Northeastern Italy offers some of the best wines in the whole of Italy. Slovenia and Croatia continue to fly under the radar despite centuries of rich of winemaking history. We’ll take an incredible journey through these three countries, eating and drinking all the local delights while learning about their deep history and culture of winemaking traditions.
Join us for a seven-day tour of historical and culinary delights as we journey from the foothills of the Alps to the shore of the Adriatic, through five unique wine regions, and a behind-the-scenes look at a robust wine culture.
- 7 nights accommodation in 4 star hotels, including breakfasts
- 5 dinners
- 5 lunches
- 11 wine tastings
- 2 city walking tours
- Local Expert Guide
- DCanter Wine Expert
- All of the activities included in the itinerary
- All transportation on the tours
- Mineral water on the bus rides
- Airport transfers
What's Not Included
- Airfare to and from Venice, Italy
- Meals on your own
- Hotel upgrades
JOIN OUR WINE & FOOD EXTRAVAGANZA!
Please note that spaces are limited! If you are interested in coming along, please contact us as soon as possible to avoid missing out!
The specific activities on this schedule are tentative and subject to minor adjustments due to logistical and other practical considerations.
We'll meet at the airport and head to a charming countryside osteria for a special welcome dinner with local wine pairings before checking into our hotel in Trieste.
- 3:00 PM: Depart the Venice Marco Polo Airport
- Upon arrival to a countryside osteria, we’ll get to know each other over a welcome drink and take in the beautiful setting.
- Enjoy a welcome dinner with special wine pairings.
- Late check-in to our hotel in Trieste, Italy.
As a city that is somehow simultaneously Italian, Slovenian, Croatian, and Austrian, yet also none of these things, Trieste stands confidently as its own unique place. The city borrows influences from throughout the Balkan and Italian peninsulas to create a visual masterpiece that can only be experienced in person. On our first full day of this trip, we will get to know this treasure of the Adriatic and discover how its charms attracted and influenced so many traders and writers throughout the centuries.
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- Late morning: Meet in the lobby and depart for a walking tour of Trieste. Take in the city’s Italian modernist architecture and explore the sites that influenced writers, such as Italo Svevo and James Joyce.
- Afternoon lunch featuring the region’s classic Austro-Hungarian cuisine.
- We'll journey just outside of Trieste and enjoy a dinner with wine pairings at a lovely agroturismo.
If you're hungry or thirsty, then you should head to Friuli. The region has long been a powerhouse in fine white wine production, as the region is filled with crisp, clean, and expressive mineral-driven white wines. Not to be outdone, the native red varieties have recently been joined by merlots and cabernet sauvignons and are all gaining prominence on the world stage. With great wine, of course, comes great food, and Friuli is home to some of Italy’s best producers of cheese and charcuterie producers. We’ll take it all in!
- We'll head into the Friulian hills for a deep dive into cheese making. We’ll visit a farm specializing in raw milk organic cheese with two particular heirloom breeds of cows.
- Enjoy lunch at a famed boutique winery specializing in grapes native of the region.
- Spend the afternoon with a San Daniele prosciutto maker. You'll learn what it takes to cure a proper ham and how to best enjoy it.
- With full bellies, we’ll return to Trieste where you can take a casual stroll or do a little bar hopping with the locals.
Primorska, the westernmost region in Slovenia, is arguably the most dynamic winemaking region in the Balkans. From dry, aromatic styles to rustic, skin contact natural wines there is no shortage of variety to be found here. We will visit two wineries of the region that demonstrate the breadth of flavors to be found amongst the region’s breathtaking scenery.
- We'll start the morning at a small, family-owned winery for a proper introduction to the wines of Slovenia.
- We'll partake in home cooked meal at another small winery that offers a contrasting interpretation on Slovenia’s diverse and storied wine culture.
- After a late lunch, we’ll head back to Trieste for an evening on your own, a little Italian shopping, or a final dinner in this historic city.
- Pack your bags for a departure tomorrow morning.
Istria is home to some of the world’s most cherished olive oils, which finds its way into much of the region's cuisine. As expected, Istria produces great wine to match. We'll partake in both and explore Rovinj. The city is filled with tiny, twisting city streets, a bustling harbor, and some of the most romantic (and photogenic!) settings along the Croatian coast.
- Morning departure for Rovinj, Croatia
- Visit one of the region’s highest quality olive oil producers. Visit the traditional stone sheds (kazun) that dot the landscape, learn about the soils and trees, and find out how this first class olive oil is produced.
- We'll enjoy a beautiful lunch cooked for us by the incredible team of chefs working on the olive oil farm.
- After a return to Rovinj, we’ll take a leisurely walking tour of the car-free old town and partake in a local meal highlighting the fresh seafood of the area.
You can't visit Croatia without touring the Adriatic. We'll boat through the Limski Canal, a limestone canyon covered in diverse flora, which leads directly into the Adriatic. It’s a natural breeding ground for many types of marine life, so you may catch sight of a few interesting creatures.
- We'll depart from Rovinj's port and journey to an oyster farm, where we'll sample goods right out of the water.
- After oysters, we'll head down the road for a seafood lunch along the canal.
- Enjoy a leisurely cruise back to Rovinj. We’ll pause along the way so you can take a swim right from the boat, if you like. For those who prefer to stay dry, you can sip wine on the boat whilst enjoying the stunning views.
- After a later afternoon break, we’ll enjoy dinner at a nearby agrotourismo featuring locally sourced products.
Istria's vibrant red soils and salty sea air impart unique and particular flavors to the wines and foods of the region. On our final full day, we'll partake in cheeses from a working farm, wines from one of the best wineries in the region, and indulge in some of the best seafood available anywhere.
- Spend the morning with friends at a working goat farm. Learn about the local breeds, sample their incredible cheeses, and learn what makes their flavors unique.
- We'll spend the afternoon lunching, sipping, and learning about the local wine varieties of Malvasia and Teran at one of Istria's best boutique wine estates.
- For our final evening together, we’ll join together at a local favorite and watch the sunset over the Adriatic while enjoying fine cuisine.
- We'll arrange morning transfers to Venice where you can depart to the U.S. or continue your adventures in Europe.
DATES : Monday, September 21 – Monday, September 28, 2020
COST : $4,495 per person (double occupancy) // $445 single occupancy supplement
Enjoy superior 4 star accommodations in Trieste, Italy and Rovinj, Croatia.
Your historic hotel in Trieste will be central location with all of the necessary modern conveniences, including a wide range of entertainment options, onsite restaurant and bar, fitness facilities, business services, Wi-Fi, and 24-hour reception.
Your modern hotel in Rovinj overlooks Adriatic, features spa facilities, and a swimming pool for your relaxation.
To Reserve Your Spot
Reserve your spot by clicking "Book Now". Spaces are limited to 15 people, so be sure to act fast!
Meet Your Guides
Carolyn is the author of the culinary guidebooks Food Wine Budapest (Little Bookroom) and the Food and Wine Lover’s Guide to Hungary: With Budapest Restaurants and Trips to the Wine Country (Park Kiadó). Carolyn has also written for dozens of international magazines and newspapers including Saveur, Explore Parts Unknown, Afar, CNN.com, Frommer’s, Gourmet, Gastronomica, Olive, and The Globe & Mail. Carolyn studied journalism at NYU, holds a culinary school degree, and is currently working on her WSET Diploma. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the Global Food Tourism Association, and the Confrérie de Tokaj (the Tokaj Wine Guild). She never tires of exploring Budapest and traveling throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
Gábor grew up in northwestern Hungary and started traveling as soon as he could — exploring France, studying in Spain, working on a ship in the Caribbean, and tending bar and waiting on tables in New York. When he returned to Hungary, he again fell in love with his native cuisine and the emerging quality wine scene. He holds a master’s degree in Spanish linguistics and literature, and was a translator and interpreter in his previous career. He holds a Level 3 WSET certification and takes every opportunity to travel to different wine regions. He is an avid runner, and he is at work on a research project involving the Jewish history of Tokaj. Gábor is committed to increasing the profile of wine tourism in Hungary and the larger region overall. He has spoken about entrepreneurism, wine tourism, and Hungarian food and wine to audiences in both Hungary and the U.S. He is also a proud member of the Confrérie de Tokaj (the Tokaj Wine Guild).
If you have visited DCanter, then you have probably attended one of Michael’s many wine classes or received a personal wine recommendation. Michael Warner is a Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of DCanter, where he is the wine buyer. He holds a Certified Specialist of Wine designation from the Society of Wine Educators, consults frequently with specialty wine importers, and he has been featured in publications such as the Washington Post, Fast Company, France2 News, and Meininger's Wine Business International. A frequent traveler, he has visited wine regions throughout France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Balkans, and — of course — the United States.
DCANTER IS PLEASED TO PARTNER WITH TASTE HUNGARY
Carolyn and Gábor Bánfalvi founded Taste Hungary in 2008 and is the leading culinary tour company in Hungary. They offer daily food and drink walks, wine tastings, wine tours, and private and custom tours for groups. Taste Hungary is proud to have introduced thousands of guests to Hungarian food and wine over the past decade and is consistently ranked #1 on Trip Advisor. In 2014, Taste Hungary won a prestigious Drinks Business Award for “Best Contribution to Wine and Spirits Tourism” (and was shortlisted again in 2015). In both 2017 and 2018, Taste Hungary won the “Best Wine Tour Operator” award from VinCE, a promoter of Central European wines.
Carolyn and Gábor are Capitol Hill, DC residents when they’re in the U.S. and frequent DCanter for wine products and classes, which is how we met! We’ve also collaborated with them in offering wine tastings and classes on Hungarian wine. DCanter is pleased to partner with Taste Hungary to offer our customers this amazing experience!
This Trip is for You if…
YOU ENJOY TRYING NEW WINE AND FOOD.
While most Balkan cuisine and wine styles are fairly familiar to most of us, there are a few dishes that might seem a bit unfamiliar at first. Think orange wines paired young goat cheeses and peppers – it’s not something many of us eat every day, but it's delicious!
YOU LIKE EXPLORING OFF THE BEATEN PATH.
Most of the places we'll visit aren't regular stops for American tourists. It might be tough to find fluent English speakers in some villages, and wineries generally don't have formal tasting rooms.
YOU ENJOY MAKING NEW FRIENDS.
We're going to have a small group of no more than 15 people, so everyone will have plenty of time to get to know each other. There will be a little personal time each day, but expect to interact with everyone on the trip.
This Trip is Not for You if…
YOU LIKE TO STAY IN ONCE PLACE.
We'll be exploring new places everyday.
YOU ONLY DINE IN MICHELIN-STARRED RESTAURANTS.
Most Balkan wineries don’t operate full-service restaurants, so there's a good chance you'll be enjoying meals with the winemaker, in their homes, and cooked by their families. Many meals will be served family style, will feature locally sourced ingredients, and will be prepared according to local customs.
YOU DON'T LIKE TO SPEND TIME WITH OTHERS.
Although this tour is limited to 15 people, we'll be spending a lot of time together. You'll make new friends, but there will also be a little time each day to spend on your own.
YOU’RE ON A DIET.
There's going to be a lot of terrific food and wine to enjoy, and you won't want to skip any of it!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any type of allergy or restriction that must be accommodated we must know in advance of the tour so we can make arrangements with our vendors. On-the-spot substitutions will not be possible. We can accommodate many types of food allergies, so just let us know during the booking process.
Amazing and well done you for having a sense of adventure to come on your own! There are single room options available.
The trip will definitely begin on September 21 and end on September 28. There might be some minor changes to the itinerary due to travel logistics, but the core of the activities will remain.
Most of the wine regions we’re visiting are less than a two-hour drive from our hotel.
Yes, you will be responsible for your own air travel to and from Venice. The Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) is serviced by all of the major European airlines and a few American carriers offer direct service from the U.S.
Yes! Just let us know if you need additional nights in the hotel, and we can help you extend your reservations.
Absolutely! Our travel partners are foremost experts on travelling in the region. They’d be happy to make additional recommendations to fit whatever you want to do while visiting the country.
What's the Deposit & Cancellation Policy?
- A deposit of 25% of the trip cost is required to reserve your spot.
- Cancellations made in writing 30 days or less from the deposit date will receive a 100% refund.
- Cancellations made in writing more than 30 days after the deposit date and before June 21, 2020 will receive a 50% refund.
- The final balance for the trip will be charged on July 1, 2020.
- Cancellations made on July 1, 2020 or later will forfeit 100% of payment.
CAN I ORDER WINES DURING THE TRIP?
Yes! You'll be able to order most of the wines we try on the trip. Some wines, however, will only be available directly from the winery, so you might want to save some room in your suitcase!