A usual wine tour includes a few sips of complimentary (or sometimes not) wine, often served by a person with little knowledge of the product. Mike of Wine Safari surpassed our typical wine tour expectations with flying couleurs. He is a former chef, hotel beverage manager, and a current educator at hotel schools in Switzerland, Germany, and Holland. His knowledge of wines and viticulture extends to an understanding of the associated geography, history, gastronomy, and climatology. He picked us up at 8:30 a.m and we spent until 5 p.m. learning everything we ever wanted to know about the winemaking industry in the Rhone Valley. We visited a winery in Chateauneuf du Pape (as well as the ruins of the Pope's chateau), which included sampling almost a dozen wines. We ate lunch at a lovely outdoor restaurant before moving on to another winery in Gigondas. Mike's explanations were interesting and accessible, and he answered our questions with grace and good humor. Having him handle all the driving was a bonus - those narrow French roads can be hair-raising for us Canadians, but Mike chauffeured us with ease to places we never would have discovered ourselves. Recommend the tour without hesitation.
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