Luxury sailing tour specialist SailSterling has unveiled its new 2021 programme of unique wine-themed flotilla holidays around the Aeolian Islands and a partnership with an English vineyard.
The six-night catamaran tour around the archipelago off the coast of Sicily includes visits to two of the region’s finest vineyards where wines are influenced by the dark volcanic soil on which the vines grow. Passengers will be welcomed on board with wine from Kent’s Herbert Hall Winery, which solely produces English sparkling wine.
Founded in August 2017 by London based entrepreneurs Richard Osei and Kiran Fothergill, SailSterling offers skippered all-inclusive holidays aboard its fleet of five catamarans that sleep six to eight passengers. In addition to being sold on a per cabin basis, the vessels can also be exclusively chartered by families and groups of friends. No previous sailing experience is required as each catamaran has a professional skipper and steward/chef. Guests are not required to do any sailing, but any keen sailors are welcome to help out if they wish.
Always sailing within sight of land, the voyages take in the volcanic islands of Vulcano and Stromboli, the UNESCO World Heritage island of Salina and the glamorous islands of Lipari and Panarea.
On Salina, setting for the 1994 film Il Postino, there is an exclusive private vineyard tour and tasting at the Tasca d’Almerita winery and there is a second vineyard visit to the Tenuta di Castellaro winery on Lipari, the largest island in the archipelago. On other days passengers have the opportunity to visit mineral-rich volcanic mud baths, go hiking, quad biking and kayaking or simply stroll around the islands or relax on board.
Commenting on the new tour Richard Osei said:
“For 2021, we are delighted to be launching the Wine and Catamaran Tour, which represents the culmination of months of research, field work and fine-tuning. We have worked hand-in-hand with our Sicilian partners at the distinguished island vineyards, with the imaginative local chefs on board and with our hard-working crew.”
Kiran Fothergill added:
“Our main challenge was transforming a recreational boating holiday into a luxury experience. Thanks to the natural wonders of the volcanoes, the sea, the wind and the wine, we believe our Wine and Catamaran Tour provides a luxury holiday experience. The Aeolian Islands are perfect for solo travellers, couples and groups of friends and older families.”
Commenting on the partnership with Herbert Hall Winery he said:
“As a boutique British travel company we wanted to support a similar British firm and Herbert Hall is a perfect fit.”
At the end of the 19th century Herbert Hall arrived in the Kent village of Marden to grow hops, apples, pears and plums on a gently sloping 10-acre site; later saying it was the best piece of land he had ever farmed. He built a farm that has remained in the Hall family for three generations and in 2007 his great grandson, Nicholas Hall, chose Herbert’s original site to plant a vineyard with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. Today the vineyard produces around 20,000 bottles a year of organically grown brut and rosé sparkling wine and also special cuvée for HRH The Prince of Wales.
The 2021 season of SailSterling catamaran tours around the Aeolian Islands begins on August 28 and will run for five consecutive weeks. All-inclusive prices start from £4,250 per person, based on two sharing a cabin, and include a combination of restaurant and on board meals, wines and soft drinks and two private vineyard tours with wine tastings with lunch or dinner. Groups of six can charter a catamaran for £3,152 per person.
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of SailSterling and Herbert Hall Winery