During our (seemingly never ending!) latest lockdown, it’s not just the Grape Escapes UK team who are missing our much-loved customers. Our local guides are also pining for your company!
We caught up with our favourite Spanish guide, the lovely Itziar, to see how she has been doing, and we ended up reminiscing about some of the wonderful tours that she has led for us over the years.
In her own words, here are some of Itzi’s favourite Grape Escapes moments…
“Over the years, we have run so many wine tours together, to so many different Spanish wine regions, and every time I have hosted a tour with new visitors, I’ve made new friends. And that’s why I love my job so much! Visiting a wine region is not just about the wine, it’s also about the culture of the region, the locals, the traditions, the amazing sightseeing and of course the incredible gastronomy. But above all, it’s about falling in love, and experiencing the wine in all its senses, and this is exactly what we do with Grape Escapes. Your visitors fall in love with their trips, and will always remember their experiences with joy.”
“I remember a group of visitors coming to Rioja from New York. They were all work colleagues, and their boss had organised the trip as he wanted them to know a bit more about wine when taking clients out for dinner back home. We had an incredible itinerary planned, filled to the brim with wine and fun, but one thing we couldn’t meticulously plan in advance was the weather. It rained the whole time! After a great lunch and a tasting at a top winery, we got back in the coach and one of the group members suggested stopping somewhere for a coffee. So I took them all to a beautiful village that I know, and we ended up in the only bar. Due to the weather, the bar was packed with locals having coffee and playing cards in small groups. I recognised two winemakers friends, and we all started talking…”
“Picture the scene, fifteen young guys from New York and two crazy winemakers, together in the same bar in a tiny village! Everybody got on like a house on fire, so we all ended up in one of the wineries, tasting wines straight from the barrels, tasting the same wines from different vintages, and even learning about the development of wines in the bottle.
Time went so fast, and as our tummies started to rumble, we realised that we needed to eat something! Our new best friends the winemakers insisted that we stay for dinner, so we all pitched in to put together a completely impromptu dinner with local cheeses, ham, cured meats, olive oil… and even more wine! It was such a wonderful afternoon/evening… everyone learnt so much about wine, had so much fun and did things they could never have imagined. The group’s boss ended up becoming great friends with the winemakers, and they are still in touch. It was a truly unexpected situation that can only happen when you mix with the locals.”
“Magic happens when you travel. I only hope the crazy situation that we are living at the moment ends soon, and we can all go back to our lives and our dreams. Keep safe, I will be waiting!”