Secrets of a Wine Tour Planner

Enjoying a great tasting and meal onsite on our 2009 Sicily Wine Tour

If you’re good at something, you make it appear easy to do. I marvel at electricians who work with live wires, or skaters who can twist several times in the air, or cheerleaders who can somersault, or pianists who can play Mozart…the list goes on and on. Experience and practice  make it look easy.

How easy is it to plan a wine tour?  Some people may think you could just get on the phone or send emails and in a matter of minutes, it’s done…as long as there isn’t a language problem. But try to plan tours of 5-9 days and allowing for a variety of visits with no logistical problems – that’s another matter, and let me assure you: it’s intense. This is hospitality people – and for wine lovers and passionate foodies at that – but it’s why Wine Lovers Tours exists and where it excels.

Image of the exterior of the Bordeaux wine est...

Image of the exterior of the Bordeaux wine estate Chateau Margaux. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the end of this blog, I’ve included my 3 freshly minted Bordeaux tours to take place this May. You can try to estimate how much time it took to craft these tours; suffice it to say that if I got paid by the hour, it would probably be about .25/hour.

What are the secrets:

  1. Develop lots of contacts and leads. When attending wine fairs or trade shows, always anticipate future wine tours to develop contacts
  2. Do your research. Keep lots of files with information about all of the areas you visited, or plan to visit
  3. Learn from your past successes and mistakes
  4. Subscribe to key journals & emails, such as the Tre Bicchieri Awards, or Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, to select the right wineries to visit;
  5. Learn your geography well
  6. Be prepared to work early in the morning if you have to make calls to Europe
  7. Be prepared to work late at night to get all of your emails done
  8. Check with as many hotels as possible to get the best rates
  9. Most importantly, love what you do because that will get you through.
  10. When you’re finished you can hopefully look at your completed chef d’oeuvre with a great sense of satisfaction
  11. Better yet, let us do it all for you. With over 30 years in wine tour crafting, it’s not only our passion but our goal to make it one of your best experiences ever.

P.S.  – Be sure to check back on our blog or Facebook while we’re conducting our Bordeaux & Cognac tours for tour recaps and photos.

Vin Marottoli’s Wine Lovers Tours
Itinerary 2012 – Cognac – 2012

Sunday May 13

7:30pm   Meet in hotel lobby for welcome dinner

Monday May 14

10:00am  tour & tasting at an artisanal Cognac producer, Babinot

12:30pm  Lunch at Le Moulin de la Baine

3:30pm  Tour & tasting at Hennessy

balance of afternoon free to walk in Cognac

Tuesday May 15

Afternoon Bordeaux city tour with Bordeaux 101

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Vin Marottoli’s Wine Lovers Tours
Itinerary 2012 – Bordeaux 101

Tuesday May 15

12:00pm Rendez-vous at Bordeaux airport

City tour of Bordeaux. check-in hotel

7:30pm Meet in hotel lobby for dinner at Gabriel

Wednesday May 16

9:15am Tour of Tonnellerie Nadalié

11:00am Tour & tasting at Chateau Margaux

12:30pm Lunch at Le Lion d’Or, Arcins

3:00pm Tour & tasting at Chateau du Tertre

5:00pm Tour & tasting at Chateau Dauzac

Thursday May 17

9:40am Train ride through the vineyards of St. Emilion

12:30pm Lunch in St Emilion at Palais du Cardinal

4:30pm Visit & tasting at Chateau de la Rivière

Friday May 18

9:00am Visit & tasting at Chateau Haut Bailly

11:00am Tour & tasting at Chateau Roquetaillade

12:30pm Lunch at Auberge Les Vignes Sauternes

3:00pm Tour & tasting at Chateau Raymond Lafon Sauternes

Saturday May 19

9:30am Visit & tasting at Chateau Marjosse Grezillac

11:00am Tour, tasting & lunch at Chateau Lavergne Dulong

3:00pm Visit Abbey of la Sauve Majeur

4:30pm Tour & tasting at Chateau Fontenille La Sauve

Sunday May 20

11:00am Boat ride & Oyster tasting in Arcachon

1:00pm Lunch at La Guérinière, Gujan-Mestras

Afternoon visit of Dunes of Pyla

The Great Dune of Pyla, France, the tallest sa...

The Great Dunes of Pyla, France, the tallest sand dune in Europe, being 107 m high at its crest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday May 21

10:00am Tour & tasting at Chateau Pitray

11:30pm Tasting at Clos Puy Arnaud Castillon

1:00pm Lunch at Le Belvedere Juillac

afternoon free in Bordeaux

Tuesday May 22

Depart for airport or for Bordeaux 201

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Vin Marottoli’s Wine Lovers Tours
Itinerary 2012 – Bordeaux 202

 Tuesday May 22

9:30am Tour & tasting Chateau Rauzan-Ségla

11:00am Tour, tasting & lunch at Chateau Lalagune

2:30pm Tour & tasting at Chateau Mongravey

Wednesday May 23

9:30am Visit & tasting at Chateau Branaire Ducru

11:00am Tour & tasting at Chateau Pichon Baron

12:30pm Lunch at Cordeillan Bages

3:00pm Tour & tasting at Chateau Haut Marbuzet

5:00pm Tour & tasting at Chateau Lynch Bages

Thursday May 24

9:30am Tour & tasting at Chateau Phelan Ségur

11:00am Tour and lunch at Chateau Loudenne

3:00pm Tour & tasting at Chateau La Cardonne

5:00pm Tour & tasting at Chateau Vieux Robin

Friday May 25

9:30am Tour & tasting at Chateau Léoville Poyferré

11:00am Tour,  tasting & lunch at Chateau Lagrange

2:30pm Tour & tasting at Chateau Beychevelle

4:00pm Tour & tasting at Chateau Beaumont

Saturday May 26

9:30am Tour & tasting TBD

11:00am Tour, tasting & lunch at Chateau Maucaillou

3:00pm Tour & tasting TBD

Sunday May 27

Depart for Bordeaux airport

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