Toby Dunn, MBA, also a member of the Society of Wine Educators, is an avid wine collector & a lover of wine. He has explored Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Rhone, Champagne, Alsace, the Rioja, Ribera Del Duero, along with the vineyards of Piedmont, Tuscany, Lombardy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Southern Italy, Greece, Croatia, Chile & Argentina. Toby has attended the Cordon Bleu in Paris, in addition to a variety of cooking classes on cuisines from around the globe.
1. How long has the business been operating and how did it start?
I'm a wine writer and used to have friends tag along with me on my travels to various wine regions around the globe. When the the numbers reached 6-7 friends on each trip, I knew it was time to there were many crazy folks out there like me who would love a vacation centered around wine and food. The first official tour I offered was in 1978.
2. What is your company's mission?
Wine, food and travel are our passion. We are dedicated to arranging & leading exceptional food and wine related tours for the discerning traveler. Having traveled extensively within the wine regions of Europe, South America and Australia for over 35 years, our personal touch, one-of-a-kind tours are designed to provide high quality. We are wine writers and educators with numerous professional affiliations, hence, we have special access to world-class wineries, can secure accommodations in boutique properties (most of which do not accept groups), cook & dine with cutting-edge chefs, and visit prominent food producers which are closed to the public. Although our tours focus on food and wine education, we believe that history and culture are instrumental in understanding a region. Visits to important historical and cultural sites are always included. In summary, our mission is to create holidays that are fun, as well as educational, for the food and wine lover.
3. What does your company specialize in?
Our personal touch, one-of-a-kind vacations are designed to provide high value at a reasonable cost. We are wine writers and educators with numerous professional affiliations, hence, we can: • Arrange memorable private affairs at la creme de la creme wineries • Orchestrate cooking classes with cutting-edge chefs • Tour the best culinary producers • Secure accommodations in unique properties, most of which do not accept tour groups Although we focus on food and wine, we also include cultural and historical activities. Visits will be made to leading museums and other not-to-be-missed sites.
4. Who is the founder or owner of the company and briefly describe his/her past activities?
June Forkner-Dunn, PhD, is a wine educator and consumate "foodie." She has taught classes on wine at the University of London & at the American Embassy in Paris. June currently teaches classes in the San Diego Area. A member of the Society of Wine Educators for 30 years, June has published numerous articles on wine. She has a Diploma for proficiency in Italian Wines, a Certificate of Merit on French Wines from Le Comite National Des Vins de France, and has attended the German Wine Academy. She is a member of the American Institute of Wine and Food, has studied at the Cordon Bleu in Paris, as well as participated in numerous other international cooking programs.
5. What is your most popular travel package and why?
Bordeaux is probably "mecca" to most oenophiles, hence, this trip sells before it is even posted on our website. Clients who have been on other tours with us, cue up for this trip in a long waiting list.
6. What is the best compliment you received from a client?
73% of our clients return - that's a huge compliment. But the best compliment of all is that on this fall's trip to Italy for the truffle festival, 5 out of 14 of the travelers have been on our truffle tour before. They are not only repeat clients, but have signed on for the same trip a second time. Bravo!