National Geographic Adventure Selects Top Wine Programs for 2007

BILLINGS, MT, November 2006 – For the second consecutive year, National Geographic Adventure magazine has designated an Austin-Lehman Adventures (ALA) itinerary as recipient of “The World’s 25 Best New Trips” accolade.

Among the magazine’s “25 Best Trips for 2007″ noted in its November 2006 issue is ALA’s Okanagan Wine Country Adventure, a new program for the multi-sport adventure company whose expertise is exploring iconic regions of The Americas from Alaska to Peru. ALA’s trips are concentrated along the Pacific Coast and the mountains of Western Alaska, Canada and the US. Last year ALA was recognized for its Oaxaca Adventure in southern Mexico.

“We know by our high, 35 percent repeat guest level, that we’re taking folks where they want to go and in the style they enjoy,” says Dan Austin, Founding Partner and Director of Operations for ALA. “It’s gratifying to know that the integrity of our programs is understood by the experts in the adventure travel business as well.”

The six-day / five-night Okanagan Wine Country Adventures are scheduled July 8-13, Aug. 5-10 and Sept. 23-28, 2007. The per person, double occupancy rate is $2,698 (exclusive of air to destination); a single supplement is $575.

The adventure begins and ends in Kelowna, BC. For five days guests will enjoy hikes of up to six miles and daily biking challenges including a 25-mile ride. There will be ample opportunities as well for wine tastings while coursing through the Okanagan Valley nestled in the snow-capped Caribou, Monashee and Selkirk mountains in south-central British Columbia.

“We’re getting the best of the Canadian Rockies, Italy’s Lake District and Napa Valley all rolled into one on this trip,” says Austin.

Included in the rate are overnight accommodations in some of the finest inns and resorts in the region; round-trip transportation from Kelowna; expert, professional, knowledgeable, and safety- certified guides; park permits and entry fees and most but not all meals.

“If someone wants to push their cycling limits, this is the ideal trip,” says Austin, noting that guests are offered a range of distance options and don’t have to be expert cyclists to enjoy the trip.

The action starts on Day 1 with a cycle to Summerhill Pyramid Winery. Summerhill is Canada’s largest (65 acres) Certified Organic Vineyard, where wines are aged in an Egyptian Pyramid replica. The unique energetic effect of the pyramid produces wine that is smoother and more aromatic.

Day 2 offers more biking to the vineyards of the Naramata Bench that displays 15 boutique wineries, including the Red Rooster Winery where a picnic lunch is served and those with a passion for wine can linger on for awhile.

Day 3 showcases the work of The International Bicycling and Hiking Society that has developed a lovely little riverside trail creating an easygoing ride that is perfect for a summer or fall day. The Oliver Trail meanders along the west side of the Okanagan River and offers superb views of rural farms, wildlife and the only desert ecological reserve in Canada. A tour of NK’Mip Cellars reveals North America’s first aboriginal owned and operated winery.

Continuing to lace its way through Okanagan, Day 4 brings more cycling, this time at Osprey Lake on the Trans-Canada Trail, meandering through shady stands of towering Ponderosas and along the desert world of the Kettle Valley Railway red rock pathway.

High alpine hiking is the tenor of Day 5 on the McDougall rim with views on a clear day of the Monashee Range. Whether guests favor wine, architecture, fine food, or scenic beauty, the next stop is a highlight of the trip: British Columbia’s most awarded winery, Mission Hill. This family-owned winery was founded in 1981 and produces distinctive, internationally acclaimed wines. Crowning the hill that inspired its name, the lavish mission style architecture commemorates a long heritage of wine-making in the Okanagan Valley. There will be an architecture tour, wine-tasting and grand-finale dinner party on the terrace.

For 2007, Austin-Lehman Adventures has added seven other new trips, all in brand-new destinations, to its program of scheduled departures. Among them are Chiapas, Mexico, and Oregon’s Crater Lake.

Austin says that the new trips reflect a survey of past guests who helped determine the input for 2007′s roster of multi-sport adventures.

“Our guests are looking for a combination of healthy outdoor activities, positive cultural encounters and sophisticated lodging and dining,” he says, noting that his company’s expertise is in exploring iconic regions of The Americas from Alaska to Peru.

“We have over 20 years of experience in making sure guests are invigorated, enlightened and inspired. We choose the best destinations and provide ‘insider’s knowledge” to take guests into the heart of an experience,” he says.

Also in 2007, ALA is introducing opportunities for folks who prefer traveling solo to join special designated singles-only departures.

“There are so many single men and women ensconced in their professional lives who just want to get away and may not have the time or inclination to find a companion to travel with them,” says Austin.

Austin says this doesn’t mean single folks necessarily have to pay a higher accommodations rate; rather singles let ALA know if they want a roommate at the time of booking. If the company can’t find one, the client still gets a private room but enjoys a 50% reduction off the usual single supplement price.

For a copy of the new catalog as well as information on ALA’s 29 unique luxury, multisport, family and adult active adventure travel itineraries please call toll-free 1.800.575.1540, or e-mail info@austinlehman.com. To review current trips, schedules and itineraries you can log onto www.austinlehman.com.

Austin-Lehman Adventures specializes in upscale multisport adventures to iconic destinations throughout the Americas. Most of their small group vacations are six days and five nights in duration, and combine guided outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, rafting, canoeing, and horseback riding with nights spent at a series of distinctive inns and lodges. Lunch is usually served gourmet picnic-style along the trail, and breakfast and dinner take place at the finest cafés and restaurants the region has to offer. Prior experience is not a prerequisite and adventures cater to a wide range of abilities. On adult adventures participants need to be 16 years old or above. Expressly designed family adventures are suitable for children as young as seven (7) years of age (5 years of age on their Costa Rica Family Adventure).

ALA is also a founding member of a new travel consortium, Trusted Adventures (www.trustedadventures.com), which mixes and matches its clients to adventures in the Americas as well as in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. The alliance offers 220 unique trips to over worldwide 70 destinations.

Related Articles