Thousands of wines at your fingertips

Search database of wine reviews
Read about wines BEFORE they hit the stores
Match wines with foods



A gift for the literate wine-lover in your life – who may be you. Tony's murder mystery novels, set in the world of wine, are now available at a discount – autographed.

Find out more...

Listen to Tony

Listen to Tony talk about wine on 680 NEWS radio on Fridays at 10:48 am, on Saturdays at 2:48 am and 9:48 am, and on Sundays at 12:48 am and 1:48 pm.
Tony Aspler
Wine Reviews
Food & Wine Match
Personal Wine Cellar
Pocket Wine Cellar
Gourmet Recipes
Wine Primer
More Tony Aspler
Tony's Books Tony's Books
Ontario Wine Awards
About Us About Us

E-mail Address or
Forget Password?


All about sparkling wine Port wine 101 Pairing food and wine Pairing wine and cheese What wine to serve with chocolate Why we like to visit wine country A wine tour of Italy Germany and German wines Wine touring France: Cognac and Bordeaux Wine touring France: Burgundy A tour of California wine country











More Events  

The Wines of Northern Spain 

A wine-and-food tour through northern Spain, from the Basque country via Rioja to Catalonia, hosted by Tony Aspler and featuring VIP wine tastings at top estates, including Muga, CVNE, Vina Tondonia, Codorniu, Torres and others.

12 days, from Wednesday, May 19, to Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tour price: $4,995 from Toronto, based on double occupancy – Single room supplement: $750.


MEALS INCLUDED: B(reakfast), L(unch), or D(inner)

Day 1 – Wednesday, May 19:
Late afternoon departure from Toronto International Airport to Paris with Air France. Dinner as well as a light breakfast will be served on board.

Day 2 – Thursday, May 20: [In-flight breakfast, D]
Early morning arrival in Paris and short connecting flight to Bilbao, Spain where a deluxe private coach (equipped with AC, WC, audio/video, etc.) will be waiting. Short drive before our arrival in the coastal city of San Sebastian, capital of the Basque province of Guipúzcoa and our base for the next 3 nights. Time to unwind after checking into the city's premier hotel, the 5-star Maria Cristina. ( A welcome dinner this evening near the hotel.

Day 3 – Friday, May 21: [B, L]
A full day to take in San Sebastian. Playground of European gentry in the era of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and still retaining its air of Belle Époque elegance, San Sebastian is one of Europe's hidden gems. The town is set on a crescent bay framed by two book-end mountains, and its many highlights – white sand beaches and boardwalk, beautiful architecture, wide avenues and fabulous shopping – can all be enjoyed within walking distance of our hotel. San Sebastian is not only considered Spain's greatest culinary destination, it boasts the highest concentration of Michelin stars per capital of any city in the world (including Paris!). To gain some appreciation of this, our lunch today is at the celebrated 2* Restaurante Akelarre (, renowned for its innovative New Basque cuisine served in a panoramic setting on a cliff overlooking the Cantabrian sea. Free time later this afternoon and this evening for shopping and to explore the town's legendary and plentiful pintxos (tapas) bars in the Parte Vieja (old town).

Day 4 – Saturday, May 22: [B]
After breakfast those interested can join us for a walk to the Mercado de la Bretxa, an underground market offering a dazzling display of fresh local fare. Later this morning we will venture a short distance northeast of the town along a scenic coastal drive to the fishing town of Hondarribia, located only a stone's throw away from France. Free time for lunch in either the historic center of town or in one of the many seafood cafés along the marina. Return to San Sebastian for a free afternoon and evening. Perhaps an optional dinner this evening at one of the 3* Michelin institutions Arzak or Martin Bersategui?

Day 5 – Sunday, May 23: [B,D]
Morning hotel check-out and departure for Bilbao, the largest city in Spain's Basque Country and the capital of the province of Biscay. Visit the city's famous Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art (designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry), which is largely credited with the city's recent renaissance as an arts and culture destination. Time for lunch in Bilbao or nearby before late afternoon departure south towards Spain's famous Rioja wine district. Early evening arrival at our base for the next 3 nights, the Hotel Villa de Laguardia ( Dinner this evening at hotel or nearby.

Day 6 – Monday, May 24: [B,D]
Time to explore the charming, walled village of Laguardia with its perfectly preserved, cobbled streets and many shops. Late morning visit to the impressively designed Bodegas Ysios (producer of a number of exceptional 100% Temperanillo reserves). Free time for lunch following our arrival in the town of Haro – centre of the Alta region of Rioja, and home to a cluster of several world class bodegas. Afternoon VIP visit to R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia, one of Rioja's most historic and distinctive bodegas. Group dinner this evening in a specially chosen restaurant.

Day 7 – Tuesday, May 25: [B]
A full day of Riojan touring and tasting via the charming towns of Elciego and Cenicero. Before lunch we will pay a visit to Marqués de Riscal, a very traditional bodega which contrasts remarkably with the adjacent wine-themed hotel (designed also by Frank Gehry). Free time for lunch in nearby Elciego. VIP tour and tasting this afternoon at Bodegas Muga. Free time for dinner this evening but for those interested, the bus will head to Logroño – Rioja's largest city, where we will join the locals thronging the legendary tapas bars along its Calle San Juan and Calle Laurel.

Day 8 – Wednesday, May 26: [B,L]
Early morning departure east towards Catalonia – our destination for the remainder of the tour. Break for lunch in or near Zaragoza. Approaching Barcelona, we'll enter into the Catalan wine growing region of Penedes where we'll stop for a special invitation visit to Codorníu, which has been producing wine commercially since 1551. One of the most breathtaking wineries in Spain, Codorníu's cellars were declared a Monument of National Historical Artistic Merit by King Juan Carlos I of Spain. Here we'll enjoy a tasting of cava – Spain's answer to Champagne's sparkling wines. Late afternoon arrival in Barcelona and our centrally located hotel for the remaining 4 evenings of our tour – the 4* Hotel Condes de Barcelona ( Free evening.

Day 9 – Thursday, May 27: [B]
Full day exploration of Barcelona – capital of Catalonia. This morning we'll pay a visit to La Boqueria market, one of the largest and most spectacular food markets in Europe and a true paradise for "foodies," followed by a guided tour of the heart of Barcelona. Celebrated amongst other things for its 20th century avant-garde architecture, Barcelona is particularly famous for its "Modernista" style, a Catalan Art Nouveau movement launched at the end of the 19th century. In addition to its architectural masterpieces, many of which are within walking distance of our hotel, the city boasts numerous cultural attractions, and has become one of Europe's primary gastronomic destinations. Many exceptional dining experiences are accessible within walking distance of our centrally located hotel. Free evening (group dinner arrangements will be made for those interested).

Day 10 – Friday, May 28: [B,L]
After breakfast we'll depart for the Priorato wine region of Tarragona, a unique pocket of black hills to the southest of Barcelona where powerful, deep red wines of superb quality are produced. Only over the past two decades, since new vineyards with both foreign and native varietals were planted, have the wines from this region achieved their now worldwide renown. By personal invitation of Tony's friend Miguel Torres, this morning our group will visit the Torres's Priorato Estate for a tour and tasting. Following lunch nearby we will head to the Conca de Barbera D.O. for an exclusive tour of Torres's Milmanda Castle accompanied by a tasting of their wines from the surrounding vineyards. Early evening return to Barcelona and free evening.

Day 11 – Saturday, May 29: [B,L]
Late morning departure south from Barcelona for another VIP tasting and tour at Torres's Penedes estate followed by an exceptional "farewell lunch" by special invitation of Miguel in his private restaurant in Mas Rabell. Late afternoon return to Barcelona and free evening.

Day 12 – Sunday, May 30: [B]
After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport and return flight with Air France, via Paris, to Toronto.

Tour price, based on double occupancy: $4,995 from Toronto.

Included in the price:

  • Return airfare with Air France
  • Accommodation (based on double occupancy) in first-class or "best available" hotels (the single supplement is $750, but please note that only a limited number of single rooms are available, so book yours early!)
  • Sightseeing, visits, and wine tastings as shown in the itinerary
  • Transportation by private deluxe coach (with extra seats removed for added leg room)
  • Breakfast daily and a total of seven dinners (or full lunches), some with wine included
  • Porterage of one suitcase per person

Not included:

  • Wine, beer, mineral water and similar beverages with dinners, though some meals will include wine
  • All items of a personal nature
  • A gratuity for the coach driver, approximately $30
  • Airport taxes and security fees, presently approximately $350, but subject to change
  • Travel insurance, available as follows:
Deluxe package insurance:
Non-medical insurance:
Up to age 59: $305.46
Ages 60 to 64: $375.84
Ages 65 to 69: $451.44
Ages 70 to 74: $592.92
Ages 75 to 79: Call for rates

With single supplement
Deluxe package insurance:
Non-medical insurance:
Up to age 59: $335.88
Ages 60 to 64: $413.64
Ages 65 to 69: $496.80
Ages 70 to 74: $645.84
Ages 75 to 79: Call for rates

95 Dalhousie Street, Brantford, Ontario N3T 2J1
Tel: 519-753-2695
Fax: 519-753-6376
Ont. Reg. #1034992


Reservations should be made as early as possible to ensure the departure of your choice. A deposit of $750.00 is required at the time of registration. Your reservation is confirmed upon receipt of your deposit and application form. No reservations will be accepted without a signed application form.

Because the rates of Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. are based on group participation, no refund can be made for any tour accommodation or tour service or tour feature not taken. If cancellation occurs while the tour is in progress, no refund can be made for the tour portion not taken. We strongly suggest that, to allow for any unexpected contingencies, you purchase the all-inclusive insurance.

Refund of deposit is made in full if cancellation is received in writing by Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. more than 90 days prior of the departure date of the tour less a $250.00 non-refundable administrative fee per person. For cancellation received in writing 90 days prior or less the following cancellation charges apply:
90 days to 46 days before departure: 25% of tour cost
45 to 15 days before departure: 50% of tour cost
within 14 days prior to departure: 100% of tour cost

Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. reserves the right without notice, to withdraw any part or all of the tour. Factors such as airline schedule changes, hotel overbookings, inclement weather, etc. may necessitate changes in the itinerary as outlined. There may also be other circumstances in which changes become necessary or advisable. Any savings realized by these changes will be passed on to the passengers, any resultant expenses shall be borne by the passenger. Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. acts only as an agent in securing hotel, transportation and other travel services and in no event shall be held responsible for the failure by any person or company to render any transportation, lodging or other travel service to be provided on the tour. All hotel, transportation and other travel services are provided to tour members subject to all the terms and conditions under which they are offered to the public generally. The acceptance of the initial service to be provided under the tour shall be considered an acceptance by the tour member of those conditions. Pauwels Travel Bureau Ltd. also reserves the right to decline, to accept or retain any person as a member of the tour, in which case equitable refund will be made at the discretion of the tour operators.

Trans-Atlantic economy flight by scheduled IATA carriers, based on charter class fare. Other fares may also be used. All fares are subject to specific rules and regulations, to changes and to government approval.


Please book ___ seat(s) on the "Wines of Northern Spain" tour of May 19–30, 2010.

Enclosed is my/our deposit of $___ ($750 per person, plus insurance premium if taken.)
Deposit and insurance premium, if taken, are due with registration. You will be invoiced for the balance approximately 45 days prior to departure.


Name as it appears on passport. Indicate the appropriate title before each name (Mr., Mrs., Miss, Dr., Ms.)

NAME(S): ____________________________________________

If applicable, give your commonly used first name as you would like it to appear on your name tag: (e.g. "Liz" for "Mary Elizabeth")

ADDRESS: ___________________________________________

_______________________________ Postal Code: __________

(Residence) ______________

(Business) ______________

(Fax) ______________

If traveling alone, please indicate your willingness to share accommodations: YES ___ NO ___ SINGLE ROOM REQUIRED ___

(We will try to find a roommate for those willing to share, but cannot guarantee success in doing so. For single travelers we are not able to match, the single supplement will apply.)

SPECIAL REQUESTS: (Dietary, wheelchair assistance, frequent flyer number, twin beds, etc.): Please list here so we can do our best to assist you:



I/we agree to the "terms and conditions" attached to the program.

Insurance, I/we accept:

All-inclusive Package ___
Non-medical Package ___
Decline Insurance ___

Signature(s) __________________________________________

If purchasing travel insurance, we require your date of birth:

Name: ______________________ Date of Birth: ____________

Name: ______________________ Date of Birth: ____________


___ Cheque payable to Pauwels Travel
___ Visa
___ Mastercard
___ American Express

Amount Paid: $______

Card Number: ____________________________________

Expiry date: _______________




More Events