May 2020 is shaping up to be an exciting time for food and wine tours in Italy and surrounding areas, with four fabulous wineries hosting epicurean tours during the month. These tours will take guests to experience the wine of some of the world’s greatest wine producing countries.

From tasting wine in family-run vineyards set amongst the rolling hills of the Southern Rhone region of France, to discovering the underappreciated wines of Croatia, these tours are sure to be a treat for all enthusiasts.

Plus, the tours will be shared by a group of other enthusiastic and like-minded guests, allowing you to meet other travelers and swap stories as you cruise through these beautiful regions. While food and wine will be a prime focus of these tours, there is also ample opportunity to enjoy the sublime historic and cultural attractions throughout Europe.

To introduce you to the hosts behind the fabulous epicurean cruises departing in May 2020, let’s find out what vineyards will be hosting the upcoming epicurean tours.

Harmony Cellars

Harmony Cellars is proudly presenting Food and Wine Trails’ upcoming ten-night adventure throughout beautiful Croatia. Boasting an incredibly beautiful coastline, historic attractions like the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace, Croatia is certainly a European travel destination of the moment. This particular tour starts in Verona, meaning you can add a wine tour in Italy with ease.

Croatia, of course, also has a rich winemaking history. Numerous varieties are indigenous to the country, and it is believed to be the area that zinfandel originated from.

It makes sense, then, that Harmony Cellars would host such a fabulous trip. Their vineyard is situated in a small town in California, a region that is well-known for its zinfandel. In fact, Harmony Cellars offers a brilliant zinfandel, the Grandpa Balogio Zinfandel.

This is a special name with strong links to the backstory of Harmony Cellars, a proudly family-run winery. The vineyard is located on land that has been owned by owner Kim Mulligan’s family for four generations. Years ago, her grandfather – Giacomo Balogio – created homemade wine is his basement.

Things are a little more upmarket today, with this boutique winery producing approximately 7,500 cases of high-quality wine. However, the enthusiasm for wine shared by husband-and-wife team Kim and Chuck Mulligan has not dimmed – and they are looking forward to sharing this enthusiasm with their guests on the upcoming epicurean tour.


Some of us may have dreamed of starting our own winery due to our love of a good wine – however, the husband-and-wife team of Bob and Joni Williamson put their dream into action. In 2005, they proudly swung open the doors to Ideology, their vineyard nestled within one of the United States’ premier wine regions, Napa Valley.

Bob Williamson had treasured a dream of opening a winery since he was young, inspired by wines from all over the world. It is fitting, then, that he would be one of two hosting the May 2020 cruise from Avignon to Lyon, along with Joni.

The French Rhone River needs no introduction to wine lovers. By meandering down it, you will pass through stops including the world-renowned wine regions of Burgundy and Provence. On-shore, you will have the chance to sample the exquisite wines of the region – while on board, it is all about those of Ideology.

And what a treat it will be. Within only a few years of starting their label, Ideology’s 2007 Estate Cabernet was named the 57th best wine in the world by Wine Enthusiast – a massive coup from a new producer. From there, the quality of Ideology’s wine has continued, thanks to the passion and attention to detail of Bob and Joni.

Undoubtedly, being hosted by them – and sampling plenty of Ideology wine – is sure to be a delightful way to explore this phenomenal wine region.

Paumanok & Palmer

What could be better than the knowledge and winemaking of one respected, long-established Long Island winery? The knowledge of two respected and long-established wineries – and that’s what Paumanok & Palmer offers. Originally, these were two separate vineyards that opened their Long Island doors in 1983.

Thirty-five years later, however, founders and owners of Palmer – Charles and Ursula Massoud – opted to purchase the neighboring vineyard of Paumanok. This exciting move saw the two merge to create one fabulous label. Similar terroir across the vineyards made this possible, while it has also created new opportunities.

Fresh off the back of this exciting change, Charles and Ursula are excited to welcome guests for a cruise down the Rhine River. This river hugs the border of Germany and Switzerland, sweeping guests past some of Europe’s premier wine regions.

In particular, it’s famously the home of the Riesling – a grape varietal that the Massouds know well.

Plus, there will be plenty of delightful historic and cultural sites along the way, as well as the opportunity to enjoy plenty of traditional German and Swiss food as well. Then, of course, there will be an abundance of Paumanok and Palmer wine on-board, while Charles and Ursula delight in sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm with all guests.

Kelly McAuliffe

Although Kelly McAuliffe is not a vineyard, his impeccable knowledge of wine (and especially French wine) can rival any winemaker. In fact, Kelly has been working as France’s only American sommelier over the last 17 years, meaning there is no better host for a wine tour throughout the region.

The epicurean tour with Kelly is Food and Wine Trails’ first inaugural sommelier tour, and the chance to learn from a true master is a unique one. Currently leading the French Wine Society’s Rhone education program, amongst other pursuits, there are few people better placed to host a delightful cruise.

Beginning in London, the cruise will meander through French winemaking hotspots including the Loire Valley and Bordeaux, with a brief stop in Spain’s Rioja region as well. Throughout this, you will be able to soak in the history, culture, and, of course, the wine and food. Back on the ship, Kelly will be running a range of events with a carefully curated selection of wine to enjoy.

If you wish to improve your wine knowledge, discover new trends or simply enjoy the trip of a lifetime, this is sure to be a delight.

Interested in booking one of these fabulous cruises? Contact us today to get started!