Duration: 8 Days
Location: Slovenia & Croatia
Price: $3000
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This tour is specially created for clients and friends of Blue Danube Wines. It’s an in-depth wine and slow-food experience focusing on Slovenia and the Istria region of Croatia. Visits to many of your favorite Blue Danube wineries: Batic, Kabaj, Santomas, Piquentum and Coronica.

Slovenia and Istria boast a diversity of climates, landscapes, terroirs and influences from their neighbors as well as their storied past. This translates into very rich food cultures with numerous distinct micro regions, each with their own long-standing traditions, specialty dishes and wine varietals. Everything is on such a small scale it makes guests feel like they are actually guests, not tourists.

This tour highlights the wine, food and hidden sights from a variety of regions stretching from Slovenia’a wine regions of Vipava Valley and Goriska Brda to Croatia’s Istria region. Savour 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.

Guests are transferred to/from Ljubljana airport (LJU) at the start and end of tour. It is possible to arrive or depart from Trieste (TRS) or Venice for an additional fee.

 

 

    • • Savor five courses of regional specialties over lunch in Goriska Brda, Slovenia’s premier wine region

      • Enjoy an evening of sparkling wine tastings and dinner at a converted 13th century chateau

      • Survive a full day with local vintner tasting the wines of Vipava Valley

      • Indulge in more than a dozen gourmet goat cheeses, plus olive oils and wines in Croatia’s Istria region

      • Visit many of your Blue Danube favorites: Batic, Kabaj, Santomas, Piquentum and Coronica wineries

  • Upon Request – If you are interested in this tour we run it for groups of 4 or more. Please contact us for availability.

  • $3000

    All Inclusive: 8 dinners (wine included at each meal), 7 lunches, 8 nights lodging at B&B and farmhouses (en-suite),  8 wine tastings, other tastings per program (cheese tastings and olive oil), transport, private guide, transfers to/from Ljubljana airport or train station.

  • Kabaj Morel Wines ranked in Top 100 Wineries in the world.

    Kumparicka goat cheese farm in Istria

     

 

Itinerary

Day 1: Savor a five-course dinner in Slovenia’s beautiful Brda region

Overnight: Brda, Slovenia

Transfer from airport. Visit to the castle of Predjama, tucked away in a honeycomb of limestone caves and filled with legends of a Slovenian Robin Hood. Then it is on to Goriska Brda, packed with vineyards, orchards, winding country roads and small medieval villages. Arrival at Kabaj Morel winery. Before dinner, tour the wine cellar with Jean Michele to learn wine making traditions and methods including the use of amphoras (known as qveri in their native Georgia). A special 5-course dinner paired with Kabaj wines awaits. Each dish is served one of our hosts’ wines. The variety of culinary traditions (Slovene, Friulian, Habsburg) have intertwined on this strip of land, giving Brda cuisine its special touch. Overnight at Kabaj’s guesthouse.

Day 2: Taste Brda’s sparkling wines, olive oils and Rebula wine

Overnight: Brda, Slovenia

Morning to enjoy a scenic walk through villages and vineyards of Brda. Wine tasting with small plates of a light lunch in Collio (Italy). Visits to olive oil producers and lavender makers from Brda. This is the northern most point in Europe where olives grow. Dinner will be at Bjana Winery in a chateau built by the counts of Gorizia in the 13th century. It’s now the home to Bjana, one of the finest sparkling wine producers in Slovenia. We’ll tour the wine maker’s cellar, learn about the traditional method of sparkling wine (where secondary fermentation takes place in bottles), taste four sparklings and enjoy his wife’s delicious home cooked meal. Overnight at Kabaj’s guesthouse.

Day 3: Explore the Vipava Valley wines with local winemaker

Overnight: Vipava Valley, Slovenia

Depart Brda and head into Vipava Valley, where the burja wind can blow at 200km an hour and make wine growing a bit challenging to say the least. Learn the history of wine making here and enjoy a one of a kind opportunity to sit down and talk shop, technique and business with Matjaz, owner of Tilia Winery. Simple lunch at the his house and visits to two or more local wineries. Slovenians love to celebrate St. Martin in style so some of today’s fun will be taking part in the festivities and traditions in Vipava. As such, late afternoon activities and dinner will be unscripted yet guaranteed to be memorable and it will include a visit to the Batic family’s vineyard for tour and tasting. Overnight at boutique hotel.

Day 4: Discover Slovenia’s unique Karst region

Overnight: Vipava Valley, Slovenia

A glimpse into the heart of Slovenia’s barren, rocky karst region. First a walking tour around Stanjel, the captivating hill town with many lovely old stone houses and a castle housing a gallery of local artists. Then a special lunch and wine tasting in one of the tiny Karst villages. Local delicacies will be prepared by the chef of celebrated Ruj restaurant. Renčel wines will accompany the meal. Josko is the most innovate winemaker in Karst with his large array of Teran wines and excellent orange (or amber) wines. Teran wine is the essence of the Karst – red soil, the north wind bora and sun, and its dark red color and the distinctive flavor best expresses the terroir. Enjoy a Lipizzaner carriage ride through the Karst’s pretty back country. Traditional dinner with prosciutto and other regional specialties at the Skerlj farmhouse which has been in the family for over 400 years. And make sure to save room for their honey ice- cream!

Day 5: Experience the slow food magic of Istria

Overnight: Istria, Croatia

Visit to the country’s prettiest town, the small Venetian-inspired Piran, wedged upon against the Adriatic coast. Lunch and tastings at garden in Slovenia’s Istria region. This unique homestead offers a beautiful Mediterranean herbal garden, views to the Adriatic and a specially prepared lunch. Enjoy a walk in the their garden and learn best how to use herbs in the kitchen. The owner of this house is head of Slow Food for this region of Slovenia. Sample home made cheese, marmalades, olive oil, herbal salts and jellies made from combinations of wine and herbs. Visit to Santomos winery for tastings. Cross over the border to Croatia and into Istria, the country’s finest region for food and wine. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in one of the small Istrian hill towns.

Day 6: Get a taste of Croatia’s Istrian wines and hill towns

Overnight: Istria, Croatia

Explore the small hill town of Momjan  before visiting and tasting at Coronica winery to taste indigenous varietals such as Malvazija and Teran. Lunch in Hum, Croatia’s smallest town, featuring good comfort food – soup of maize (‘bobici’) and a chance to try the town’s specialty – mistletoe brandy. Visit to meet with Dimitri, a young Frenchmen whose Croatian heritage brought him to start Piquentum Winery. Late afternoon to browse Groznjan, not just another hill town as this one is packed with artisan shops and art galleries. Dinner of succulent lamb, veal and potatoes baked under a metal lid, known as ‘ispod peka’ in Croatia.

Day 7: Indulge in gourmet goat cheeses and charms of Rovinj

Overnight: Istria, Croatia

Visit to Motovun hill town in the morning, home to Mario Andretti and great views around the Mirna River valley and forests of Istria. A very special afternoon lunch at a goat farm making gourmet cheeses (semihard cheeses and fresh cheeses). Meal includes stew, home cooked soup with specialty sausages and local wines (Malvazija and Teran from BD fave Piquentum) to go with a smorgasbord of cheeses – nearly 20 different kinds! No one will go away hungry as there is also local stews and home cooked soup with Istrian sausages. Sunset and drinks along the Adriatic in the charming Venetian seaside town of Rovinj filled with a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets and medieval buildings. Light dinner back at hotel.

Day 8: Eat and drink like locals in Slovenia’s charming capital city!

Overnight: Kranj, Slovenia

Depart Croatia and visit a small Slovenian village near the border to see colorful wall to wall frescoes in its 12th century stone-built church. Then it’s on to Slovenia’s capital city of Ljubljana with time to browse baroque-filled old town, riverside cafes and outdoor market and enjoy a foodie walking tour of this charming city. Our local in the know will introduce guests to side street cafes and local pubs where locals outweigh the tourists. Late afternoon arrival into medieval town of Kranj, surrounded by beautiful mountains and home to the country’s most beloved poet. Fantastic dinner and overnight at boutique hotel located in the old quarter.

End of Tour — transfer to airport morning of Day 9

or extend your Slovenia experience for a few more days. Explore the pristine nature of lakes Bled and Bohinj in the gorgeous Gorenjska region. Or enjoy the rural and idyllic charms that await in Slovenia’s southern regions where wine roads, spa towns and castles dot the countryside.

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