Previous Years Reviews

REVIEWS 2007. We have also reviews from 2008, 2009 and 2010, let us know if you want to read them

We had a great time on the rest of the trip and, especially, with our son in Madrid. I was sorry to see that Madrid has become dirtier (more graffiti) than before, but it was still great to be there again. The tour in Ribera with Aurora was very enjoyable. The only place we were not too happy with was the Hotel Velada in Burgos. Part of this was because it took us forever to find the place and we were very tired and frustrated by the time we got there. However, the room was not comfortable at all and not as nice as it sounded on the website. Yes, it was clean and modern, but the room was two-story, with the bedroom/bath upstairs and the living room downstairs. The stairs were so narrow that you could only take your smallest suitcase upstairs, so we had to dress downstairs in the living room. Also, they had turned on the heat and it could not be adjusted (…). We loved Lerma and the parador and, even though you didn't make the reservation, I should tell you that we also had a very good experience at the Hesperia Bilbao and the HUSA Princesa (club floor) in Madrid. And, as I told you before, the Castillo el Collado and Javier (who turned out to be the owner or manager, not the receptionist) was great and, for us, in a much better location than the Villa de Laguardia. We loved all of our winery visits, which only piqued our interest in visiting more of them. If we do, we will certainly use Rutas de Vino.
Barbara M. Texas, USA. Rioja and Ribera del Duero, November 2007

On behalves of my wine group, if I may say it so, we are very pleased with what we experienced on the excursion. - It met all our exportations. We felt that the three wine yards shown to us gave a good view of the wine production and the lowly wine producers in the Penedes area. It is always a possibility that we will return to Barcelona on another occasion. We will highly recommend Vintage Spain for other people thinking about visiting wine yards in Spain. Kindly send our best regards to Stefan, our guide for the day, who did a great job.
Alf Ove S. Norway. Penedés, September 2007

Roger Davies was a very good guide and host, and we enjoyed the tour immensely. No suggestions for improvements required.
Richard M. Tanzania. Jerez, August 2007

We are back in Perth after a really enjoyable time everywhere in Spain. We did make the bull fight in Madrid which is quite a spectacle although we wish the bull had a better chance. We also saw some great flamenco in Seville. Again out thanks for that fantastic day in Rioja and we wish you all the best for the future.
Jock M. Western Australia. Rioja, June 2007

We had a wonderful time and we really wouldn't change a thing. We were very pleased that you recommended not doing the touristy spots eg. Marques de Riscal but, instead, you took us to places that we were able to spend time with the vintner and ask lots of questions, etc. We especially liked the order in which it was done. The trip to Laguardia at the end was very unique and the lunch was terrific. We will definitely recommend your company to anyone that is travelling here to tour the wine country. I will send you an e-mail post card with pics form our tour with you. Thank you so much for the wonderful day.
Frank and Carolyn B. Kentucky, USA. Rioja, June 2007

We had a wonderful trip with Paddy. The trip to Capcanes was particularly spectacular. Thank you so much for arranging this for us.
Mel L. New York, USA. Priorat, June 2007

I am enjoying my visit to Spain. And the highlight has been the tour with you to Ribera del Duero. The wineries were all great. I told Jimmy on the drive back how hospitable they all were. And in that they are not setup for tourists, how friendly everyone was. My favourite was Perez Pascuas. I know sometimes you do two wineries and sometimes three. I am glad I got to see three. I am in Madrid now and fly to Barcelona tomorrow. Do you offer tours to Penedes or Priorata? If not, I would appreciate any suggestions you can offer. Thank you again for a wonderful day in La Ribera. I hope to see you again on another trip to Spain; and I will recommend your company to my friends.
Alan B. USA. Ribera del Duero, May 2007

First, we want to thank you for making the reservations for us at Las Carboneras. We had a table right in front of the stage, and the dinner was very good. As you said, an hour of Flamenco was enough and not too much (…) I'm having a hard time trying to think of any constructive comments that I could make about the tour with you and in Portugal. Portugal Deluxe did an excellent job in both hotel choice and winery visits, as did you. For us it was a perfect introduction to Spain. We wouldn't change the program in any way (…) If you should come to California, please send us an email beforehand so that we can work out a plan to take you to some of our favourite wineries. We have many pleasant memories of our trip with you and Alberto. Thanks again.
Pat and Dick C., California, USA. Portugal and Spain, May 2007

We had a wonderful time on our tour! It was definitely the highlight of our trip to Spain. My only regret is that we didn't buy more wine to bring home with us! Thank you again for putting together such a wonderful day for us, especially on such short notice.
Wendy G. Georgia, USA. Ribera del Duero, May 2007

The winery was wonderful. I can't remember the name of the woman who showed us around, but she was very kind and tried to explain all. A colleague of us is Spanish so he could translate all she told. After showing us the winery, the land and the process of making the wine with the big tanks, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch with an olive oil tasting. It was a wonderful day at Finca Loranque. With compliments to your organisation and the winery!
Lotte M., Amsterdam, Netherland. Toledo, May 2007

All the gang thought the tour was fantastic: the choice of bodegas and restaurants, the contrast between modern and traditional. They thought Muga was as we say (the bees knees) ie meaning the best. From my point of view everything falling into place just as you planned is a great bonus. Finally Xavier our guide was the means of bringing it all together. His easy going relaxed character helped us all to relax and enjoy the activities no matter what time of day it was. Also the hotel was great particularly its situation and the staff. I will forward you some comments that have come in this morning form our clients Also many thanks for the presents left in our rooms a very nice gesture.
Frank M. Northern Ireland. Rioja, May 2007

We had a lovely trip, I’ve been sleeping for two days now, … We really had fun spending time with you and I am so happy you showed me Lavapies, turned out to be my favourite area in Madrid. We definitely have to meet again, and it is not at all impossible that we will do something in Rioja or the northern parts of Spain. The editor was happy with what we did so hopefully we do soon again with your help. I have to return to Madrid too, I fell in love with the city, but it was a lot of work so next time I will come for a vacation and then we meet again I hope.
Jonas L. SAS Media. Oslo, Norway. Mancha, February 2006

I want to thank you again for a great, and I mean GREAT trip! Everyone was thrilled at what we did and the places that we went-Brava Cristina! I hope you enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed meeting you and having fun! ... Again, muchas, muchas gracias, we had a fabulous trip!... Thanks so much for making it fun and educational!
Dawn and Bob F. East Harwich, MA. USA - Classical Wines and Northern Spain: Madrid, Rioja, Ribera, San Sebastian and Bilbao. October 2006

Here are some thoughts: I think you provided great personalized tours at the vineyards as well as a great combination of tours (variety in what we saw). Hotels were great overall... the one in San Sebastian was located in a great place but our room had too much perfume smell. The amount of "free time" was appropriate to explore cities by ourselves. I thought the intro tour by Gaetan was a great way to meet the group and get an intro of Madrid. I think perhaps there should be an intro dinner/tapas the first night to eliminate the chaos of us trying to set up dinner plans the first night... In some cases (like Burgos) it would have been better to have a whole day to explore. Again, overall we had a great time and the experience was well worth the price.
Marcus J and Bridget W. Somerville, MA. USA - Classical Wines and Northern Spain: Madrid, Rioja, Ribera, San Sebastian and Bilbao. October 2006

Dear Christina, We had a wonderful time. Thank you for putting together such a diverse and enjoyable trip. Spain is an amazing country with so much to offer. We enjoyed all the wineries, the great food and the hotels. We appreciated Gaetan's tour even more when we returned to Madrid. The only suggestion Bill could think of is having the trip start and end in the same place for greater ease of travel. It was harder to try to negotiate the travel once we were on our own. Your packing suggestions were very helpful. The six bottles we brought back did better than the suitcases themselves did. We look forward to trying to age some of the wine and share some also with family.
Susan and Bill D. Asheboro. NC. USA - Classical Wines and Northern Spain: Madrid, Rioja, Ribera, San Sebastian and Bilbao. October 2006

Thanks for all your help. The Winery/cellars visit was a great success. Marcos Yllera looked after us all day and was a great hit especially with the young women in our group... Transport was fine -on time etc.
Frank MG. Ballymena, Northern Ireland - WINESPLUS - Rueda, October 2006

Thank you so much for putting together a great trip in a short amount of time. You took into consideration everything we wanted to do and more. You booked us tours of very nice wineries where the wine makers took time to talk with us about their wines and did not just show us the winery and then kick us out the door. You made changes to the schedule on the fly so that
we got the most out our time in Spain... Honestly we never expected to enjoy this trip so much. You went above and beyond our expectations - we will always remember this trip as being one of the best and most enjoyable trips we have ever taken.
Rachael and Doug M. Aberdeen, UK. Northern Spain Gourmet Wine Tour. Rioja, Ribera and Burgos, October 2006

Cristina, We both had a FANTASTIC time! Thank you for being so flexible with everything. This may have been our best vacation ever. We made it to both the Flamenco show and dinner at the restaurant you recommended. Both were excellent suggestions.
Marlin and Becky J. Plano. TX. USA - Northern Spain Gourmet Wine Tour. Rioja and San Sebastian, October 2006

The service from yourself and vintage Spain was fantastic, the coach transport fine (although all Spanish driving appears to be a little scary), the food really excellent, and Julian, who hosted us was the perfect host. Thanks you again, it was a magnificent day, and our entire trip to Madrid was really good.
Andrew H. London UK - Mancha, October 2006

I want to thank you for setting up an awesome day of wine tours for us. The three wineries were all very interesting and very different which we thoroughly enjoyed. I will be recommending your service to others in the US. We will return to Spain in the future and will look forward to letting you set up a multi-day tour of a number of the different wine regions. Thanks again.
Marc DS, Austin, TX. USA. Rioja. August 2006

Christina and Javier: The tour was absolutely fantastic!! (Of course, you have to realize that, for Cindy, anything that involves horses is absolutely fantastic.) Actually, the tour really was fantastic. Christina, for the two of us, you were absolutely the PERFECT guide. As two self-employed, small business people who really love learning about people in different countries, we truly enjoyed learning about your experiences, problems and issues encountered, and being treated to a real inside view of running a wine-tours business in Spain in 2006. Your knowledge of wines and winemaking was very helpful and your knowledge of when to skip the winemakers spiel and just go taste the wine met our needs and desires perfectly. Even the panicked tour of Navarette was a delight. ... no where that we have stayed has been as fantastic as Hotel Castillo El Collado there in Laguardia. The incredible beauty of the building, the vistas from the hill (and the top of the tower), the waist-band-splitting food, and the hospitality of everyone there left memories which we will not soon forget! Thanks to the two of you for all that you did to make this visit to Spain such a joy!!
Bert and Cindy H, Dallas, TX. USA - Rioja, July 2006

We had a great time -- really enjoyed the day, and particularly appreciated the variety in the types of wineries you chose. All three were very interesting, much much better than we could have done on our own.
Michael S. Weston, MA. USA - Rioja, July 2006

Cristina, We enjoyed the wine tour so much and wanted to thank you for your highly personalized service. By touring a modern winery, a traditional winery and an old, family-run winery we were really able to experience the full range of winemaking in the Rioja region. Each tour was special and your presence enhanced the trip even more! Never in a million years did we think we would be tasting wine directly from a barrel in a cave! I mean, that's the stuff you see on the Travel Channel! We enjoyed each winery and really loved our lunch; the food was amazing and they cooked lamp chops just for our table. We are now back down to earth with work and kids, but when our friends and family have asked us our favorite part of our trip to Spain we both reply, "Our Wine Tour!"
Rob and Rebecca A. Richmond, VA. USA - Rioja, July 2006

Hi Christina, to say they enjoyed it would be an understatement, my dad called it memorable (which is quite a compliment from him) he said the cathedral was stunning and he particularly enjoyed speaking with the vineyard owners/managers. My mum loved it all and both complimented the hotels, food and yourself so thanks again it meant a lot to them and thus loads to me :-)
Simon A, Grantham. Lincs. UK - Classical Wines, Rioja and Ribera del Duero, June 2006

What a memorable day we had while touring the village in Asiegu where they make Cabrales cheese. Juan was the perfect guide...warm, patient, kind and accommodating to our wishes. The two brothers who conduct the cheesemaking tour were fabulous. We visited the caves where they age the Cabrales, saw the apple orchards where they grow their crops for the Cider, then had a magnificent, traditional lunch in the banquet room next to the Sideria. For me, an avid cheese fanatic, it was the highlight of our trip to Northern Spain. We would love to book another tour through your company on our next trip to Spain. Warmest Regards,
Erin H, New Canaan, CT. USA - Asturias cheese and cider. June 2006

Thank you so much for arranging a very interesting tour in Laguargia for us. I think that we all enjoyed it a lot - and the (young) bulls running through the town was a bonus, as were the dodgem cars that caused all our old men (like me!) such amusement! The demonstration, wine tasting and the lunch were all excellent. Well done!
John C. Irish Cruising Club, Dublin, Ireland - Rioja, June 2006

Thank you again for the most excellent day out in the Vineyards. Every one was happy & several commented on your professional approach to the visit.
David & Joan. Irish Cruising Club, Dublin, Ireland - Rioja, June 2006

As for the tour, we enjoyed it very much. The restaurant at the foot of the Castle was exquisite. It was also very exciting to visit the older Arroyo winery and walk in the 400 year old caves. The castle was very interesting and our guide very knowledgeable.
Sylvain D. Québec. Canada - Ribera del Duero, May 2006

We all had a GREAT time on both tours. We would recommend your services to anyone. Also, we would love to do it again, but I don’t know how quickly we’ll be back. Thank you again for helping make our visit to Spain so enjoyable. The celebration after the game was really fun. Thank you again!
Amy C. Houston, TX. USA - Ribera del Duero and Priorat. May 2006

Cristina, It was brilliant. All the group had a great time.
Denis O. Dublin, Ireland - Penedes, April 2006

First, overall the trip was wonderful. We had a great time and look forward to visiting Spain again. As for the specifics, the Lope De Vega was a perfect choice for us for our first night. It was close to the Prado and to the Plaza Santa Ana. The people at the hotel were very nice and their ability to speak some English was good for us on our first day. The breakfast was also excellent. The Palacio de los Serrano in Sotillo was a wonderful place to stay. The room was very comfortable and staying in a city like Sotillo gave us a much better view of Spain than a "made for tourists" hotel... The Wineries in the Ribera were well chosen... ValSotillo may be the highlight of the trip for me. It was great to walk through the caves, see the barrels and bottles and have one of the owners there to answer questions. Javier was such a good translator that I still feel like my discussions with the people at ValSotillo were with them personally with no translation involved. The wines were excellent. I only wish I had spent alot more time there. The restaurant in Aranda De Duero --El Lagar de Isilla- what can I say? I will spend the rest of my life looking for that kind of lamb. Javier was an excellent translator and guide. He is also a very good guy. He was also very helpful with Denise and with the cheese tour... In the Rioja, Los Calaos was a lovely place. The restaurant there is fantastic and the rooms were very comfortable. The winery tours were wonderful. Muga had a very informative tour and we had the chance to see everything from Barrel making to racking... Christina, you were a great guide and translator. We had fun with you.
Aaron and Denise M. Sant Louis, MO. USA - Ribera del Duero and Rioja, September 2005

Donna Campos did the Classical Wines Tour with us in August 2005 and she sent us her wonderful impressions of the tour. Read the story. Donna. August 2005

Christina, The wine tour was excellent. It truly was one of the highlights of our trip. We had a very nice minibus which yielded a comfortable ride though long as we expected. We talked with Gaetan most of the way to the winery. He was really great. We learned so much, not only about the wine region, but about the people of Spain, the culture, the habits of Spaniards, and so forth. At the Valsotillo, we had a wonderful tour by one of the brothers. I was amazed by the many galleries dug into the side of the mountain, and the fact that each family had their own. I the ultimate attention to quality and preserving the history of wine making was amazing. And our lunch was wonderful. In the reception area, we were served a white wine with appetizers. Then we were seated in that lovely dining room with the breathtaking view. It was a beautiful sunny day and just the perfect backdrop for a delicious dinner. The crianza they served with the meal truly was an excellent choice. We did not arrive at Penaranda until around 6 pm. We walked around the town and saw the church from the outside, but didn't go in and Gaetan explained the architecture of the church and buildings around the plaza. Then we headed to the pharmacy which was still open and the pharmacist graciously took time from her busy job to show us around. After a very lovely day, we loaded up and headed back to Toledo.
Page F. Mebane, NC. USA. March 2005

I thoroughly enjoyed the wine tour and the excellent service we received. The two wineries you chose were excellent. I have been on tours of wineries in the US and this tour far exceeded those tours. The two people who showed us through the wineries were excellent. The tour through the Duron winery was fantastic and the meal was superb. Gaetan was so good. He not only pointed out points of interest throughout the tour but was always there to answer any questions we had. He has an excellent personality and I know he will do well in whatever he does. I enjoyed the pharmacy tour. That was so interesting and the pharmacist was so gracious to show us through her pharmacy.
Margaret P. North Carolina. USA. March 2005.

We had a great time on the wine tour. I mananged to drink two of my bottles before I headed home and the rest arrived unscathed. Thanks again and hopefully we will be back sometime in the future.
Rebecca S. Minneapolis. MN. USA. February 2005

Yes, we had a wonderful stay in Spain. I honestly think it is the most authentically beautiful country I have ever experienced. Our trip had a "dream-like" quality too it. Madrid and Toledo was impeccable. We had a wonderful experience with you... Your organization of Gaetan for us was brilliant....we learned huge amounts of information from him.
Catherine S. Boise, ID. USA. October 2004.

Thank you once again, Christina, for the fabulous time you showed us. We loved every minute of it and your love of your country shone through which made it so much more special. The places we stayed were unbelievably great, the meals were wonderful and the towns and wineries were so fabulous. We have nothing but superlatives to describe our time with you. I think you gave to us a true picture of the real Spain which we would never have seen had we been on our own.
Hopefully, we will be able to visit Spain at another time and have another tour with you. You are a very special guide and I have no hesitation in recommending you to others. Our group is meeting for dinner so we will definitely be toasting you then. Thank you once again for the fantastic time you showed us.
Bob and Sally M. Vancouver, Canada. September 2004.

Hola Cristina: We, as a group, feel extremely fortunate to have had you and your brother, Javier, introduce us to this area of Spain and the el camino... Thank you so very much for you kindness, your patience with us when trying to decide on the tour, and most importantly, your hospitality. Lou L. Vancouver, Canada. September 2004

"Christina, What a fabulous trip! We all had a great time. I can't wait to share it with my family and friends and tell them all about our wonderful trip."
"We had a wonderful time and could not have done it without you."
Mike G. and Walter C., Baton Rouge, LA. USA. September 2004

Hi Cristina! I just wanted to thank you again for putting together such a fantastic wine tour. I never expected the countryside of Spain to be so breathtakingly beautiful. The personalized service you provided us went above and beyond our expectations and we are grateful for your expertise.
Nicole E., Baltimore, MD. March 2004

We enjoyed your company as well! You were the greatest help with everything. We all enjoyed the winery tour, and the tour of Toledo, and especially hanging out with you! With everything that was going on in Spain at the time, we made the best of it and still had a great time. I appreciate you being able to give us such a wonderful day, especially during hard times!!!!!
Merry M. Virginia, USA. March 2004
(This trip was taken the day after the terrorist attack in Madrid, we tried to do the best given the circumstances. I want to thank Merry and his group for their support and understanding, it was beyond my expectations. Cristina)

Christina, I wanted to thank you for organizing an excellent day. Our group enjoyed our selves despite the weather. Your attention to detail and follow through with the day made our trip to Spain that much more enjoyable, it is hard to keep 15 people happy, but all would not have traded Friday for anything ... I enjoyed the ride back to Madrid and talking politics, life and history with you.
Fred H. Virginia, USA. March 2004

Dear Cristina, These are just a few words to express our appreciation for some wonderful days in Penedes and Barcelona. The program you made for us was just perfect. All of us have good memories from the trip Thank you very much again and I hope we will be able to use Vintage Spain also next time.
Steinar. Norway. November 30. 2003

Cristina: Greetings from Chicago! I was recently showing photos to a friend of my Spain holiday last May and especially enjoyed the memories rekindled by the photos of our wine tour. The personal attention made each winery visit all the more special and I have recommended your company to others thinking of visiting your beautiful country. I especially enjoyed the extra stop you made to show us the wine cellar/cavern under the Meson Restaurante El Lagar! I look forward to my next visit to Spain where I hope to schedule a tour of the Rioja region with you.
James B. Chicago. Illinois. USA. November 17. 2003.

Dear Cristina, Thank you so much for the wonderful tour and for these tasting notes. We were very impressed about how you had so carefully selected three very different bodegas for us to tour. We would look forward to touring Rioja again or Ribera with you. It was great spending the day in such a wonderful way. We will be recommending you to all of our friends.
Michael R. New Orleans. Louisiana. USA. October 4. 2003

Hi Cristina! We did indeed enjoy the tour so much! It was just great, next year we want to do the Ribera del Duero tour, and we’re hoping to bring some friends. It was really wonderful, we all learned so much and really had a good time.
Hope L. Chagrin Falls. Ohio. USA. July 9, 2003

We have looked through all the information sheets and booklets that you helped us to collect and boasted to anyone who would listen to us about our lovely trip to La Rioja.
You ask whether anything could be improved. We cannot find fault with the arrangements, they were perfect for us. We liked the Villa Abalos Hotel and we enjoyed all of the bodega visits, The Thematic Centre, the restaurants and the Jotas! It was just lovely to see a little of a part of the world we had not explored before and thank you. You were very attentive and did
everything we could have expected. We learnt a lot about wine making and the bodegas and have a wealth of happy memories so a big thank you.
Very best wishes, we hope your next trips are as successful and well appreciated as ours.
Martin G. Great Britain. June 2. 2003

Thank you for the wonderful trip through the wine region of Ribera de Duero. It was a full day and we enjoyed it immensely. We truly appreciated the special attention that we received at each of the three wineries that we visited. The great lunch was an added bonus. We would highly recommend your company to anyone looking for an insider's view of wine in Spain. Thanks again for a memorable trip.
Beatriz M. Bardstown, Kentucky. USA. May 27. 2003.

I (we) wanted to thank you again for an absolutely fabulous time in Ribera del Duero and at el Castillo de Penafiel. Dad and I both agreed that one of the most spectacular highlights of our trip was el Parador in Toledo. Rarely is one privileged enough to see a view that incredible. Thank you so very very much for taking us there.
Elise R. New York, NY. USA. October 22. 2002.

Hi... we all had a fantastic time in España... there's overwhelming agreement that the wine tour in Ribera exceeded everybody's expectations...I personally liked the Viña Pedrosa bodega best...however, the cellars at Valsotillo is a definite must see... the best part of the tours are the tasting at the end and the interaction with the viti and viniculturist. The stay in Sotillo was awesome...thanks again for the recommendation...Sonia was a sweetheart and very knowledgeable. Teresa said "it was a blast, most beautiful experience....Sonia was fantastic, informative, the wine and sotillo tours were very nice", and Sue agreed with her 100%..
Tomas, Cafe Ibiza, Coral Gables, Florida. USA. March 22. 2002.