The wine travels offered by The Inspire Me Travel Company were what I was looking for, so I thought I would try a couple of their breaks.

They offer a range of affordable prices in traditional grape venues like France and Italy, and the trips I sampled mixed the wonders of the wine with the beauty of the landscape and the memorable sites of the locale.

I am going to recommend the trip I took to the Loire Valley. The couple of nights and days I spent there just continued to show me why this accessible place is so popular with the British.

Everywhere we turned there was a Chateau and garden to be explored, a glass of something and an English speaking guide by our side for those who didn’t speak French.

I heartily recommend the wines we sampled, be they a crisp Chenin Blanc, a subtle Cremant or a Sauvignon Blanc with more depth than a nuclear submarine!

I had no sooner got back, and thought I’d see if this company could repeat the trick with Italy, so headed off to Tuscany.

Of course, it’s going to be Chianti in Tuscany, but what I loved about this trip was the way we were looked after by everyone involved with the visit. This short break took me and my companions a bit deeper than just turning up, tasting wine and being given a little background information.

I actually tasted a beautiful Chianti in the former home of the Mona Lisa, and if she had been drinking what I had in my glass, then it was no wonder that she had an enigmatic smile playing across her lips!

If Leonardo doesn’t impress you then there was a three-course lunch that was so large I thought they were expecting a ravaging hoard of Medici schemers to come through for a bite to eat!

Usually I don’t do trips like this, preferring to meander about on my own, but I wanted to see what guided tours are like.

I can tell you, if you take either of these trips that I experienced you’ll feel that you have had value for money. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the cost.

Written by Tony Harries, Circle of Wine writers