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Bon Vivant Wine Tours of Washington FAQs label

Why should we pay for a tour when we can drive to the wineries ourselves?
By leaving your driving to Bon Vivant Wine Tours, you can do your wine touring safely and responsibly, with everyone in your group participating in tasting Washington’s wonderful wines. We have made arrangements with wineries and vineyards of special distinction for each of our tours. And your knowledgeable Bon Vivant guide can provide interesting and entertaining information on wine and the local Washington wine industry.

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Do we also tour winery facilities – or do we just taste?
Each Bon Vivant scheduled excursion includes at least one opportunity for a guided tour of a winemaking facility or vineyard. Private group charters can include such tours, as you choose.

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Are all of your stops at wineries?
Most of our stops are at wineries, but we also include at least one interesting gourmet food stop per tour. On each trip east of the Cascade Mountains, we include at least one vineyard visit.

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How long do your Bon Vivant wine tours take?
Local day tours take about 6-7 hours. Longer distance full day tours are about 8-11 hours, depending on the distance traveled. On overnight and three-day tours, we average 7-8 hours of touring per day.

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How many wineries or tasting rooms will we visit?
A normal day of wine touring will include 4-6 winery or vineyard stops and one or two food-related stops.

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How many wines will we taste? What types?
Typically, you will taste 3-5 wines at each tasting stop. Although Washington first gained a high reputation with white wines like Riesling in the 1960s, current Washington wine production is about 57 percent red to 43 percent white wine. Major red grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Lemberger, but Sangiovese, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Nebbiolo are also grown. The most common white wine grapes grown in Washington are Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chenin Blanc, and Gewurtztraminer – with some plantings of Viognier, Rousanne, Madeline Angevine, Muscat, Muller Thurgau, Pinot Gris, and Siegerrebe. Fine varietal wines are made from these grapes, but the premium or “flagship” wines at many wineries are high-quality blends; don’t pass them up.

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What about tasting fees?
Most wineries -- especially in the Seattle area -- charge a tasting fee. Usually, this will be $5 to $10 per winery. Typically (but not always), the tasting fee is redeemable with the purchase of a bottle of wine tasted. Some wineries have complimentary (FREE) tastings or waive their fees for Bon Vivant Wine Tour guests. Wineries may have special reserve wine tastings available for an additional fee.

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Where do we start and finish our Bon Vivant Wine Tour?
Bon Vivant Tours will pick you up and drop you off at most downtown hotels and also at hotels in the U District, downtown Bellevue, and along I-5 and I-405. We also pick up and drop off passengers at selected convenient locations with parking, such as the Northgate and Mercer Island Park-and-Ride locations, Esquin Wine Merchants (4th Avenue S. & Lander in Seattle), and Jack Cellars (NE 80th & 15th Avenue NE just off Lake City Way in Seattle).

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What will we do for lunch on day tours?
On Yakima or Leavenworth/ Wenatchee day tours, we will visit a delicatessen or other provider of fine take-out food so that you may purchase your own picnic choices. We will then eat lunch at a winery or other location with picnic facilities. If we don’t have picnic weather or if we are touring Seattle or Woodinville wineries, we will make reservations at an attractive and reasonably priced winery district restaurant or wine bar, where you may purchase your own meal.

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What will be our lodging arrangements for a three-day tour?
For the two nights lodging on our three-day tours, we have a few excellent and conveniently located bed and breakfast inns or hotels to recommend in the wine region being toured. Although you are responsible for obtaining your own lodging, please contact us for recommendations, information on room availability, and tour group discounts. Be sure to make your reservations for lodging at the same time as your multi-day tour reservations -- and well in advance.

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What do we do for breakfast and dinner on multi-day tours?
All lodgings recommended by Bon Vivant Tours either provide an appetizing breakfast or have a good breakfast restaurant nearby, within walking distance. They also have at least one – and usually more than one – excellent dining facility nearby where you may make reservations for your evening meal. If tour guests agree on a restaurant and a common time for dinner together, there is the option of arranging Bon Vivant transportation for that. Ask us for our restaurant recommendations and for help in making reservations if you wish.

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How much does the wine tour cost?
Scheduled local Seattle area day tours cost $89.00 per person. Longer distance scheduled day tours from Seattle (to the Yakima or Wenatchee Valleys, for instance) are $129 a day per person ($119 a day per person for single purchases of four or more seats). Local sales tax (9.5% in Seattle) is additional. Our guests typically spend an additional $30 to $50 throughout a wine touring day on tasting fees, lunches, driver/guide tips, etc. Most also buy several bottles of wine to take home or for gifts. For pricing on private group charters-- whether single day or multi-day, fill out our the tour request form or call us at 206-524-8687.

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How far ahead do we have to make reservations?
Please make your reservations well ahead of time to avoid disappointment. Bon Vivant weekend tours are often fully booked 2-3 weeks in advance. Multi-day private group tours also require reservations for lodging, which should be made well in advance of the tour dates at the same time as your tour reservations. Ask for our recommendations, information on room availability, and possible tour group discounts.

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How do we make our reservation and how do we pay for our tour?
Call us at 206-524-8687 (TOUR) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time. If your call goes into our voice-mail, leave your name, phone number and the best time for a call back to take your reservation. Have your Visa or MC credit card information ready to enable us to charge your account for your tour. Or you may make arrangements to mail us a check. Please do not send your credit card information to us in an e-mail; this is not secure for financial information. When we have received your payment -- whether by credit card charge or your check, we will send you a confirmation and receipt by e-mail.

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What if we have to cancel or reschedule? What is your cancellation policy?
CANCELLATION POLICY FOR SCHEDULED TOURS: Customer cancellation of a confirmed reservation for a scheduled tour within 14 days before the tour date will be charged 50% of the quoted tour price. Cancellation earlier than 14 days before a tour will be charged a 10% cancellation fee only; for such early cancellation, Bon Vivant Wine Tours will refund any payment taken, less this 10% cancellation charge. A reschedule to a different day or a reduction in the number of guests constitutes a cancellation of the original confirmed reservation.

CANCELLATION POLICY FOR PRIVATE GROUP TOURS: Customer cancellation of a confirmed group tour within 30 days before the tour date will be charged 50% of the quoted tour price. Cancellation earlier than 30 days before the tour date will be charged a 10% cancellation fee only; for such an early cancellation, Bon Vivant Wine Tours will refund any payment taken, less this 10% cancellation charge. A reschedule to a different day constitutes a cancellation of the confirmed reservation for a private group tour. A reduction in the duration of a private group tour constitutes a cancellation of the amount of tour time. A reduction in the number of guests does not affect the total price for a private group tour -- since group tour pricing is by time and mileage and not per person. Such a reduction in number of guests will. of course, affect the group's expenses for lodging, meals, and winery fees.

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