Italian Grape Escapes
Italian Grape Escapes
Exclusive guided wine tours for groups of 4/6 friends in the beautiful, undiscovered area of Friuli Venezia Giulia, North East Italy.
Udine, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy

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2 reviews
Very good

Lincoln, UK47 contributions
Oct 2019
This is a wonderful trip full of new discoveries from a largely unknown wine region that produces consistently high quality wines at incredibly reasonable prices.

Our hosts, Linda and Ivan, guided us expertly through a range of local experiences that you would never discover without their expert local knowledge. Ivan was born and worked as a wine maker in the region and thus has a deep insight into the locality; everything from wineries and restaurants to little local bars. This is not a traditional tourist destination so you will feel that you are in the heart of rural Italy where your experience is as a local rather than as a tourist. Linda makes sure that everything that you require is catered for. We tasted some fantastic local ham on our first day and Ivan and Linda sourced it for us to take home on our departure. This was typical of the attention to detail that we enjoyed.

It is difficult to fully describe these four days so I have broken it down into sections

Wine - This is after all a wine tasting tour! We chose the Collio tour because we wanted to experience new tastes rather than the more familiar Prosecco. You can choose the pace of days but we visited seven wineries overall. The Friuli wines cover reds, whites and sparkling. Each of the wineries offered something different – large or small, organic and experimental and within very different settings including the grand and ancient. Prosecco is widely available but we passed this by to enjoy the local sparkling, Ribolla Gialla which we all agreed was far more interesting than the UK Proseccos that we are used to. Each variety was a little different either in fruit, dryness or bubbles. The local white wine, Friulano which was often priced under 5euros, was consistently good and varied in each of the places but always of a good quality. Other local whites were unfamiliar to us but consistently interesting and very drinkable such as Picolit (a beautiful dessert wine). The region uses many grape varieties that we were both familiar and unfamiliar to us which added to our interest and education! The red Refosco Dal Peduncolo ranged from simple easy drinking to more complex and rich depending on the winery. Many other reds were available with merlot being consistently available as was cabernet franc and all very palatable.

At each winery there was an opportunity to be talked through the available wines and taste the wide range available (and always with beautiful hams and cheeses). The insight of Ivan and the local oenologists/winemakers really brought to life the wines that we tasted. I am not a wine expert but everything was explained in a way that made sense to a keen wine drinker.

At some wineries we viewed the whole production process while at others the focus was on the tasting. The balance of learning and tasting was just right for us but the itinerary was never fixed, if you asked a question we would often be taken off into a part of the winery to be shown something that would illustrate the explanation.

Wine can be bought at every venue and Ivan and Linda arrange for it to be shipped back to the UK for a charge per bottle. We bought lots!!!!

Eating – We ate well throughout the trip. Restaurants were local favourites offering the food of the region accompanied by local wines. Traditional Italian dishes abounded supplemented by many local Friuli offerings using Polenta, Pork and other local specialities. One of our group was Coeliac and arrangements had been made at each restaurant to ensure that everyone could enjoy the local fare.

Accommodation – We stayed in a lovely little six room B&B in Camino al Tagliamento. The place was clean and had everything that we needed. A large dining table and kitchen table allowed us to eat and drink at breakfast as if it was our own place even though one or two other guests were also staying. The Kitchen was available 24/7 with decent coffee making facilities and access to a stocked fridge as and when required. The village (1700 pop) has a church, bars, bakers, butchers and a few shops. On a couple of days we walked out in the morning to have coffee with the locals.

Travel – We were driven in a very comfortable minibus by Any(Annie). From being picked up at the airport taken to our Pensione and on to wineries and then to restaurants and back in the evening – it was very comfortable and flexible. Water was always available in the vehicle and there was plenty of legroom (I’m 6ft 3in).
This is not a trip where you want to be worried about driving so being driven everywhere in comfort is a godsend.

Other trips – We visited the local estate, Villa Manin, and received a private tour with Sabrina (Ivan’s sister) and Eduardo. Again this local knowledge enabled us to see parts of the Villa that were not normally available to the general public. We also visited Cividale del Friuli which is a UNESCO heritage site.

In summary, this is a great trip for anyone that enjoys wine. It is great fun and we laughed a lot in our group, with our hosts and despite the language barrier with the locals. If you want a different local experience of Italy I could not recommend this tour more highly.
Written 14 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Carmarthen, UK14 contributions
Oct 2018 • Friends
We have just been on one of these tours and I would highly recommend it. You see the real Italy, guided by Ivan who has lived in the area so knows all of the best places to go. Which meant the food and drink were exceptional!

The vineyards were amazing - and it was really great to see the different types of wineries from big scale to smaller family-run ones. And the wine was pretty amazing too - my fave was the Refosco, a red that only grew in that region. I couldn't get any in my case though!

We were all looked after from start to finish and we can’t wait to do it again - we're just corralling more friends to come with us!
Written 26 April 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ITALIAN GRAPE ESCAPES: Tickets, Tours & Tips (with Photos)