with us make our tours wonderful experiences. Each has a different background and they come from all areas of the country. We have literally made friends across the country and look forward each tour to renewing friendships and meeting new people – it’s all very exciting!

I'm not exactly a ``wine lover`` (my spouse loves wine) but I love good food and travel. Will I be bored?

Absolutely not. We have many tour participants who travel more for the experience or  getting off the beaten path or for the food and aren’t necessarily all wine experts. Many just love the fact that going to a winery often means passing by a quaint village or scenery they might never have ventured off to see on their own. While the tours are wine and food focused we try to provide a good balance of other activities and of course some sightseeing. These are regionally immersive trips. Our tours often include activities like city tours; visits to museums or ruins; cooking classes; olive oil tastings, visits to cheese or chocolate factories etc. We also provide a good amount of free time so after we help you get familiar with the area, you can go off on your own if you like.

Why should we travel with Wine Lovers Tours instead of planning our trip on our own?

You certainly can travel on your own. But, here are some reasons to consider why traveling with Wine Lovers Tours is better:
  • You don’t have to worry about drinking and driving
  • You don’t have to worry about directions, getting lost in the middle of nowhere or international road rules
  • You dont have to worry about getting stressed with your spouse about what you’re doing that day, making reservations or that you’re running late to return your rental car
  • There are some wineries that simply can’t or won’t accommodate individual walk-ins or non-industry professionals. Others will only let you visit the tasting rooms, not tour the facilities or dine on the estate. We get our guests into some of the top, most exclusive wineries that the average person might not be able to access otherwise. Meet and dine with the winemakers. Hear their stories. Walk the estate, take in the scenery and breath in the fresh air. How else might you have the opportunity to have lunch inside the family Chateau of Baron Ladoucette or down inside the chalk caves of Mumms Champagne.
  • Our tours are intended for people who don’t normally like group tours. The camaraderie is natural and we strive to foster an atmosphere of a family or group of friends traveling together.
  • Our tours are well balanced – you don’t leave at dawn and return at midnight. We also provide a good amount of free time so you can go off on your own if you like. .
  • Lastly, life is short. There really are so many details involved. Why not sit back and let us take care of every detail? We’ll get you there, off the beaten path with experiences that will last a lifetime…all without the worry or headaches.

What makes Wine Lovers Tours better than other tour companies?

These are experiential vacations, not some “run of the mill, stay in a new hotel every day & spend half your trip on a bus” type of your. Unlike many “factory tours,” we focus on a particular region or theme and immerse our guests – allowing them to unpack their bags and get intimately familiar with the regional culture, cuisines, history and wines as we branch out from our base. Also unlike some competitors, we like to keep our group sizes small and we craft each tour uniquely – we do not run the same exact itinerary twice. We don’t just visit wineries in a particular wine region, we tie in in the terroir, the regional cuisine, the history of a particular wine region. Enjoy the slow food experience…feel like a local…by the end of our tours, you’ll feel intimately familiar with the wines, the food and the people.

I am not ready to travel this year. Is there a way I can subscribe to receive information or reminders about future tours.

Yes, we offer a newsletter with fun stories, great wine and travel tips and narratives and photos of past tours. And yes… the occasional tour reminders and special offers as well. To sign up, you can use the form in the footer of every web page or opt in via our contact form.

I have a group of friends who would like to do a wine tour together. Will you plan and guide custom group tours?

Yes, if your group is larger than 10 travelers, we can offer to plan a custom wine tour. We have been doing this for many years, so there will be several things we will need to guide you through first (things you might not considered or which may not be practical for all of those in your group) as well as certain contractual conditions which will be required but we are happy to do so and extend a quote.

Booking & Payments

Do you offer any sales, promotions or coupons?

Yes, we periodically offer promotions on our tours. For example, we offer a incentive for tour alumni or those booking 6 months in advance. To see our current list off offers visit our promotions page.

Will you provide or assist with flight booking arrangements?

No. Many years ago we did handle air travel, but we found that people preferred to make their own flight arrangements as many will start their vacation prior to or after the tour with plans of their own. We of course provide the info you’ll need to facilitate your arrival and departure. We can often make suggestions in terms of arrivals and departure times or activities to do before or after the tour, however if is often best to book your airfare and other travel plans through your local travel agent (particularly if you have your own itinerary before or after the tour).

I do not have a travel agent, can you recommend one?

Yes, we often refer our clients to Traveland.net. Disclaimer, we do not receive any compensation from Traveland. Our recommendation comes purely from past experience and feedback from those we’ve referred. They are diligent, knowledgeable and have done an exceptional job in the past.

Can I book my tour online?

Yes you can! Simply head to the page for the tour you’re interested in, select the number of passengers and click ” Book Now.” You can then browse and choose to add other tours or proceed to checkout and finalize your booking. We provide numerous payment options for your convenience.

I have more questions and am not ready to book yet. Is there someone I can speak with?

Yes of course, you can contact us via email or call us at 800-256-0141 or +203-469-4218.

Do I have to book my tour online?

No, if you prefer, you can call us at  800-256-0141 (toll free US only) or +203-469-4218 and we can book you that way.

What payment options or forms of payment do you accept?

We accept check, credit card or Paypal. At checkout you will have the option to pay in full or pay a deposit to reserve your place. Reservations or deposits paid by check will be confirmed after the check has been successfully deposited. Those paying a deposit will be able to pay the remainder in full, later online by logging in. Alternately, you can arrange to pay the remainder manually in 2 subsequent payments (please contact us in that case). The final, remaining balance is due 120 days before departure.

Is your web site secure?

Yes, payments are processed using Paypal, a leader in secure online payments processing.
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What is the Wine Lovers Tours cancellation policy?

You will have the option to cancel your tour for a full refund minus an administrative fee up until 60 days before your departure. Consult our Terms & Conditions for more information.

Do you recommend trip insurance?

Yes, if for some reason you have to cancel your trip last minute, trip cancellation insurance can help reimburse you for the tour, airfare, and other costs. Some also offer expanded medical coverage. We recommend our customers check out InsureMyTrip.com. It offers a great comparison of multiple policies from multiple carriers and the option to book all from the same site. For more on travel insurance, check out our article here which explains it more in detail.

What is a single supplement and why is it sometimes required?

A single supplement is required when one person is traveling alone without a roommate or partner. Unfortunately, many hotels quote  prices based on double occupancy and as result so must we. This is often common practice on cruise lines. You will find the corresponding supplement cost specified on the tour page as well as when booking or on the invoice. Luckily, we do often offer promotions and incentives to make our tours affordable for everyone and which may help offset the supplement. Or…alternately…invite a friend to travel with you and be your roommate.

If I am traveling with a friend who will be my roommate, is the single supplement necessary?

No, the single supplement is only required when one is traveling and staying by oneself. You can book together or separately and let us know at the time of booking.

I am traveling alone, can you help me find a roommate for the tour?

This is not something we always do but if in the event 2 travelers are traveling by themselves, we may mention that one is interested in a roommate and ask the other if they would be interested in a roommate. If they both agree then the single supplements are refunded.

General Travel & Wine Questions

I plan on bringing back some wines from our visits. Do you have any suggestions?

What to buy:

Yes, sometimes it may be cheaper to buy wines direct at the winery, however in many cases the difference is negligible and is often not worth the hassle. Instead, as you will have to carry your wines on the trip and carry or ship your wines back home, we recommend trying to look for wines you enjoyed which are unavailable or harder to find back home.

How to get them home:

Remember you are not allowed to carry liquids over 3.4oz on planes, so you will have to either pack them in your suitcase, check them in as luggage, or ship them home. Many wineries will provide a box for a single wine, others may provide cartons for more than one bottle. For something like that the packaging is usually sufficient to pack in your suit case, though you may want to wrap them still in paper or a sheet of bubble wrap. If bringing back more than 3-4 wines, you may want to purchase a special wine carton here and bring it with you.

Customs limitations:

In the US, you are allowed to bring back 2 bottles duty free. That’s 4 bottles if you’re traveling as a couple. Bottles in excess of that may be subject to duty. As an example, in one case, after conducting 2 back to back tours to Italy, we brought back 32 wines. The total duty we were quoted for all of the remaining bottles was $6.00US.

Additional Resources:

You can read our 2 blog articles which cover this subject in more detail:
1) How to bring back wines from your trip
2) Shipping wines post 9/11 

What kind of documents do I need to bring?

A valid passport is required when traveling abroad. To be safe make sure that your passport has more than 6 months or more remaining on it prior to its expiration as some countries may not admit you with less than 3-6 months remaining on your current passport.

What about medical coverage while abroad?

Check with your health insurance provider regarding their coverage and recommendations while traveling abroad. Some will cover out of state and international travel within reason. Medicare will also provide partial coverage while traveling abroad. Alternately, there are many travel insurance plans which offer extended medical coverage abroad. If you think you’ll require basic or supplemental medical insurance coverage while abroad, you can visit InsureMyTrip to compare plans from multiple providers. As an added perk, many plans which include medical services also include trip cancelation coverage as well.

How can I access my email (or post my selfies) abroad?

For those bringing a smart phone or tablet:
If your phone or tablet does not feature international data coverage or you prefer to minimize your data plan use, most hotels on our trips offer wifi either in room or in the commons areas (usually all). Some will be free all the time or free in the commons areas, others will provide each guest with a special pass valid for a certain amount of minutes per stay or day. There are usually also local establishments (restaurants, bars, etc) around town which offer free wifi to customers. Some cities and townships even include free wifi coverage city-wide! There are several apps and websites which let you check to see where free wifi is available in advance.

For those with no smart devices or computers:
It is often nice to disconnect while traveling on our tours but sometimes you may still wish to connect for a little. In those cases, many hotels offer complimentary access to computer station for checking your email, basic browsing, etc. Internet cafes may be available as well in most cities.

Can I use my cell phone while abroad?

Depending on the phone and plan you have, your cell phone may work while abroad. Most smart phones such as iPhone or Android are capable of use abroad. You should first check with your phone carrier to see what options are available to you when traveling abroad and what the rates are. In some cases data use and per minute call rates abroad can be very expensive and add up quickly. However recently in the US, carriers have started to offer more generous/reasonable international plans. You can read our blog article to learn more about this and how we saved hundreds:
What phone are you bringing abroad? Here’s how I saved hundreds.

Alternatives:
Some travelers with unlocked phones buy SIM cards while abroad which can often be more reasonable than their international plans. This can be tricky for those who haven’t tried it before so check with your phone carrier. If you are arriving and departing from the same airport, some airports offer mobile phone rentals. If you prefer not to use your mobile phone, but would still like to make calls, traditional phone calling cards are available for purchase around town.

Have a question you’d like to ask? Contact us and we will answer it personally.