On the second day of our Kabaj visit we met a group of cheerful US tourists that were just starting a tour through Slovenia and Croatia. Their tour leader was Andrew Villone — a longtime friend of Blue Danube Wine Co. — who had just moved to Slovenia from Seattle with his Russian-born wife and two children to grow his Savor the Experience touring business.
“I love it here,” he told me later that night as we were sipping our Cuvée Morel on the terrace. “Running Savor the Experience from Ljubljana is so much more convenient than from Seattle. And we don’t regret the big city. The life here is much better for my wife and my kids. Plus the schools in Slovenia are excellent.”
We also talked about his plans to introduce special Blue Danube tours for wine and food lovers. The itineraries would be designed around visits to Blue Danube producers, where guests could enjoy exclusive wine tastings and food pairings. I thought this project could surely appeal to our customer community in the US.
The group left the following morning — some still sleepy as they stayed until 3am in the Kabaj cellar with Jean-Michel! — in Andrew’s passenger van for more wine, food, and cultural adventures.
Andrew has now unveil his Exclusive Blue Danube Tour itineraries for 2015. I’ll let him describe them in his own words:
It’s pretty simple. When you want great wines and insight to wine makers from Central and Eastern Europe you know and trust that Frank and his Blue Danube staff will take care of you. When you are looking to combine your enthusiasm and love of wines with travel and culinary delights then come with Savor The Experience Tours and our combined 25 years experience of running tours in Europe. Meet the wine makers, learn their stories, indulge in delicious food and wine every day, discover some hidden gems along the way and come home with a one of a kind experience.
Each of our tours spotlight multiple Blue Danube wineries (Bibich, Kabaj, Milos, Batic, Coronica just to name a few) with tastings and quality time spent with the winemakers. Two complimentary bottles of wine are sent pre-tour to each guest, reflecting the wineries visited on that specific tour. The full line of Blue Danube tours are “all inclusive” — every meal and all drinks are included. That means if you come on one of our tours without a dime in your pocket you’ll still be taken care of the whole way. We’ll even treat you to a postcard and a few espressos if you’d like!
For our first tour season we are offering three different tours that focus on Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia. And plans for a tour of Blue Danube’s Austrian and Hungarian wineries is already in the works.
10 day tour in-depth exploration of local wines and foods in Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, ancient Bosnia and alluring Montenegro. But there’s more to the places than just the wine cellars and dinner tables. Guests won’t miss out on the rich culture and fascinating histories from the oriental mystique of Sarajevo and Mostar to the traces of the Venetian empire in Hvar and Montenegro and finally to the grandeur and romance of Dubrovnik.
BD Wineries featured: Bibich, Caric, Milos, Brkic
8 day tour highlights the wine, food and hidden sights from a variety of regions stretching from Slovenia’s wine regions of Vipava Valley and Goriska Brda to Croatia’s Istria region. Savor all these fresh, organic and local culinary delights that both countries have to offer. It’s a unique experience where each day presents a special opportunity for guests to sit down, talk with and learn from a myriad of friendly local producers, wine makers and chefs in their cellars, houses, kitchens and gardens.
BD Wineries featured: Batic, Kabaj, Santomas, Piquentum, Coronica
Adriatic 2 Alps Gourmet
13 day tour begins in southern Croatia, runs along the Dalmatian coast up to the Istria region before reaching the beautiful hill towns and foodie capital of Slovenia’s Goriska Brda. It combines many guests’ favorites from Slovenia and Croatia. Highlights include Dubrovnik, Vis Island, Peljesac peninsula, Rovinj and Ljubljana. Along the way there are hidden churches to visit, traditional fishing boats to sail in, amazing castles to explore and beautiful spots such as Lake Bled to soak in the atmosphere.
BD Wineries featured: Batic, Kabaj, Milos, Piquentum, Coronica
If these none of these tours fit your schedule or you’d prefer to have a private tour with just your friends and family, we offer custom tours. Or perhaps you’d like to add a visit to Vienna, Venice or a relaxing long-weekend on one of Croatia’s beautiful islands before or after a tour? We can do that too. We create custom tours for groups as little as two people. Please contact us to and let us make your dream trip come true.