New Zealand, March 11-26, 2019

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • 16 days + travel days
  • Many wine visits & tastings
  • Amazing nature, geysers, glacier...
  • Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, Central Otago and more
  • Price 7,200 euro

The magnificent discovery and exploration wine tour to New Zealand!

— We are introducing a new destination, New Zealand! We promise you a magnificent wine adventure that you will never forget! It’s a long flight to get there and therefore we will show you as much as possible of this amazingly exciting country. The wine of course, but also the fascinating landscape, the culture, the gastronomy. We start in Auckland on the North Island and finish in Queenstown on the South Island. We travel for 16 days and we will visit most of the wine regions.

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New Zealand has become a well-known and respected wine country in just 20-25 years. It started with the sauvignon blanc wines from Marlborough. Today everything is not about sauvignon blanc. There are a variety of grapes that grow in different types of soils and different types of climate on both the North and the South Island. You find many types of wines in New Zealand today.

The country was first known as a cool climate country. But as the wine industry has evolved, the differences between the North Island and the South Island have become clear. The climate varies more than you think between the different wine regions. New Zealand is not only sauvignon blanc and pinot noir, even though these grapes are well worth a trip by themselves!

Elephant Hill Winery to Te Awanga

Elephant Hill Winery to Te Awanga, photo used with permission

The first sauvignon blanc wines were launched on the market in 1979 and no one could possibly have imagined the success that these wines would have. Today, sauvignon blanc is by far the most planted grape in New Zealand.

New Zealand is a small country and hence a small wine country, but in 20 years the wine industry has not stopped growing. Exports have grown by 17% each year. Today the country has around 38,000 hectares of vines. Marlborough is the largest wine region with 25,000 hectares.

From north to south, New Zealand is 1500 kilometres. The landscape is fascinating. It is a narrow country, surrounded by water which of course affects the climate. The winters are mild and the summers are warm but rarely hot. Autumn is often warm and dry, at least in the wine regions. Topography is important. The west coast gets the rain but the vineyards are sheltered on the east coast where it is drier and warmer.

Te Puia, Rotorua

Te Puia, Rotorua, photo used with permission (Adam Bryce)

As always on our tours, the wine has the leading role. But we have also added other activities. During the whole tour, we will admire the unique nature. We will marvel at the geysers in Rotorua, we will watch glaciers up close from a boat; we will get to know the Māori culture, not least their special way of cooking. We will eat many meals together, several of them at wine estates. We will discuss food and wine combinations.

We will, of course, say hello to the symbol of the country, the kiwi, the bird that cannot fly. And we’ll probably see one or two sheep. It’s not just bungy jumping that is a popular sport here but also sheep shearing.

We have chosen to go by bus all the way from Auckland to Queenstown. This way we will see as much of the country, and the breathtaking landscape as possible. It will be an unforgettable road trip.


Program — Wine tour to New Zealand

Preliminary program.

There may be changes to some details of the program, e.g. which wineries we visit. As always on our wine tours, we put a great emphasis on that the visit will be exceptional and memorable. We do not always visit the most well-known or “famous” wineries (those that have half a dozen guides employed) but instead those that will give you a unique experience.

For more details, contact BKWine.

Program overview

  • Day – – — Departure from home for Auckland
  • Day 1 — Arrival in Auckland
  • Day 2 — Waiheke Island
  • Day 3 — Auckland to Rotorua, geyser, Maori culture
  • Day 4 — Rotorua to Napier
  • Day 5 —Hawkes Bay
  • Day 6 —Hawkes Bay
  • Day 7 — Napier to Martinborough
  • Day 8 — Wellington, ferry to South Island
  • Day 9 —Marlborough
  • Day 10 —Marlborough
  • Day 11 — Blenheim to Christchurch
  • Day 12 — Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
  • Day 13 — Mount Cook to Queenstown
  • Day 14 — Central Otago
  • Day 15 — Central Otago
  • Day 16 — Departure home
  • Day – – — Arrival at home

Day – – — Departure for New Zealand

You leave from your home. Departure and arrival will be different depending on what your departure location is. See more info below. Perhaps your arrive a few days early (we can help you with the arrangements). Or you arrive just in time for the first day on the program, Day 1.

Day 1, Monday, March 11 — Arrival in Auckland

You arrive in Auckland. Or perhaps you choose to come here a few days earlier. It is well worth spending a few extra days here.

Auckland is sometimes called The City of Sails. Auckland is said to have more pleasure boats per inhabitant than any other city in the world. Given the spectacular location between the South Pacific Ocean and the Tasmanian Sea, one can understand that many people are into water sports.

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city with around 1.5 million inhabitants. It is a lively and cosmopolitan city with a large harbour and beautiful beaches for swimming and surfing. But you can also enjoy beautiful parks, nightlife, shopping. The restaurants will satisfy even the most discerning gourmet traveller.

Upon arrival, you check in at our hotel, Grand Millennium Hotel, centrally located near Princes Wharf and the bustling Queen Street. We will be staying here for two nights. The hotel has a bar, a brasserie and a high-class Japanese restaurant. Please feel free to enjoy a swim in the indoor pool after the long flight.

In the evening we will all meet for our welcome dinner.

Devonport Auckland, New Zealand

Devonport Auckland, New Zealand, photo used with permission

Day 2, Tuesday, March 12 — Wine on Waiheke Island

We will have a relaxing day today at the beautiful Waiheke Island, a 45-minute ferry ride from Auckland through the Hauraki Gulf. During the ferry ride, we will enjoy the view and the many islands in the small archipelago.

The ferry docks on the island at Matiatia Wharf. There, our bus will be waiting to take us on a discovery trip around the island.

Waiheke Island has around 7000 permanent residents and a host of temporary visitors. The climate is mild and dry and ideal for wine-growing. There had been vines here earlier but the modern era of wine growing on the island started in 1978. Today there are about 20 vineyards. Most of them are quite small in size but among them are some of New Zealand’s best. They grow cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec, petit verdot, syrah, chardonnay, viognier, sauvignon blanc and some other grapes.

Waiheke Island is located east of Auckland and is partially protected from the cool and rainy winds from the west, making it both warmer and drier than Auckland. The vines are happy here as are the olive trees.

We will visit one or two wine estates on the island and we will have lunch at one of them.

We are back at our Auckland hotel in the afternoon. Free evening to explore the city.

Waiheke Island, Auckland

Waiheke Island, Auckland, photo used with permission (Miles Holden)

Day 3, Wednesday, March 13 — Auckland to Rotorua, geysers and Maori culture

We check out with our luggage from the hotel after breakfast. We board our bus and start our tour towards the south. First, we head south-east, towards the town of Rotorua.

Rotorua is located in a volcanic area known for its geothermal activity. We will see examples of this during the day. The population here is largely Maori, New Zealand’s native population, so this is a good place to get to know their culture and history.

We will travel through a fertile farmland and pass small villages, grazing dairy cows and small and large farms.

Once in Rotorua, we start with a guided tour of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley to explore some of these thermal phenomena, including the famous geyser Pohutu, the largest active one in the southern hemisphere. Pohutu erupts twenty times a day.

Rotorua, with its hot springs, has always been considered a sacred place for the Maoris. Our local guide will give us an insight into the history and culture of the Maori population. We get to see how they maintain traditional crafts like weaving and wood carving.

And not least, during the guided tour we will also greet the kiwi, New Zealand’s iconic bird. It’s rare to see it in nature so this is a good opportunity.

Before the evening’s activities begin we check in at our hotel, Novotel Lakeside Hotel in Rotorua.

In the evening, our introduction to the Maori culture continues with a traditional welcome ceremony that includes a haka, the traditional dance performed before a war (or, more common today, before a rugby match). The festivities continue with a banquet with food cooked in traditional Maori way, buried in the ground.

Whakarewarewa Thermal area, Rotorua, photo used with permission

Day 4, Thursday, March 14 — Rotorua to Napier, wine tasting in Hawke’s Bay

We check out after breakfast and continue our journey south. We will see more hot springs and geysers all the way down to the city of Taupo.

We then continue down to the Hawke’s Bay wine district (located at Hawke Bay, a subtle difference) and we will arrive in time for lunch. We will enjoy it at one of the wine estates. We continue with another wine visit in the afternoon.

Hawke’s Bay is one of the warmest and driest wine regions of New Zealand with a sheltered location between the mountains and the sea. The rolling slopes with vines, olive groves, palms trees and cypresses with the blue ocean in the background also make it one of the most beautiful. Hawke’s Bay is the second largest wine region in New Zealand with over 4,500 hectares. It’s warmer here than in Marlborough and grapes such as merlot and syrah feel right at home. Chardonnay is also an important variety.

Late afternoon we check in at Expressotel, a small and personal hotel in Napier. It is centrally located and we recommend a walk in the city. Napier is considered unique in the world thanks to its art deco buildings. The background to this fine 1930s architecture is that Napier was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1931. The reconstruction was done in the art deco style, fashionable at the time.

The evening is free.

Hawke's Bay vines

Hawke’s Bay vines, photo used with permission

Day 5, Friday, March 15 — Winery visits at Hawke’s Bay

Today we have a full day in Hawke’s Bay, the oldest wine region in New Zealand. We will go a little bit south of Napier, to the vineyards around the town of Hastings.

Red wines dominate here in Hawke’s Bay and are often quite powerful, with good body and structure. Some producers make comparisons with Bordeaux.

This is a region also for fruit and olive trees. Hawke’s Bay is actually called New Zealand’s “fruit bowl”.

Wine producers have discovered in recent years that the terroir here is extremely varied. Now that they are aware of the differences they adapt harvest date and grape varieties.

We will make three different visits during the day, one of which is a visit combined with lunch. We will go to the beautiful Te Awanga coast south of Napier where there are a number of well-known producers, including the spectacularly located Elephant Hill, a stone’s throw from the ocean.

Late afternoon we are back at the hotel in Napier. Free evening.

Vineyard in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Vineyard in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, photo used with permission (Chris McLennan)

Day 6, Saturday, March 16 — Napier to Martinborough, wine visit in Wairarapa

Check out in the morning from our hotel with our luggage. We continue south. Today we are going to a wine district called Wairarapa, which includes the well-known Martinborough.

We will arrive in time for lunch at one of the wineries in Gladstone, one of Wairarapa’s subregions. The other two are Martinborough and Masterton. Wairarapa got its first vines in the late 1970s. One of the pioneers was the now well-known estate, Ata Rangi. Wairarapa is a small region with just over 1000 hectares in total but with some very well-known producers.

Pinot noir is the most important grape variety and here it gives wines with texture and body. The sauvignon blanc wines are excellent and the riesling and pinot gris wines are becoming more and more popular.

Late afternoon we check in to Peppers Parehua Martinborough, a charming hotel in the middle of the vineyards. We will each have our own cottage/villa with plenty of space. The hotel has a cosy bar and a restaurant. If you feel like exercising there is an outdoor swimming pool, bicycles and you can play pétanque or croquet.

Tonight we will have a dinner together at the hotel. Perhaps this will be an occasion to taste a local speciality, the green lipped mussel, with a green-coloured shell.

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island, Auckland, photo used with permission (Julian Apse)

Day 7, Sunday, March 17 — Martinborough

Today, we continue to explore Wairarapa. The first estate that we will visit is very close so we can promise a long and relaxing breakfast.

Martinborough is surrounded by small, family-owned vineyards. Today, besides pinot noir, we will get to know the New Zealand syrah wines. Syrah does very well in this dry and not too hot climate. The autumn is long and sunny and the grapes have time to develop their aromas.

We make two wine visits today and we will also have lunch together. We will have time for a walk in picturesque Greytown, a town established in 1854 and the oldest one in Wairarapa with beautifully renovated Victorian houses. Greytown was named New Zealand’s most beautiful small town in 2017.

The evening is free.

Martinborough Square

Martinborough Square, photo used with permission

Day 8, Monday, March 18 — Wellington to Blenheim

Check-out in the morning. We will go over the Rimutaka Hill to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. It will take us about an hour.

Wellington is situated on the southernmost tip of the North Island which is also more or less the middle of the country. It is also its political and administrative centre. The well-organized city is built around a large harbour. After a short sight-seeing tour with the bus, our driver will leave us at the Waterfront for a couple of hours of free time. Lunch on your own.

Early afternoon we head down to the harbour to take the ferry to Picton, on the South Island. This will be a wonderful cruise through Wellington Harbour, across the Cook Strait and through the picturesque Queen Charlotte Sound. The journey takes about three hours. Look out for dolphins and albatrosses!

We dock in the busy harbour of Picton and our bus will be there to meet us. We now have about half an hour’s journey to go to Blenheim, the main town of the wine region of Marlborough.

We check in at the Château Marlborough Hotel in central Blenheim. Here we will stay for three nights. Free evening to discover the small town. There are around 30,000 people in Blenheim and there are plenty of restaurants.

Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds, photo used with permission (James-Heremaia)

Day 9, Tuesday, March 19 — Wine visits in Marlborough

Today we have a full day amongst the vines in Marlborough, New Zealand’s largest and most famous wine region. A wine region that is almost entirely associated with sauvignon blanc.

18,400 hectares of the region’s more than 25,000 hectares are planted with sauvignon blanc. It was the almost excessive aromatic sauvignon blanc character in the Marlborough wines that took the wine world by storm in the 1980s. This style is still much sought after, but today you can also find more nuanced wines here. Some producers use oak, others are looking for a crispier, crunchy style. Some harvest riper grapes to get more body. Some experiment with wild yeast and skin contact.

Also, Marlborough’s other grapes demand attention, as they are showing some very interesting characters: pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling, pinot gris, gewurztraminer, grüner veltliner, syrah and others.

Marlborough has a huge variety of wineries, from the superstar Cloudy Bay, now owned by the French luxury company LVMH, to small, personal “boutique” wineries.

We will visit three different wineries and have lunch at one of them.

Late afternoon we are back at the hotel. The evening is free.

Auckland City

Auckland City, photo used with permission (Matt Crawford)

Day 10, Wednesday, March 20 — Wine visit Marlborough

Once again we have a full day of wine tastings in Marlborough. We will visit three more wineries. We will stay quite close to Blenheim today.

The original vine plantations in the 70s were made near Blenheim, but the vineyards have now spread both east, south and north. But Marlborough is still a fairly compact region with short distances between the wineries.

The conditions here are good for wine growing. The vines get plenty of sunshine and just the right amount of rain. The three sub-regions, Awatere Valley, Wairau Valley and Southern Valleys, offer some differences in character. The soil varies. Some Marlborough sauvignon has a sweeter fruit, more passion fruit, while others have a crispier and greener tone. But it is often up to the winemaker to decide which style of wine he/she wants to make.

In the 1970s, when the original plantations were made, the German grape müller-thurgau was popular and in 1980 it dominated, but not it has almost disappeared. In 1990, sauvignon blanc had moved up to third place with 15% of the surface but still behind müller-thurgau. Since 2000, sauvignon has been at the top. And müller-thurgau is all but gone.

Late afternoon we are back at the hotel. The evening is free.

Wine cellar in New Zealand

Wine cellar in New Zealand, photo used with permission

Day 11, Thursday, March 21 — Blenheim to Christchurch

We check out and leave Blenheim after breakfast. Today, we will enjoy a magnificent coastal landscape, birds and seals, as well as a wine region, Waipara, located just north of Christchurch.

We will travel on a beautiful road of about 50 kilometres along the coast from Blenheim down to Kaikoura which will be our first stop. The road goes so close to the ocean that we can easily enjoy the rich bird life and the New Zealand fur seals.

Kaikoura has today become a popular place for those who are interested in whales and other marine life. We will stop here for an early lunch. The city is also famous for its amazing seafood.

We will then continue south and our next stop will be outside the small town of Waipara. We are now in the eponymous wine region. It is one of the smaller wine regions with around 1200 hectares of vineyards. The first vineyards were planted as late as the 1980s but it is a promising region. It is famous for its pinot noir and riesling but also pinot gris and gewurztraminer are excellent here.

Early evening we check in at our hotel in Christchurch, Crowne Plaza Hotel. Christchurch is the biggest city on the South Island. Some of the buildings that were destroyed during the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 are being rebuilt, including the cathedral that was built between 1864 and 1904.

Free evening. The hotel is centrally located and you can easily find a restaurant. The hotel also has a restaurant if you prefer a quiet evening “at home”.

Christchurch City, Canterbury

Christchurch City, Canterbury, photo used with permission (Julian Apse)

Day 12, Friday, March 22 — Christchurch to Mount Cook, glaciers and stargazing

Today we take a little break from wine tasting (though not from wine drinking). We have a long and exciting day in front of us and we will start quite early from the hotel.

We continue to go south. The road goes through the fertile Canterbury Plains, a significant agricultural community. We will then go west, into the Mackenzie County. We make a short stop at the beautiful Lake Tekapo with its deep blue colour. We admire the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd, built at the southern tip of the lake. We continue along Lake Pukaki. We will soon have a glorious view of New Zealand’s highest mountain Mount Cook and The Southern Alps.

Our destination for the day is Mount Cook Village located in Mt Cook National Park. The park is 70,000 hectares of ice, snow, five big glaciers and 15 mountain peaks, river beds and an alpine vegetation of shrubs. Above it all, Mount Cook towers with its 3754 meters. The mountain is also known by its Maori name, Aoraki.

We will have a light lunch together before arriving at Mount Cook.

Upon arrival at Mount Cook Village, we will immediately go on an exciting and interesting trip to Tasman Glacier Lake. The trip begins with half an hour’s walk and then we will take a boat on the lake to explore the icebergs (and walk on them if the weather permits). The whole trip takes 2½ hours. The Tasman Glacier is New Zealand’s largest glacier.

Back in the village, we will check in at the Hermitage Hotel in Mount Cook Village. Later we will have dinner together in the hotel restaurant.

After dinner (!), we will have another exciting outdoor experience. We will take advantage of the fact that we are in a place that has unusually clear air and a very dark sky, far from city lights and “light pollution”. We are going star gazing. We will get an introduction at the village Digital Dome Planetarium and then our expert guide will take us to an outdoor stargazing site. Here we will try to identify the different constellations, first with the naked eye, and then with telescopes and astronomy binoculars.

Tasman Glacier, Mt Cook

Tasman Glacier, Mt Cook, photo used with permission (Vaughan Brookfield)

Day 13, Saturday, March 23 — Mount Cook to Queenstown

Check out from the hotel after breakfast. Today we will do our first visit in the spectacular wine region of Central Otago, a region known primarily for its pinot noir.

Central Otago was gold rush territory in the 1800s and the region still has a certain adventurous feeling to it. And it is fast becoming a trendy wine region.

But first, we will retrace our journey back along the shores of Lake Pukaki and pass the small town of Twizel, where many “Lord of the Rings” movie scenes were shot. The road climbs through bleak rugged hills to the summit of the Lindis Pass before descending into Central Otago.

We will do a stop before we arrive in Queenstown, close to the small town of Cromwell, in one of Central Otago’s sub-regions. This is where we’ll find, among others, Felton Road, a legend among wineries and Mt Difficulty, another pioneer. We will start with lunch at one of the wineries here in Cromwell and do a visit afterwards.

Late afternoon we check in at Novotel Hotel in Queenstown where we will stay for 3 nights. Free evening.

Lake Pukaki, Canterbury

Lake Pukaki, Canterbury, photo used with permission (Vaughan Brookfield)

Day 14, Sunday, March 24 — Central Otago

The area of Central Otago, with mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes, is stunningly beautiful. But the climate and the landscape are challenging for a winemaker. It is important to find the right spots to plant the vines.

The region sprawls out over a vast area. It is much more dispersed than Marlborough although the planted area is only 2000 hectares. Today we will travel to the southern tip of Lake Wanaka. On the other side of the lake, we see snow-covered peaks. Here are some well-known wine estates. Rippon Vineyards was one of the first to plant vines here and has since been joined by the excellent Kalex Wines and Prophet’s Rock.

We will visit two wineries today. One of them has a fantastic restaurant with a very well-known chef. Our lunch will be a tasting menu with matching wines.

We will be back at the hotel in the afternoon. There will be some free time for relaxing and strolling in Queenstown. Free evening.

Elephant Hill Winery to Te Awanga

Elephant Hill Winery to Te Awanga, photo used with permission

Day 15, Monday, March 25 — Central Otago

Today we continue to explore Central Otago. It is perhaps not surprising that this is the southernmost wine region in the world.

In the 1970s, not many in the New Zealand wine industry thought that it would be possible to make wine here. They just didn’t think the grapes would mature properly. But the long, warm and dry autumns compensate for the somewhat unstable and cool spring. Especially pinot noir feels at home with these conditions. This grape dominates in Central Otago with almost 80% of the plantings. Other important grapes are chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling and sauvignon blanc.

We will visit three different wineries around Gibbston. One of the visits will include lunch.

Late afternoon we are back at our hotel in Queenstown. A little later in the evening, we will all meet again for our farewell dinner.

New Zealand grapes

New Zealand grapes, photo used with permission

Day 16, Tuesday, March 26 — End of the wine tour

Today it is time to leave New Zealand. The tour ends after breakfast at the hotel.

But perhaps you choose to stay a few extra days to explore more of New Zealand (we can help you with the arrangements).

Day – – — Arrival back home

If you go directly home you will probably arrive one day later, depending on how long your flight is.

The program may be subject to minor modifications.

Lake Hayes, Queenstown

Lake Hayes, Queenstown, photo used with permission (Julian Apse)


Fact sheet – Wine tour in New Zealand

Dates: March 11-26, 2019

Price per person: 7,200 euro

Single room supplement: 1600 euro

Starting point: Auckland

End point: Queenstown

Included in the price:

  • 15 nights in good quality hotels, double occupancy, including breakfast
    • Several different hotels as we move through New Zealand. See the program for details.
  • Meals as described in the program (*) :
    • 10 high-quality gastronomic lunches at wine estates, all including wines
    • 3 light lunches at wine estate or restaurant, all including wines
    • 5 gastronomic dinners, all including wines
  • Start in Auckland.
  • End in Queenstown.
  • Bus transportation in comfortable coach during all days of visits as described in the program
  • Ferry or boat fees for sea transport mentioned in the program
  • All vineyard and winery visits, as per the program
  • Private, high-quality tastings at wineries (approx. 20 in total)
  • Day trips and other activities according to the program, including entry fees when relevant
  • Wine guiding and wine tutoring by an expert BKWine guide: Britt Karlsson and Per Karlsson, founders of BKWine

(*) See below for more important information on our meals.

Not included:

  • Travel (flights) to the destination, and back, from your home location.

You organise your travel to New Zealand yourself, arrival in Auckland and departure from Queenstown. If you want assistance with organising your flight tickets etc, please contact us.

We warmly recommend that you plan a few extra days here if you have the time! It is a very interesting place and well worth it! We can assist you with booking additional hotel nights if you want.

For this trip to take place we must have a minimum of 16 participants registered at the “book before” date. Maximum number of travel guests: 25.

Guide

Wine guide: Britt Karlsson, BKWine

Britt is co-founder of BKWine Tours, named World’s Top Wine Tours by Travel+Leisure Magazines. She is the author of “The Creation of a Wine” that won the World’s Best Wine Book for Professionals award by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards as well as Best Wine Book of the Year in Sweden in 2010. In 2012 she published “Wine and the Environment” that was named Best Wine Book for Professionals in Sweden and won second place as World’s Best Educational Wine Book in 2013. In 2011 she was also chosen as Wine Personality of the Year by Munskankarna and has been named one of the five most influential wine writers in Sweden.

Flights

We have chosen not to include the flights in this tour. Here’s why.

We have customers coming from many different countries and even different continents. By allowing you to book your own flights it gives you maximum flexibility in how and when to travel.

Today it is also in many cases cheaper to buy flight tickets as an individual than as a tour operator (especially a small and very specialised niche tour operator). We have chosen to put all our effort into creating an exceptional travel program and still keep the cost reasonable, instead of including a flight booking service and therefore have to cut corners on the on-location program. In this way, you as a travel guest, get much more value for your money we believe.

We will do all we can to make it easy for you to arrange your travel and can also put you in contact with a travel agent partner if you want more assistance with booking flights. Do contact us if you have any questions regarding flight arrangements.

Booking your flight to New Zealand

We suggest that you eg book a flight that arrives any time during the day of “Day 1” (or earlier). In the evening of “Day 1” we meet for a welcome dinner. This is the start of the program. If you choose to arrive earlier, we can help to arrange additional hotel nights at our hotel.

Special booking conditions

For this wine tour special booking conditions apply, different from those in our general Terms & Conditions.

Cancellation of booking can be done according to the following:

  • More than 60 days before the beginning of the trip: the Traveller pays a fee equivalent to the Booking Fee
  • 46-60 days before the beginning of the trip: the Traveller pays a fee equivalent to 75% of the total price
  • 45 days or less before the beginning of the trip: the Traveller pays the full fee

Please note: BKWine does not sell “cancellation insurance” or “travel insurance”. We advise you to contact your regular insurer or a travel insurance specialist.

Book This Trip

Book before: October 10, 2018

Booking is confirmed by paying the booking fee of 1050 EUR. Full payment should be received at the latest 60 days before the departure date (see our terms and conditions). Details on how to pay will be sent to you when you register.

You book by contacting Britt Karlsson, BKWine:

Email us:

"I am interested in the New Zealand tour in March!"

(*) = REQUIRED

 Are there any places left?
 Just curious, want more info
 I want to book!

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More on our wine tours

v.14.04

About the wine producers and wineries we visit

Ntsiki Biyela, winemaker at Stellekaya in Stellenbosch

Ntsiki Biyela, winemaker at Stellekaya in Stellenbosch, copyright BKWine Photography

Our aim is that you shall experience some of the best and most interesting that the wine region has to offer, both of wine and food.

We put a big effort into finding and creating outstanding winery visits. Often it will not be the most “famous” and internationally well-known wineries that will give you the best and most unique experiences…

It is usually when you get to meet the winemaker or winery owner himself (or often herself) that the visits become really exciting. And perhaps we even meet the whole family at the estate.

You start discussing and start to understand what it is they do and why in the winery and in the vineyard. Maybe we will also have lunch in the winery or at their home. Need we say we invariably have private wine tastings at the wineries?

That is why our trips are not “jam packed” with visits at wineries. Nevertheless we often run short of time since the discussions – and the wine tastings – can easily become very engaging…

Our wine country tours typically include a mix of small family producers, exclusive boutique wineries and larger internationally well-known wine estates, all selected with great care so that it will give you a unique experience of the people and of the behind-the-scenes in the winery and a good understanding of the wine district’s characteristics, tradition and culture.

At the time of publishing a travel program not all visits have been finalised. We are continuously working on improving the program. The domaines / wineries / châteaux that we visit on a tour may therefore sometimes differ from what was written in the original program. Contact us if you want more details, or if you have any special requests.

On meals: food and gastronomy

Preparing a wine tasting and lunch

Preparing a wine tasting and lunch

Wine and food are intimately linked. That is part of our wine travel philosophy; wine is an integral part of the gastronomy.

A wine tour with BKWine will therefore also be a gastronomic experience.

The meals that are included in a tour with BKWine are on a gourmet level and of very high standard.

Sometimes we will have a meal with a winemaker, perhaps in the wine cellar or at the winery, or even in their home. This is a unique experience that is generally not open to other visitors to wineries. It is an occasion to experience exciting combinations of food and wine while discussing with the people who made the wine.

Sometimes we will have a luxurious meal at a gourmet restaurant. At other times it may be not at a prestigious luxury address but at a local restaurant selected for its presentation of local gastronomic specialities, its atmosphere and its quality – a place where locals go. Or perhaps it will be a buffet lunch made at home by the winemaker and his wife. In all cases we want to show you local gastronomic specialities and the local food and wine pairings.

Do not expect a picnic with salad and sausage from the supermarket and wine in plastic mugs… Think instead of a wine-and-dine experience with specially composed menu with three or four courses and delicious wines.

A wine tour with BKWine is also a culinary experience both for the wine enthusiast and for the gourmet. A gourmet wine tour!

Why travel with BKWine?

Wine slowly aging in the barrel cellar

Wine slowly aging in the barrel cellar, copyright BKWine Photography

We are experts and specialists in wine and food tours and wine tourism, but also in wine in a broader perspective.

No other tour operator has a comparable knowledge and experience of wine, wine regions, wine tours and gourmet travel as BKWine.

We have organised hundreds of wine and food tours. This is what we love to do, because it is fun and exciting. What we want more than anything is to share with you all these wonderful experiences.

It does not matter if you are “a total novice” on wine and food or if you have a life-long experience in the wine sector. We will give you a very special experience, in a way that no other tour operator can do.

We write in specialised wine magazines and one of our books has won the prize as best wine book in the world. We are regularly called on to be part of judging panels in wine competitions.

We personally visit some 300 vineyards every year. We have organised several hundreds of wine and food tours with an experience going back more than twenty years. We are invited as speakers at wine tourism and culinary touring conferences.

We choose our tour destinations and winery visits with great care. Not because a winery happens to be carrying a “famous name” but because they will give our guests — you! — a unique and special experience. You may be looking for a short wine week-end holiday or a longer wine vacation; in all cases you can be confident that you will get a top quality tour, an experience of a lifetime. Or at least one that will last you until the next time you come on a wine tour with BKWine. Many of our travellers are returning clients.

A wine and food tour with BKWine is always guided by a knowledgeable and experienced BKWine guide and tour manager, someone who knows the ins and outs of wine, of the local gastronomy, of the culture and who speaks the language.

Some accolades we at BKWine and our wine and food tours have received:

  • “World’s Top Wine Tours” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, the world’s biggest travel magazine
  • “Best wine tasting holidays”, AOL Travel’s list of top wine tours
  • “Recommended Wine Tours” by Munskankarna, the world’s biggest wine tasting and wine appreciation association
  • “World’s Best Wine Book for Professionals” as well as “Best Wine Book of the Year” in Sweden 2010 for the book The Creation of a Wine
  • “Best wine book for Professionals” again in 2012 in Sweden, as well as silver, runner-up, as “World’s Best Educational Wine Book” for the book Wine and the Environment
  • “Wine Personality of the Year” by Munskankarna, the world’s biggest wine tasting and wine appreciation association
  • On the Wine Media Power List by Wine Business International Magazine (Britt, 2012)

Read more on why to choose BKWine for a wine and food tour.

Read more on what previous travellers have said about our tours.

Important information

Our groups are always small. The group size may vary, sometimes maximum 8, sometimes 20, but always of a modest size (we do not do “minimum 20, maximum 45”). Check the details in each program. This is important since it guarantees a quality experience and a personal welcome at the wineries we visit.

BKWine is a Swedish registered travel organiser. BKWine has a bonded travel guarantee deposit so that you can feel safe when booking with us. We fully comply with European and Swedish travel guarantee regulations. British travellers may be familiar with the ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) protection scheme which is a similar model. BKWine follows the code of conduct and financial safeguards defined by the Swedish Consumer Agency and The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (“Kammarkollegiet”, with a history dating back to 1539). Read more about this in our Booking Terms and Conditions.

Read the BKWine Booking Terms and Conditions here. They are important to you!

You organise your travel independently to the destination for most of our tours but on location we take care of everything.

For more inspiration

Read our wine travel blog. And also:

  • Recommend this trip to a friend using the Share/Save (add-to-any) button below!

Newsletter on wine

Subscribe to our free wine and travel newsletter, the BKWine Brief. Each month it gives you news from the world of wine, restaurant recommendations, tips on our favourite wine producers and much more. And keeps you updated on upcoming wine and food tours.

Custom Tours

We also do custom wine and food tours if you want to choose different dates or if you want something different than what we currently offer on our scheduled tours – for individuals, companies, professionals, wine tastings clubs etc.

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