Winemaking has existed for so long in Crimea, it might be considered the “mother” of the world’s winemaking. Natural conditions are perfect for a viticulture of high quality grapes for all types of wine.
About 3000 years ago the people living in Crimea started to cultivate vines for winemaking. In the 6th century BC Greek colonists appeared in Crimea, founding the Khersines settlement and viticulture was their main purpose. Khersones’ winemakers produced thousands litres of wine. They used about one third of this wine themselves and exported the rest. Archeologists found a monument from the 6th century BC which said “Agasicle was honoured by the nation with this monument for planting the grapes”. Their wine presses are still preserved in cave towns and monasteries in Crimea.
In our days Crimea makes a wide range of wines, including dry reds and whites, but the regional speciality is sweet wines such as madeira, sherry, muscatel and port. A wine-tasting at the Massandra and Inkerman cellars are a must for any visitor – whether you’re a connoisseur or just someone who enjoys good wine.
During the 8 days in Crimea you’ll visit 3 famous Crimean Wineries and the most interesting Crimean attractions:
- Massandra Winery
- Inkerman Winery
- Noviy Svet Winery
- Balaklava bay
- Livadia palace
- Vorontsov palace
- Swallow’s Nest castle
- Anton Chekhov house
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The Massandra winery near Yalta
The Massandra winery was built in the 1890’s on the Black Sea coast specifically to produce wines for the Tsar’s summer palace. Workers spent three years carving tunnels deep into Crimea’s granite mountains to provide perfect cellaring conditions for the wines. The Massandra Collection was started in the late 19th century by the estate’s winemaker, Prince Golitzin. He bought wines from other parts of Europe along with those he made in Crimea. The collection was continued after his death when Stalin ordered that all wines found in the Tsar’s palace be stored at the Massandra cellars. The Massandra archive retains at least one bottle of every wine the winery produces (it continues to make wine today), but limited numbers of its old wines are released for sale. Prince Michael of Kent visiting Massandra winery in 2012. A guided tour of the Massandra winery will take about 90 minutes. Wine tasting tours to the Massandra wine cellars is not only for wine lovers. The beautiful castle-like building of the factory, vast underground tunnels with wine cellars, old bottles of the wine collection, huge barrels where the wine matures, and the serene Crimean landscape around the winery, viticulture, some light on the winemaking technology and finally tasting of the award winning Crimean wines. You can also purchase the award winning wine at the Massandra shop to take home with you.
The Inkerman Winery near Sevastopol
The Inkerman Winery was founded in 1961 in the cave galleries of the Sevastopol area, in the small town named Inkerman. These limestone galleries were rebuilt in the 1940-s after WWII in the ruins of Sevastopol. During the next 15 years a whole city grew up under ground. Kilometres of galleries, 12 metres high and 10-12 metres wide, running to a depth of 5 to 30 metres. During the 90 minute guided tour at the Inkerman winery you will hear the history of Crimean wine making, the history of the winery, visit wine cellars, get knowledge about the technology in making dry fine wines, fortified and dessert fine wines, and have the opportunity of tasting 8 samples of wine (dry, fortified and dessert wines). The Inkerman Winery still produces Stalin’s favorite wine which you can try.
Noviy Svet winery near Sudak
Established by Prince L Golitzin in 1878. He acquired the area known as Noviy Svet on the southern coast of Crimea which is on the same latitude as southern France so the climate is perfect for growing the highest quality organic grapes. After building 3 km of cellars and planting the Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir grapes, he spent ten years refining his creation with the traditional method of bottle fermenting for three years, at a constant temperature of 15C. In 1896, his sparkling wines (Krim Sect) were served at the coronation of the last Tsar, Nicholas. That same year, Prince Golitsyn used the right to display the family coat of arms on his wines. His creation finally became famous to the world when it won a Grand prize at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900. Noviy Svet sparkling wines are made by the traditional method and the bottle fermented for three years. Each coupage is produced solely from each particular year’s harvest.
During the 90 minute guided tour you will be offered the degustation of 6 sparkling wines and learn about the history of the Noviy Svet winery as well as visiting it’s cellars and wine yard.
This 7 days Wine tasting tour will also include:
One of the must-see places in Balaklava –The Object 825 GTS – Stalin’s secret submarine base. It is the construction of the first category of anti-nuclear protection (protection from a direct hit by a nuclear bomb capacity of 100 kt) During the Crimean War, English forces were stationed at Balaklava. In two years, the Englishmen built a boardwalk, which is still a popular place for tourists to stroll. They also opened shops, pubs, hotels, and more here. At that time, Balaklava was called ‘Little London.’ A memorial plaque, ‘Balaklava 1854,’ is in the British capital today. On this spot Prime Minister Winston Churchill once stood visiting Balaklava. Winston Churchill, who was a keen military historian and a former cavalryman, insisted on taking time out during the Yalta Conference in 1945 to see the battlefield of The charge of the Light Brigade for himself.
In the 6th century BC a Greek colony was established in the area of the modern day city. The Greek city of Chersonesus existed for almost two thousand years, first as an independent democracy and later as part of the Bosporan Kingdom. In the 13th and 14th centuries it was raided by the Mongol Horde several times and was finally totally abandoned. The modern day city of Sevastopol has no connection to the ancient and medieval Greek city, but the ruins are a popular tourist attraction located on the outskirts of the city. Sevastopol was founded in June 1783 as a base for the Russian naval fleet. There are a several different theories on who the official founder of Sevastopol was. One of them states that Sevastopol was founded by Rear Admiral Thomas Mackenzie (1740–1786) a native Scot in Russian service . Five years earlier, Alexander Suvorov ( Generalissimo of the Russian Empire) ordered that earthworks be erected along the harbour and Russian troops be placed there. In February 1784, Catherine the Great ordered Prince Grigory Potemkin to build a fortress there and call it Sevastopol . Crimea is a tempting destination for anyone interested in military history. The 1854 – 1855 Crimean War battlefields are covered over by the detritus of WWII. Sevastopol has a special place in the Russian heart. Its importance is not just as a strategic port for the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The two Great Sieges of Sevastopol left a significant mark in the Russian psyche, inspiring the creation of countless poems, films and paintings by numerous artists as well as great national pride in the heroic past. Due to its military history, most streets in the city are named after Russian and Soviet military heroes. There are hundreds of monuments and plaques in various parts of Sevastopol commemorating its military past.
The palace was built for Count Michael Vorontsov in 1846 and it took 23 years to build. The Palace is very interesting from an architectural design perspective and it’s history.
Visit to Livadia palace and park
The palace is a little over 100 years old and was built as a Summer residence for the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, and his family. Romanovs loved the place and spent at least two and a half months every year in the Livadia palace. Walk where the Tsars and their families walked, see where the meeting between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill took place where they discussed the fate of Europe after the end of WWII. One of the exhibitions in the palace is devoted to the Yalta Conference which was held here in 1945. During the Yalta Conference the palace housed Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other members of the American delegation. American’s president was so taken by the palace’s beauty and grandeur that he asked Joseph Stalin if he could buy it to buy it, but of course the Soviet leader refused. Important international meetings still take place in the Livadia Palace.
Visiting Anton Chekhov’s house in Yalta
Anton Chekhov’s The White Dacha, is the house that built in Yalta and in which he wrote some of his greatest work. It is now a museum. The White Dacha was built in 1898 following Chekhov’s success with The Seagull. From the study you will be able to see the seafront that inspired “The Lady with the Dog”, and out the back the scene that inspired the setting of The Cherry Orchard is visible. He also wrote the Three Sisters and The Bishop here.
Famous “Swallow Nest” castle
As the National Geographic magazine presented the Crimean Peninsula and the “Swallow Nest” castle as one of the best Trips 2013 you couldn’t leave Crimea without visiting the famous castle. The castle was built in the early twentieth century between 1911 and 1912 on a cliff that juts out over the Black Sea. The “Swallow’s Nest” castle was built to a Neo-Gothic design by the Russian architect Leonid Sherwood for the Baltic German oil millionaire Baron von Steingel.
The existence of Yalta was first recorded in the 12th century by an Arab geographer, who described it as a Byzantine port and fishing settlement. The city is located on the site of an ancient Greek colony, said to have been founded by Greek sailors who were looking for a safe shore on which to land. It is situated on a deep bay facing south towards the Black Sea and surrounded by wooded mountains. It enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate with many vineyards and orchards in the vicinity. It became part of a network of Genoese trading colonies on the Crimean coast in the 14th century, when it was known as Etalita or Galita. Yalta was declared a city within the Russian Empire in 1838. From that moment it grew quickly, becoming a fashionable resort for the Russian aristocracy and gentry. Leo Tolstoy spent summers there and in 1898 Anton Chekhov bought a house (the White Dacha), where he lived until 1902. In imperial Russia, as soon as lots of couples with hurrying to schools children left the Crimea, wealthy metropolitan public headed for to the Black Sea coast. These people were fond of bustle-free lying on the beaches alternated with unhurried walks in the city’s waterfront promenades and adjoining neighborhoods. Yalta has a beautiful embankment along the Black Sea. People can be seen strolling there all year round, and it also serves as a place to gather and talk. There are several beaches to the left and right of the embankment. The town has a movie theater, drama theater, plenty of restaurants, and an open-air market. Price for the 7 days Wine tasting, Culture and History tour:
- Two guests – £1,495 / 2,023 euro per person
- Three guests – £1,390 / 1,880 euro per person
- Four guests – £1,291 / 1,746 euro per person
- Five + guests – £1,195 / 1,617 euro per person
What is included:
- 5 nights 3/4* Accommodation near Yalta (breakfast included) twin shared room;
- 2 nights 3/4* Accommodation in Sevastopol (breakfast included) twin shared room;
- Transfer from airport to the hotel and from the hotel to airport;
- Transportation according to the program of the tour;
- VIP winery visits and tasting Inkerman, Massandra, Noviy Svet;
- Bottle of Crimean wine in your room upon arrival in hotel near Yalta and Sevastopol;
- Admission tickets to all visited landmarks (according to the program of the tour);
- Guiding-services carried out in English/German/French/Spanish (according to your request);
- The tour can be changed and adjusted according to your wishes;
- Wi-Fi at the hotel
What is NOT included:
- Russian Visa
- Meals and Drinks not specified
- Personal expenses such as telephone, minibar, etc
- Tips and gratuities (guides, restaurants, etc)
- Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
Single room supplement: £ 128 / 178 euro extra p / p.
When you are with a group and wish to make changes to this standard program, please keep in mind that this final price depends on the chosen style of accommodation and dining. Please contact us with your group size ( no maximum group size), travel dates and preferences and we will send you custom pricing. Discounts available for larger groups. Please note this tour is available upon demand for PRIVATE GROUPS and is not a scheduled tour to be mixed with other groups. Full payment for this trip is due upon arrival in Crimea.
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