What is a wine tour?
A wine tour in France is a type of vacation where you get the opportunity to taste and get to understand the various wines of the region you have chosen to visit. Due to the historical nature of wine, wine tours can be combined with other cultural activities such a visits to local monuments, local markets, restaurants, and tours of the countryside. Furthermore, additional activities such as hot air balloon rides, cycling, and even jeep rides through the vineyards can be integrated into your vacation. So wine tours really are a great way to discover different wine-growing regions in France as you get the best of everything – local scenery, great food, historical sightseeing and of course the most important, wine!
In fact, a wine tour in France can be for anyone who enjoys a good glass of wine. You have the more « relaxed » tours which blend the wine orientated activities with more sightseeing and cultural activities and which are suited to small groups who may have partners and friends who may be less « zealous » when it comes to the more in-depth wine subjects.
On the other hand, you have the more developed wine tours where you get to visit a specific region over 5 to 7 days and which are aimed at the wine amateur who wishes to dig deeper and develop his / her knowledge of a specific wine region.
The final type of wine tour is the wine buying tour. This is usually a favourite for the wine connoisseurs who wish to combine their holiday with the opportunity to take some hidden gems back home. These organised wine buying tours provide a wine shipping service to facilitate the shipment of your favourite wine back to your doorstep.
How to organise a wine tour?
There are two ways you can go about a wine tour in France.
The first way is to do all the research yourself and plan your trip using the internet and maps. The downside to this approach is maybe the lack of knowledge of the wine region so you might miss out of some great little vineyards, plus the fact that it is hit or miss whether or not there will be someone available to show you around without making prior appointments. Furthermore, although most wine-makers in France speak some English, this is not always the case, especially with some of the smaller, potentially more interesting wineries.
The way around these inconveniences is to find a wine tour specialist who will guide you around the region you wish to discover. Many companies specialise in wine tours in France, from Burgundy to Bordeaux and you will have no problems finding a tour company who specialises in wine tours. If you choose this approach, I would recommend that you research correctly the type of tour beforehand as they are many different types of organised wine tours -some are more adventurous than others. The disadvantage of doing it this way is maybe the idea of being on an organised tour, however, some tour companies provide à la carte type tours for small groups of family and friends. Cost shouldn’t be a problem as there are wine tours in France to suit all budgets. The advantages of choosing a wine tour specialist are also knowing that you have a local guide who will take you to the most exquisite little vineyards, little pearls which only locals know about and provide you with an amazing experience. The specialised company can also take care of the necessary procedures and documentation required for shipping your precious « finds » back home, thus saving you invaluable time and stress.
You can expect organized wine tours to range from 200$ for a one day tour to 3,000$ for a 6/7 day package.