An insider’s View of the Napa Valley: A 30-year Romp!

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This is my first blog post for Taste Vacations, which only recently launched. I wanted to write about the beautiful Napa Valley and reflect the many changes since I moved there in 1982 to become one of the opening chefs at the Michelin Two Star Restaurant Auberge du Soleil. Here are a few fun facts:

1982:                                                                                              2012:

42: Actual physical wineries                                                       436

$9.00: Average Retail Price for a bottle of Cabernet              $45.00

0: Napa Valley Sub-appellations                                                16

2 million: Cases Produced                                                          50.2 million

$12,000 – $15,000: Vineyard land per acre                              $125,000 – $300,000

$1,280: Price per ton of Napa County Cabernet                      $5,499

250,000: Visitors per year                                                            2.94 million

 

When I moved to the “Valley” in 1982, my favorite restaurant in St. Helena was Vern’s Copper Chimney located on highway 29. I don’t think Vern’s could compete with the French Laundry today (though Vern’s pancakes were pretty awesome). The most popular wineries were Beringer Bros, Charles Krug and Louis Martini Winery. $700 bottles of cult wines weren’t invented yet, and the El Bonita Motel was the place to stay back then.

Perhaps things have changed in the Napa Valley over the years but many things remain constant – some of the most outstanding wines in the world are made there and the absolutely magnificent and bucolic scenery is mind boggling awesome to behold!

I hope you join me on a Taste Vacations tour to the Napa Valley. I look forward to seeing you there! Any questions, comments or special requests …please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Cheers,

David Mitchel

Note: David Mitchel is the host on Taste Vacations’ Napa Valley tours and is excited to show you his homeland!

 

Taste Vacations Offers Worldwide Food, Wine, Spirits, and Beer Tours

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Press Release

New Food and Drink Vacation Company Launches
Taste Vacations Offers Worldwide Food, Wine, Spirits, and Beer Tours

RED LODGE, MT – September 9, 2014 −Zephyr Adventures announces a dramatic and delectable expansion of their tour operations.  Already a leader in active travel in the U.S. and abroad for over 17 years, Zephyr is now adding upscale wine, beer, spirits, and food tours under the newly created brand Taste Vacations.

Taste Vacations was created because of growing demand for group vacations centered on beautiful wine regions, local food, craft beer, and high-end spirits. “We listen to our customers and this growth reflects the additional types of trips they’re asking for,” relays Zephyr Adventures owner and creator of Taste Vacations, Allan Wright.

Zephyr Adventures has already been running active hiking, biking, and multisport tours around the world that focus on wine, food, and beer. It is the popularity of these tours and the realization that some travelers prefer to leave the physical activity at home that brought the company to create Taste Vacations, focused solely on the local food and drink.

Some of the trips to be offered include:

o    A wine and food tour to Spain, exploring the incredible cuisine of the Basque town of San Sebastián plus the wineries of La Rioja, Spain’s most prominent wine region.

o    A food vacation to Peru, considered a hot bed of new and innovative culinary styles, including a visit to the top rated restaurant in Latin America and three hands-on cooking classes with different chefs, plus a day trip to the ancient city of Machu Picchu.

o    A beer-focused trip to Belgium that visits over a dozen breweries, abbeys, a beer museum, and includes pairings of the areas most distinguished beers with time-honored Belgian culinary fare.

o    A spirits tour to Kentucky that includes tasting Bourbons at boutique, famous, and up and coming distilleries; a trip to Churchill Downs to watch the races; a cooking class at a famous local chef’s private ranch and farm; and backstage passes to meet some of Kentucky’s warmest and most personable Bourbon industry figures.

“Everyone loves to focus on the local food scene while on vacation. Craft beer is hot, micro-distilleries are the new rage, and wine is still the drink of luxury,” says Wright. “Creating a luxury food and drink tour company just made sense to give discerning travelers options in all these areas.”

In addition to published group tour dates, private tours for corporate and small groups are available. For complete information visit www.TasteVacations.com.

About Zephyr Adventures
Zephyr Adventures has been leading active travelers on group vacations around the globe since 1997.  The company also organizes the Wine Bloggers Conference, Beer Bloggers Conference, European Beer Bloggers Conference, Wine Tourism Conference, and International Food Blogger Conference.

Welcome to Taste Vacations: Luxury Food and Drink Tours

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Learning how to make ceviche in Peru. Enjoying a draft beer brewed by a monk in Belgium. Dining at the country farm of a famous chef while sipping Kentucky Bourbon in Louisville. Or perhaps touring the vineyards and wineries of Chile and Argentina on a glamorous South American wine vacation.

We at Zephyr Adventures have been organizing active tours around the world for the past 17 years, with a special focus on food tours, wine vacations, and beer travel. We have now followed our own taste buds to create Taste Vacations, an operator of luxury food, wine, beer, and spirits tours where we leave the physical activity for the next trip.

We all know the food and drink scene is hot and delving into local offerings is a big part of many traveler’s vacation plans. At Taste Vacations, we use our travel experience and industry connections to create outstanding itineraries with unique activities most tourists would never even know existed, much less have the opportunity to participate in.

Our vacations are luxurious yet casual. They are for everyone with a passion for food and drink. In this inaugural year, we will start with seven destinations with more in the works:

We offer “public” tour dates for each location, which you can join to let us gather a group of like minded travelers. But keep in mind each tour is limited in numbers, usually to 16 participants. Or, if you already have your own group, you can pick any of our locations and set up your own private tour. This can be perfect for a group of friends or couples; a family reunion; companies wishing to reward employees or strengthen the community of its followers; or pretty much any other group.

We are very proud of the trip offerings of Taste Vacations and hope you can join us on one soon! Please browse our tours, sign up to be on our e-newsletter (lower right of this page), or contact us if you have any questions.