Nowadays you can find specialist cruises catering for all sorts of hobbies, whether you’re into gardening, birdwatching or cookery.
There’s even a cruise for lovers of fine wine. Celebrity Cruises has paired up with The Wine Show to attract cruisers with a taste for quality vintages. This year two of their sailings will include vineyard shore excursions, new wine lists and on-board tasting events overseen by the show’s experts Joe Fattorini and Amelia Singer.
But where do Amelia and Joe drink when they’re not at sea? Below, they reveal their favourite wine bars, from a chic Glasgow café to a rustic bar in Montenegro.
Joe’s top three
Café Gandolfi – Glasgow, Scotland
“An utterly fantastic place, serving Scottish-inspired food. You can get things like Stornoway black pudding and there’s a nice, but not particularly involved, wine list that works really well with the food. Everybody’s very Glaswegian and the motto is ‘travier travene’ – a Gaelic word that means ’good food, good company’, a rather nice sort of feeling.
“It’s named after the Gandolfi brothers who built cameras in London. The last time I was there I met somebody who had bought a Gandolfi camera. When he bought it, he photographed the Gandolfi brothers. They now have it framed on the wall: an original Gandolfi print of the Gandolfi brothers, photographed by a Gandolfi in Café Gandolfi. It’s run by a friend of mine called Seamus. They’re really lovely people – you can always be sure of a warm welcome!”
Noble Rot – Lamb’s Conduit Street, London
“When I come to London, I do go wine geeky and go to Noble Rot on Lamb’s Conduit St. It’s very nice straightforward food and a constant flow of interesting, slightly peculiar wines. There’s a team of people that can advise you. Last time I was there it was my birthday and we sat down next to Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City – one of the great novelists of the 80s and there’s me drinking Cote des Roses with him.”
Gatto Nero – Burano, Italy
“There’s a place called Gatto Nero, the black cat, on an island call Burano, which is famous for its differently coloured front doors, and is a smaller quieter version of nearby Venice. Gatto Nero is where you get to try a lot of very local prawns picked out of the lagoon with very, very local wine. When I drank there last time, I sampled an illegal wine called ‘Fraguela’. It is made illegally with the rootstocks that you graft vines onto. People harvest the grapes from these rootstocks which you’re not meant to do at all!”
Amelia’s top three
Ten Cases – Covent Garden, London
“This is one that I love in the UK. As the name suggests, they get ten cases of wine, normally from a really interesting country or wine producer and once the fridge has ten cases, that’s it. I got hooked because it is so wonderful and wacky, but also because the staff are all really helpful. I’ve discovered some really, really exciting stuff there. People from the wine trade love it and people who don’t know anything about wine find it really fun and exciting, so there’s something for everyone.”
The Sampler – South Kensington, London
“I have a soft spot for the Sampler where you can taste about 50 different wines, and it’s stocked with huge machines for tastings. Downstairs you can eat platters of cheese, although they don’t really do food; it’s more about the wine. Because of the machines I would walk past there on a Thursday and Friday night and it was like they were having a party! It’s open until midnight and is a genuinely cool venue: no fuss, no frills but really exciting wines.”
Crush – Mondeo, Montenegro
“One of my favourites is in Montenegro. Crush is beautiful and the food is amazing. It’s very rustic, with an amazing little treasure trove of wines from all over the Balkans including Montenegro, Slovenia and Croatia wine. They’ve got the perfect climate and have some really amazing grapes out there, so for me it was a really great learning experience.”
Joe will join the 11-night Best of Western Mediterranean fly/cruise onboard Celebrity Reflection, departing from Rome Civitavecchia (Italy) on 11 September. Amelia will also be onboard Celebrity Reflection for the Best of Western Mediterranean cruise with the same itinerary but departing on 9 October.
The price starts from £2,519 per person based on two people sharing an ocean-view stateroom for the 11 September sailing, and from £2,029 per person based on two people sharing an ocean-view stateroom for the 9 October sailing, and includes return flights from London Gatwick.
To book a Celebrity Cruises holiday, call 0800 441 4054, visit celebritycruises.co.uk or talk to your travel agent.
Missed it the first time round? Series one of The Wine Show is currently repeating on Fridays, 11.10pm on ITV