Frequently Asked Questions
**UPDATE FOR CORONAVIRUS**
For 2020 and 2021 tours, if you cancel your reservation you can apply all payments made to another tour, less any fixed costs we have incurred. This is a VERY flexible cancellation policy but please know unrecoverable costs will increase as we get closer to a trip date. For private tours, see below for an important note about minimum tour requirements.
During the pandemic, we will assess whether to postpone or cancel each tour on a case by case basis based on recommendations from health authorities in the United States and the local tour region. We will only run a tour if we believe we can keep everyone safe. If we cancel a tour, you can receive a full credit or refund as you choose.
What is your change or cancellation policy?
For all other tours, if you cancel your reservation with 60 days or more advance notice, you can apply all payments made to another Taste Vacation in the same calendar year or the year following. If you cancel with fewer than 60 days advance notice you forfeit all payments made. For private and custom tours, you must cancel with 90 days notice to be able to transfer your payments. This is one of the more lenient cancellation policies in the industry because if you give us enough notice and can travel at a later date, you do not lose any money at all. We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance that covers your tour payment and airfare; if you choose not to purchase travel insurance, you are taking the risk upon yourself. We reserve the right to cancel a tour, but in this case, you will receive a full refund.
- An Important Note About Private Tours and Minimum Numbers:
Most of our private tours have low minimums (in most cases, four to six participants). However, if the cancellation of one or more of your group members brings you below the required minimum, you as a group must decide whether to distribute the cost of any amounts due among the remaining group members OR cancel the tour. If you choose to cancel the tour, we will treat each person’s payments as per the policy above. Of course, you always have the option to recruit more group members.
What types of activities are involved in each of your tour types?
Our tours focus on one or more of the following categories and each area comes with its own set of experiences, including but not limited to:
- Food Tours: cooking classes, cooking demonstrations, shopping at farmer’s markets, and visits to local artisan producers such as olive oil mills, cheese farms, honey bee farms, and more
- Wine Tours: winery visits, vineyard walks, food and wine pairing dinners, blind wine tastings, conversations with vintners, and more
- Beer Tours: brewery visits, brew pub visits, blind tastings, beer pairing dinners, educational sessions with brewers, and more
What do your tours include?
Our tours include double-occupancy lodging, usually at four-star (and sometimes five-star) hotels, meals as indicated in the tour itinerary, local transportation, all organized culinary and drink experiences, and the professional services of a Taste Vacations guide. Alcoholic beverages are sometimes included with meals — please see specific tour itinerary for details. Accommodation upgrades are available upon request.
Do you offer public and private tours?
Drawing on over twenty years of experience in the niche travel industry, we create unforgettable food, wine, and beer itineraries exploring the world’s premier destinations. Most of our clients choose to book a private tour but we do offer a limited number of public group tours each year. Our small group tours have only 4 – 16 people on a trip, making it possible to experience a place’s culture and hospitality on a more personal level.
You’ll enjoy all aspects of the culinary experience – exceptional wine tastings and personal blending sessions, entertaining and educational cooking classes, behind-the-scenes brewery tours, and wine- or beer-paired meals. If you’d like to customize one of our itineraries, we would be happy to do so. We require a $1,000 deposit to start planning.
What is the minimum number of guests for each tour to run?
Tuscany Food & Wine Tour – 4 Person Minimum
Peru Food Tour – 4 Person Minimum
Spain Food & Wine Tour – 4 Person Minimum
Sonoma Wine & Walking Tour – 4 Person Minimum
Portugal Wine & Food Tour – 6 Person Minimum
South Africa Wine & Safari Tour – 6 Person Minimum
Chile & Argentina Wine Tour – 6 Person Minimum
Bordeaux Food & Wine Tour – 6 Person Minimum
Washington & Oregon Wine Tour – 6 Person Minimum
Belgium Beer Tour – 6 Person Minimum
Colorado Beer Tour – 6 Person Minimum
Asheville Beer & Food Tour – 8 Person Minimum
Will my itinerary be exactly as listed on the website?
While everything under “What is Included” on the webpage for each trip will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.
What is a single supplement?
Our trip prices are based on double occupancy. If you are coming on a trip solo, we will find you a roommate of the same gender. Many tour companies require you to pay a single supplement if they can’t find you a roommate on a public tour. We don’t! If we can’t find you a roommate then you may end up getting your own room at no charge (although this is fairly rare). You also have the option to pay the single supplement to get your own room if you don’t want a roommate. Please see each individual tour page for the single supplement cost.
On our private tours, however, if your group has an odd number of guests, there is a mandatory single supplement fee. This amount will differ depending on the itinerary. Please contact our tour operations team for more details.
What are the hotels and restaurants like?
We select hotels that provide unique and comfortable accommodations while also being conveniently located and providing a casual atmosphere. We believe the best hotels are those that walk the walk by providing outstanding in-room comfort, excellent staff, and complete amenities. We are not impressed by hotels trying to impress. Keep in mind that hotels differ in different countries. We might stay in a modern, upscale hotel in the United States but choose a historical gem upgraded with modern comforts in Europe. Please keep in mind we sometimes have to switch a hotel from what is listed on each tour page due to availability.
We eat our meals in a variety of locations from a private dinner at an estate winery to a beer pairing dinner with a brewmaster to a formal dinner at a city’s finest restaurant. Some meals are more casual and some more formal – we like the variety and think you will too. All of our restaurants pride themselves on serving top-quality meals in keeping with the local culture.
Am I able to bring my young children on this trip?
Since our tours are focused on wine, beer, and spirits tastings where we encourage long, lingering meals, and may need to travel to get between destinations, our vacations are designed to be enjoyed without children.
When is my tour payment due?
Registering for a Taste Vacation requires a deposit of $500 per person, payable by check or any major credit card. The remaining amount due must be paid by check 60 days prior to the trip departure. If you wish to pay the remaining balance by credit card there will be a 3% administrative fee. Please note we reserve the right to treat your reservation as canceled if your final payment is not made when due. If you sign up for a trip 45 days or less before the departure date, the entire trip price must be paid by credit card with the 3% fee on the remaining balance. For custom tours, we require a non-refundable payment of $500 before we begin making the required customization. This payment serves as the deposit for the tour leader. If we set up the tour as requested and the tour does not run, this payment is forfeit.
What happens once I book a tour?
After we receive your deposit we will send you an email confirming your booking. You can purchase your airfare once the trip minimum has been met – we will notify you when this happens and also send you electronic pre-departure documents with detailed arrival and departure information, suggestions for making travel arrangements, packing list, insurance information, and information about the area we will be visiting.
Should I purchase travel insurance?
Absolutely! We think travel insurance is crucial. Every year we have many people who have to cancel a trip at the last minute, losing their trip payment and airfare. See our travel insurance page for more information.