On the Trail with Garrott

We’re gearing up for ski season here at VBT. Our resident skiing expert, 2010 Olympic Skier and former member of the US Ski Team on the world cup circuit, Garrott Kuzzy, is in Europe checking out the terrain and running through our new Italy & Austria: Cross-Country Skiing the Dolomites​ vacation. Here are some of his highlights so far:

Cross Country Skiing, Winter Vacation, European Vacation

We started our Austrian adventure off after a great night’s rest at our 5-star Salzburg Hotel, Goldener Hirsch. We took the day to explore a bit of downtown Salzburg, enjoying roasted chestnuts as we made our way through a festive Saturday market.  Eventually, we wrapped up our day touring the birthplace of Mozart with a really fun Stiegel Brewery tour.

Yesterday, we met up with our local Trip Leaders in Lienz and toured Obertilliach. Next, our group enjoyed a hike in the snow. It was particularly nice for the Vermonters in the group to get out and play in the snow. We haven’t really had much at home yet. We capped off the experience warming up at Brigitte Lugger’s farm shop, enjoying local specialties and a tour of the Maria Luggau Basilica.

Cross Country Skiing, Winter Vacation, European Vacation

Today, we woke up to sunshine and hiked to the Klammerwirt Restaurant through more snow.  At the restaurant we had a great meat and cheese platter with homemade apple-pinecone schnapps. It tasted like Christmas. We chased our lunch with an hour of learning to shoot biathlon with Mayor (Burgermesiter) Matthias.

As the day wound down, a few of us took an evening stroll through the quiet village of Obertilliach. We were treated to a clear view of the starry night sky. It was a perfect ending to 3 great days in Austria and now, we’re even more excited to show our travelers this fascinating corner of Europe.

We’ll check in again soon!



Top 5 Italian Wines

In addition to iconic works of art, welcoming people and wonderful food, Italy is also often noted for its great variety of wines. Tracking down the right wine in the right region can be a bit of challenge. We’ve assembled a list of some of our favorite varietals and where to look for them, but if you find yourself in any doubt, stay local. No matter which Italian region you’re exploring with VBT, a great vineyard with delicious wine won’t be far off.

Italian Wine, Italy Wine, Travel Italy, Wine Tours

1.  Chianti Classico

On any one of our Tuscan Vacations, you’re sure to find ample opportunities to sample a Chianti or two. Perhaps the best opportunity presents itself on our Tuscan Hill Towns by Bike​ vacation. We’ll make our way from Florence to Rome, straight through the heart of Chianti Classico country. So if you’re an avid biker with a taste for deep, dry reds, then you’ll certainly enjoy your time spent on and off the bike in Tuscany’s hill towns.

2.  Rosso della Maremma Toscana

Partly made up of the premier grape in Chianti Classico – sangiovese – Rosso della Maremma is a smooth red blend, often with notes of cherry, plum and even a hint of chocolate. Take advantage of the chance to sample wine at the beautiful Fattoria di Magliano on our Tuscany by the Sea vacation. One of their signature offerings is Sinarra, a delicious example of the Rosso della Maremma varietal.

Italian Wine, Italy Wine, Travel Italy, Wine Tours

3.  Pinot Grigio

If you’re cycling through northern Italy and the crisp mountain air sweeping through the Dolomite Valleys has you in the mood for a dry white wine, then you’re in luck. This region produces some of the most notable Pinot Grigios in the world. Balanced and bright, this young white will be light in your glass and on your palette, complimenting the range of cuisine you’ll find in northeastern Italy.

4.  Primitivo

Moving south, into the Puglia region of Italy, you’ll find a wine that’s always in a bit of a hurry. Its name, Primitivo, is a reference to the grape’s tendency to ripen very early. As a result, this complex wine offers a vibrant range of flavors. But don’t let the name rush you. Be sure to take some time on your Puglia Vacation to sit back, relax and savor a glass or two.

Italian Wine, Italy Wine, Travel Italy, Wine Tour

5.  Nero D’Avola

Though its title may have already given it away, this bold wine, indigenous to Sicily is very dark in color, but surprisingly easy to drink. Up until a couple of years ago, you’d have to go all the way to Sicily just to taste it. Fortunately, the varietal has recently made a splash in the international wine scene and you can now find it in many American wine shops. But don’t worry—we’ve got a great Sicily Bike Tour in mind if you’re up for an exciting, and delicious adventure.

Like Nero D’Avola, all of the wines mentioned are readily available without making the journey to Europe, but with nine different ways to Travel Italy, VBT is sure to have a biking, walking or skiing vacation that will tempt you all the way to the Mediterranean.