PREVIEW - Athens and the Renaissance of Greek Wine
O'Brien Estate Optional 2-night Pre-Cruise Land Program

This pre-cruise land tour is not yet available for purchase. Specific details for this program are not yet finalized and the tour elements are subject to change. An email announcement will be sent to all confirmed group members 8 to 9 months before departure.

"The new Greek wines promise adventure. Not merely the pleasure of discovery, but the affirmation that even jaded palates can find something new."   Eric Asimov, Wine Writer, NY Times

Until recent years, the most common references to Greek wine were historical and mythological: gift to mankind from Dionysus, Greek god of wine…product of the world’s first cultivated vineyards…the first wines labeled according to place of origin…the first to be prized and traded internationally. But today, discussions and writings on the wines of Greece are far more likely to focus on the present. Wine enthusiasts, experts and journalists are spreading the word of an industry renaissance that is bringing Greek wines of exceptional character, quality and consistency to the marketplace.
In Greek mythology, the city of Athens was considered the most powerful and glorious town in all of Ancient Greece, and history taught us that no other city has contributed more to the civilization of mankind. Athens is the birthplace of Socrates, Plato, democracy and the Olympic Games. Ironically, it was the return of the Olympic Games in 2004 that brought about the city’s most recent rebirth.

In preparation of the Games, the city’s infrastructure was given a facelift, including a new airport, an extension to the metro system, upgrades to many hotels, a renovation of several top museums, and  the formation of a traffic-free archaeological promenade. Athens became more visitor-friendly than ever before. Not only does this city offer visitors the opportunity to visit several of the world's most significant archaeological sites, structures, and museums, it now has a wide selection of restaurants, ranging from indigenous to fine gourmet dining.

So join your fellow group members before the cruise and discover what makes Athens a food and wine lover’s top destination. Food & Wine Trails’ two-night  pre-cruise Athens package includes two nights’ accommodations in a 5-star hotel, welcome dinner, full day excursion across the famed Corinth Canal to the Nemea wine region, an Athens city tour and some of it’s important attractions, and transportation to the ship on embarkation day.
Day 1 – Independent Arrival in Athens, Greece [D]
Highlight: Welcome Dinner
The adventure begins at the 5-Star Athenaeum InterContinental Hotel (or similar), where after unpacking and freshening-up, you will meet your fellow travelers in the hotel restaurant for a private welcome dinner. Situated under the Athenian sky with a wondrous, panoramic view of the Acropolis is the Athenaeum’s highly rated restaurant, Premiere. Start with a welcome cocktail, then sit and enjoy a specially prepared wine-paired meal in this beautiful setting.

Day 2 – Nemea Wine Region [B, L]
Highlight: Winery tour, tasting and lunch 
Start your day with breakfast in the hotel restaurant and then meet the group in the lobby. Today is all about the sights, cuisine and wines of Nemea. After stopping at the famous Corinth Canal for a photo opportunity, you will continue on to Palivos Estate. The Palivos’ are fourth generation wine growers and one of the region’s first wineries. The gregarious owner, George Palivos, welcomes the group for a private tour of the estate and a tasting of their wines.

A short drive later brings you to Domaine Skouras. In 1986, Dijon-trained winemaker George Skouras established a winery in a small village just outside Argos. Within two years Skouras became the first winemaker in Greece to blend the indigenous Greek Agiorgitiko and Cabernet Sauvignon with illustrious results. Here you will tour the estate and enjoy a wine tasting followed by a wine-paired lunch. After lunch, return to Athens and spend the rest of the evening and dinner on your own.

Day 3 – Athens City Tour and Transfer to the Ship [B]
After breakfast, check out of your room and meet the group in the lobby.
From the hotel you will go on an Athens city tour that includes a visit to the Acropolis. You’ll go on a guided tour and have time to explore the new Acropolis Museum, where there are over 4,000 items on display. Depart Athens and drive to Piraeus, where you will board the ship in time for a late lunch.