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Who We Are | Wine | Gastronomy | Our Tour Experts | What Our Clients Say

XO Travel Consultants develops custom Wine and Gastronomy tours for small groups of 10 - 12 participants to large-scale corporate incentive travel programs for 200 people or more. Our clients range from wine societies and gourmet clubs to restaurateurs and corporations within the food and wine industry, to non-profit foundations.

By combining your specific interests with our specialized knowledge, we will create the perfect tour to meet the precise wishes of your group or clients.

X.O. Travel has an incomparable knowledge of the world's great food and wine regions. Since 1987, we have designed and conducted distinctive, unique and memorable visits to the wine world's most prestigious producers. We provide exclusive entrée that other organizations simply cannot offer to the grand cru estates and premier wine chateaux of FRANCE and to the foremost producers on the wine routes of Europe: ITALY, SPAIN, PORTUGAL, GERMANY, AUSTRIA, SWITZERLAND and the New World: CHILE, ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, SOUTH AFRICA.

Drawing on our broad network of experts around the world including extensive personal contacts with leading wine makers and chefs, we offer the kind of intimate, behind-the-scenes experience generally available only to the few select insiders in the wine and culinary industry.

Our imaginative itineraries can incorporate such highlights as:

We combine these features with dining in the most spectacular 2- and 3-star restaurants and off-the-beaten-path local bistros and cafes as well as splendid accommodations in world-class hotels and charming country inns.

For Corporate Incentives and Meetings, we can create special/inventive wine and gastronomic highlights to be combined with your international travel programs.

Who We Are
PATRICIA NICHOLLS, Managing Director. British-born, a graduate of Kings College, London University, and the University of Salamanca, Spain, she has accumulated 25 years' experience in the travel industry and she speaks five languages fluently. She has worked professionally managing programs worldwide for a number of large US Tour Operators before starting XO Travel Consultants in 1987. She creates our exclusive XO Travel itineraries, personally researching and visiting all the tour destinations before their inclusion in any itinerary. Over the years she has developed a wide range of friendships and contacts throughout the food and wine world. She is a member of IACP.

JAMES HORWITZ, President. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he has lived in Paris and London and the south of France and traveled the world for many years as a freelance journalist and writer, contributing to many international publications. He is a longtime wine enthusiast with numerous contacts in the wine world, and is a New York restaurant wine director and wine consultant.

Our Tour Experts
James Lawther M.W. - Bordeaux, Languedoc, Côtes du Rhône & Provence. James has been a Master of Wine for over 15 years, and is a well-known contributing editor to Decanter Magazine. He lives with his family near Bordeaux and hosts special wine tastings for XO Travel throughout Southern France.

Jacqueline Brugnon Lategan - South Africa & French Riviera. After more than 15 years in the South African wine trade and importing premium European wines, French-born Jacqueline   handles XO Travel cruise programs, golf and gastronomy itineraries and escorts our popular trips to Southern Africa.

Gunda Dignac - Bordeaux & Spain. A qualified oenologist, with unique knowledge of the vineyards of Bordeaux, Gunda conducts many tours for us in the South West of France and Spain.

Françoise Kinoo - France, Paris. Françoise has been a licensed professional guide in Paris for many years and is also a noted specialist in the field of the Impressionists. With a home in the South West of France, she is a walking encyclopedia on French regional gastronomy.

André Lilty - Western Europe. André is considered one of the most experienced Tour Managers in Europe today, and has been working with us since XO Travel began in 1987. He has a passion for European history and culture and fine Bordeaux wines. He maintains homes in Paris and Arcachon, on the French Atlantic coast.

Julia Maxlow-Tomlinson - Italy & British Isles. Julia has escorted our garden tours of the British Isles to rave reviews from all our clients. She also accompanies our Italian food and wine tours, as she is also fluent in Italian and knows the country intimately.

Brendan Moore - Burgundy, Beaujolais, Southern France. Brendan has lived in Burgundy with his family for many years and became a free-lance guide after several years as export manager at Domaine Laroche in Chablis. He is an enthusiastic fan of pinot noir and chardonnay, with an insider's unrivalled knowledge of the region.

What Our Clients Say

"You did it again! Our Chalone Shareholders experienced another memorable trip to South Africa! You contributed three very important ingredients to our successful tour... a tremendous amount of knowledge, a constant attention to detail and a delightful sense of humor. Our participants were thrilled with the results."

-Vicki Hamilton, Chalone Shareholders Group-

"This was the first time we worked with XO Travel and the experience was wonderful. They were knowledgeable, efficient and understood our specific needs. In particular, their comprehensive knowledge of the destination we wanted to visit proved immensely valuable."

-Karen MacNeil, author of "The Wine Bible",
Director of Wine Program at the Culinary Institute of America-

"We want to thank you for the beautiful tour you gave to us (AIWF Founders) in Bordeaux. All the arrangements were super, but from the moment you joined our group, the journey became more interesting and more informative. Your personality is so vibrant, and you are knowledgeable, organized and caring.

-Margrit Beiver Mondavi, Robert Mondavi Winery-

"Our group had a fabulous trip to France which you and your staff put together....Thank you and everyone at XO Travel for making this a very special trip.

-Jim Frein, Confrerie des la Chaine des Rotisseurs, Bailli,Vail Chapter-

"I wish to acknowledge how much we enjoyed and learned during our (Chalone Wine Group Shareholders) two weeks in Australia. The wide range of top wineries, the great dinners and lunches, the most interesting and varied hotel accommodations, the travel arrangements, the balance between wine tastings and general touring, all the attention to detail and the gracious and pleasant demeanor with which it was all accomplished was simply incredible.

-Robert E. Beck, Black Oak Vineyard & Winery

Some of Our Clients
Chalone Wine Group, Napa, CA
Woodward Graff Wine Foundation, Sonoma, CA
Society of Medical Friends of Wine, San Francisco, CA
Paso Robles Wine Growers Association, Paso Robles, CA
Executive Wine Seminars, NY, NY
French Culinary Institute, NY, NY
American Institute of Wine & Food, CA
The Single Gourmet, NY, NY
Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs - Vail, CO
Betty Rosbottom Culinary Group, Columbus, OH
The Pleasanton Hotel, Pleasanton, CA
Jerry Della Famina's East Hampton Point Restaurant , L.I., NY
Guy Reuge's Mirabelle Restaurant, L.I., NY
Blattmann Associates, B.C., Canada
International Wine and Food Society, Chicago, Ill.

The Royal Oak Foundation, NY, NY
The North American Strawberry Growers Association, Fond du Lac, WI
Florafax International, Tulsa, OK
Marie Selby Garden Group, Sarasota, FL
Professional Plant Growers Association, CA

Asolo Theater Guild, Sarasota, FL
La Gran Scena Opera, NY, NY
Cassandra James - French Painting Tour