Q: Could you give names of agencies that offer tours of wine-growing areas of France?
A: Here are some companies that may be of help.
* Holden Pacific Wine Tours, 814 35th Ave., Seattle, Wash. 98122, (206) 325-4324, offers "France in Your Glass" tours. The company will arrange tours for groups of as few as six. For 1992, the company plans a nine-night tour of Champagne and Alsace (starting in Paris) for a land cost of $2,495 a person in double occupancy, May 3 to 11 and Sept. 6 to 15. A tour of the "Great Estates of Bordeaux and Cognac" May 26 to June 11 is $2,995 a person, and Oct. 5 to 17, $3,195. A tour of Cognac and the Loire Valley, June 4 to June 16, is $2,995, and connects with the Bordeaux tour listed above. There is a Burgundy tour June 8 to 18 and Sept. 12 to 22, $2,995, and one of the Rhone Valley and Provence, June 16 to 26 and Sept. 12 to Oct. 1, for $3,595.
* X. O. Travel Consultants, 38 W. 32nd St., New York, N.Y. 10001, (800) 262-9682 or (212) 947-5530, which mainly organizes tours for wine clubs and companies, has two tours open to the public in 1992. One, of Champagne, Alsace and Germany, May 11-23, is about $3,000 a person, not including air fare. The other, sponsored by Executive Wine Seminars, a New York wine school, runs from July 23 to Aug. 2 and visits Burgundy, the Rhone Valley and Provence. It includes dining at several Michelin three-star restaurants. The land cost is $4,200 a person.
* World Wine Tours, 69-71 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6PE, England, offers about 50 tours of wine regions in Europe, all led by wine experts. The number from the United States is (44) (865) 310 344. About 30 of the tours are in France, and participants sometimes combine two in nearby regions. There will, for example, be three tours of the Loire Valley in 1992: May 3-9, July 5-11 and Oct. 11-17; the cost is about $2,100 a person in double occupancy and includes lodging, meals, wine tastings and visits to wineries. The trips to Bordeaux fall into three categories: The standard tour, with lodging in a hotel at a cost of about $1,450 a person; the "intensified" tour with more visits and tastings, June 7-11, at $1,850 a person; and finally the three-day ($1,190) and six-day wine school sessions ($2,590) in Chateau Loudenne in Bordeaux, including lodging at the chateau and meals.
Q: I am interested in a bus tour from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Can you give names of operators?
A: Here are some companies offering such bus tours.
* Maupintour, 1515 St. Andrews Drive, Lawrence, Kan. 66047; (800) 255-4266. An eight-day tour originating in Long Beach, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles, ends in San Francisco. At the start, participants spend two nights in Long Beach and take a cruise to Catalina. The tour then goes to Santa Barbara, Solvang, Santa Maria, San Simeon and the Hearst Castle, Carmel, with two nights in Monterey, Felton, and then San Francisco, where there is a two-night stay. The cost is $1,699 for a single traveler and $1,299 a person with two in a room, including 15 meals. There are 12 tours April through December.
* Talbot Tours, 1952 Camden Ave., Suite 104, San Jose, Calif. 95124, (408) 879-0101. Tours from Los Angeles to San Francisco are seven to 12 days, with several tours a year. A typical tour includes three or four nights in Los Angeles, then stops in Santa Barbara, Solvang and San Simeon, Monterey and Carmel, with a three or four night stay in San Francisco. Tours range from $90 to $125 a day, including hotel and meals, depending on the hotels and restaurants.