The ultimate holiday experience for wine lovers, Belmond Afloat in France’s new Wine Academy for 2015 will take guests on an incredible cruise tour of Burgundy

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Luxury travel operator Belmond has announced that this year it will be launching the ultimate cruise for wine lovers, the Belmond Wine Academy, exclusive for guests travelling aboard its Belmond Afloat in France fleet of luxury barges in Burgundy.

The Academy can be added on to a bespoke itinerary and the activities are led by a local expert who can tailor the Academy’s ‘education des vins’ activities accordingly. Whether you’re a wine rookie or connoisseur, the programme can cater to introductory levels just as effectively as those who are budding wine collectors. Guests can expect an immersive and inspiring programme of talks by various experts including wine master and Belmond Afloat in France’s resident expert, Pascal Wagner. Leading the Academy programme, Pascal has been referred to as a walking encyclopedia of oenology, with over 30 years experience and a childhood spent exploring the Grand Cru vines of the region.

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Particular highlights include an introductory session with 11 different wines during lunch at Château LeFlaive in the world famous village of Puligny Montrachet, followed by a blind tasting at Château Pommard, well known for producing award-winning Pinot Noir wines. Then a Crémant tasting, Burgundy’s own sparkling wine, and an optional hot-air balloon flight across some of the finest vineyards spread over 230 hectares, for the ultimate birds eye view.

The Wine Academy is available for charter groups of four people or more, booking any cruise staying aboard Belmond Amaryllis, Belmond Hirondelle or Belmond Fleur de Lys, with various routes available along the picturesque Bourgoyne canals. The wine-focused activities offered as part of the Academy take place on three days throughout a six-night cruise.

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Belmond Afloat in France offer tailor-made itineraries around Côte D’Or, Franche-Comté, Saône, Provence, Vallée du Rhône, Canal du Midi and Burgundy. The barges can accommodate between four and 12 passengers and cruises are offered on an all-inclusive basis with a complete crew including chef, hostess, captain and tour guide. Other activities available are cycling along the canal paths, visits to local Châteaux and markets, plus cooking classes.

A week’s private charter starts from £26,400 on an all-inclusive basis including private transfer – based on 4 people travelling on board Belmond Fleur de Lys. The 2015 season begins on 29 March and ends on 18 October. Prices for the Wine Academy start from an additional £700 per person based on four people in a group.

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