8 fantastic wine tours to discover in France
France is home to some of the best wines in the world and its vast wine regions produce between seven and eight billion bottles a year, accounting for nearly 30 percent of global wine production. The rich soil, known as terroir in French, the idyllic weather conditions, strict government standards and centuries of perfecting techniques for cultivation, aging and bottling, are the reason why French wine is so revered. Burgundy, Bordeaux, Provence, Champagne and Loire are the main wine regions of France and produce the best wines.
Wine lovers usually have France at the top of their list for wine tours, and we’ve put together a list of the best wine tours in France for their enjoyment.
Based in Dijon, Authentica Wine Tours specializes in tours of the Burgundy region, where some of the most exclusive and expensive French wines come from. Authentica was created in 2008 by Nicolas Guidard, a Burgundian whose father and grandfather worked the land. He wanted to share his love and knowledge of Burgundy, its fine wines and its cuisine. Over the years Guidard has hired experts in wine, geology, culture and history to round out the business and introduce innovative tours that weren’t done before.
Authentica offers private and small-group tours, with half-day, full-day and multi-day tours and prices ranging from 65 euros per person for the half-day to one-day group tour. 2-day private tour for 1180 euros for two people.
The most prestigious tour is the one-day Grand Cru, The Best Of Burgundy, which includes the best Burgundy wines with a tasting option of 6, 10 and the ultimate indulgence, 15, and a three-course lunch and a cheese course at the estate of a renowned Burgundy winegrower. Other tours on their list include the full-day Passion tour, which is a tour of the city and surrounding areas of Beaune, with tastings of five to seven red and white wines, the full-day Bourgogne Gourmet with a tasting of up to 14 wines, five culinary sites offering cheeses, chocolates, cold cuts and pastries, and a lunch of Burgundy cuisine prepared by a private chef or in a Michelin-starred restaurant.
All tours use late model luxury vans with air conditioning.
Airport transfers, concierge, and wine shipping are some of the other services that Authentica can provide.
Explore the wine regions
Michael C. Higgins of Pasadena, California, has tirelessly pursued the best wine regions in France and around the world for over 20 years. His expeditions and adventures have made him a world-class wine expert. They also spawned a series of magazine articles, travel guides and table books, including his latest on Bordeaux for which he also photographed and wrote the text.
Higgin’s business, Exploring Wine Regions, includes a wine tourism division that offers various wine tourism options, such as personalized itineraries for one or two week wine tours, a comprehensive study abroad program. for full and private university credit, small group tours with Michel.
The Exploring Wine Regions website also lists a free e-book with insider wine secrets.
Bordeaux wine routes
The highly rated Bordeaux Wine Trails (they won the Travelers Choice 2020 badge on TripAdvisor) offer wine and gastronomic experiences of the famous Bordeaux region. Half-day morning and afternoon (5 hour) group tours include a brief visit to the village of Saint Emilion, a visit to a Grand Cru or Grand Cru Classe winery, and either a special wine and dark chocolate tasting agreement, or a tasting of local delicacies. From April to September, a half-day wine tour of the MÃ©doc is offered to cabernet lovers, which includes a visit to a Margaux or St Julien wine estate and a tasting of Cru Bourgeois wines accompanied by local products. . The cost for half-day group tours is 72-85 euros per person.
Bordeaux Wine Trails can also schedule private full day tours to explore the Saint-Emilion or Medoc regions. The Saint Emilion circuit includes a return pick-up from your hotel or place, a visit to a Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classe estate for a visit and a tasting, a lunch in an authentic brewery, a walk in the village of Saint Emilion, a tasting at the Grand Cru estate, followed by a visit to a Pomerol wine estate. The MÃ©doc tour includes visits to wine estates in the region of Saint Julien or Saint EstÃ¨phe, Pauillac and the region of Margaux with lunch in a restaurant or a picnic on a wine estate. Personalized itineraries are also offered at Bordeaux Wine Trails.
Discover how champagne’s mysterious bubbles were born along with many other fascinating stories and facts about the iconic drink with a Champagne Tour with O’Chateau. Based in Paris, O’Chateau is a wine bar and wine tasting company that also organizes day trips to Champagne.
The full-day tour of O’Chateau (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) in a small group includes transport to and from Paris in a newer model air-conditioned van with an expert and friendly sommelier leading the tour. The experience consists of three guided tours of different Champagne houses and their cellars and facilities. The first visit is to a grand champagne house, where you go underground into deep chalk caves and learn about the process of making champagne from grape to glass. The second visit is to a private champagne house where you also have lunch in their dining room. The last visit is to a small champagne house. The tour also includes three champagne tastings at each location and coffee and croissants in the van for breakfast. Tours can also be privatized.
While in Paris, enjoy wine tastings and classes in the beautiful wine bar and private rooms of the O’Chateau, conveniently located near the Louvre.
The Loire Valley
Vincent Delaby worked in the tourism sector for 15 years before embarking on a new career inspired by his family heritage, wine tours. He first developed his expertise and craftsmanship in wine by working in cellars and vineyards, followed by training in wine tourism and obtaining a Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certificate.
Delaby’s company, VinoLoire, offers various half-day and full-day Loire wine tours for small groups and private tours. Half-day excursions go either to the Vouvray and Montlouis regions in the morning, or to Touraine de Chinon and Azay in the afternoon. Tours include tastings of red, white, and rosÃ© wines, accompanied by local cheeses and cold meats, an explanation of the winemaking process, and a walk through the vineyards. The one-day tours start from the same places as the half-day tours and then extend to the regions of Sancerre and Pouilly. Day trips can be organized from Paris.
VinoLoire offers other fun activities in the Loire in addition to wine tours, including cooking classes, wine pairings, food and market tours, a chateau visit with a qualified historian and a wine cruise on a authentic wooden boat.
Specializing in tours of Lyon and neighboring regions, Kanpai Tourism offers an impressive list of small-group and private wine tours. The MÃ¢con and Beaujolais regions produce some of the best Chardonnay and Gamay wines, including MÃ¢con Villages, Pouilly Fuisse, St VÃ©ran, Fleurie, Brouilly and Moulin-Ã -Vent. On the full day tour of Macon and Beaujolais, from 9am to 5.15pm, you are first driven by the Macon Route des Vins route with stunning scenery and Solutre Roch, a 1,600 foot high natural rock. in limestone. Tastings begin with a selection of white wines from a family estate in the village of Pouilly Fuisse, while introducing you to vinification and barrel aging of Chardonnay. After the tasting, lunch is served in a bistro with Beaujolais cuisine (lunch is not included in the price of the trip). In the afternoon, you will experience another panoramic walk through the Beaujolais wine routes. You will then visit another family winery producing Beaujolais, which uses Gamay grapes, followed by tastings of ârawâ red wines.
The northern CÃ´te du RhÃ´ne wine region is the source of popular Shiraz and Syrah wines such as CÃ´te RÃ´tie, Condrieu and Saint-Joseph. Kanpai Tourism offers a half-day Shiraz and Syrah tour that includes visits to two wineries and five to six tastings each.
ChÃ¢teauneuf Du Pape wine tour
The very famous ChÃ¢teauneuf du Pape wine is one of the oldest wines in the world, dating from the Gallo-Roman period from the 1st to the 5th century. Planet Provence’s private ChÃ¢teauneuf du Pape tour offers a historical overview of the region with a highly qualified wine guide and tastings. The guide will pick you up and take you back to your location within a 10 km radius of Aix en Provence.
Owner Brice de Monplanet and his wife have made their home in Provence since 1997, and Brice has had an impressive career spanning 15 years with international wine companies. Then he changed course and trained in oenology at the prestigious Montpellier Ludivinum school. Pursuing his passion for wine, he founded Planet Provence.
A scenic route
Xavier Cabanne grew up in Paris and then moved to the Chicago area as an adult. A few years ago, Cabanne reconnected with his love of France and launched A Scenic Road, a company that organizes private and personalized tours of France for small groups. In 1898, Cabanne’s great-great-grandmother founded a small wine estate in Burgundy, and it is still in business today. With his vast in-depth knowledge of wine, Cabanne can design the perfect wine tour of Burgundy, Champagne and Bordeaux with tastings at smaller and lesser-known wine producers. In addition, A Scenic Road can also organize fun activities such as bike rides in the countryside, visits to a mustard factory, visits to wine museums and dinners at a Michelin star restaurant.
Pro tip: Wearing flat, covered shoes or sneakers is highly recommended, and also bring a jacket or sweater even in summer as the wine cellars are cold and humid.