Most Delicious Wine Tours in France

France has taken its time getting around to wine tourism. The country long considered that its wine sufficed unto itself; it was renowned enough it barely needed marketing, let alone the bells and whistles of tourism. Thankfully, the country has changed its mind, exposing many Aussie wine lovers to some of the best wine trails in Europe.

Two of the most famous vineyards worldwide are located to the south of Dijon – the Côte de Nuits, from Chenove to Corgoloin, producing powerful red wines; and the Côte de Beaune, from Aloxe Corton to Santenay, renowned for its delicate red wines and its full-bodied white wines. Should you wish to expand your delicious holiday, here are 5 of our favourite French wine experiences.

1. Cité du Vin, Bordeaux

Bordeaux is wine capital of the world, so you can imagine there are numerous vineries and wine experiences here. Head to La Cité du Vin for your first introduction to wine culture. Whether you are a novice, enthusiast or professional,

La Cité du Vin will immerse you in an exploration of every facet of wine and offer up the keys to understanding the secrets of Bordeaux’s vineyards.

La Cité du Vin is a new generation museum where wine comes to life through an immersive, sensorial approach, all set within an evocative architectural design. Yes, it’s a wine museum! However, artifacts give way to high tech innovation, like the hand-held travel guide that you take around with you – it triggers the museum’s animations as you progress though La Cité du Vin.

There is also a fabulous Belvedere wine bar on the top floor, giving a panoramic view over Bordeaux while you sample the produce.

Cité du Vin:

1, esplanade de Pontac
33300 Bordeaux
Tel .: 00 33 (0)5 56 16 20 20

2. From Dijon to Meursault

If a wine museum experience isn’t your cup of tea because you love active holidays, walk regularly, are not afraid of hills and are ready to hike between 15 and 25 km per day, then you are in for a treat with one of our wine trails experiences.

The adventure starts in Dijon and takes you through a number of memorable towns including Marsannay, Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits Saint Georges / Chaux, Beaune and Meursault.

This is one of the most popular wine experiences because it encompasses hiking, wine tasting and sightseeing while travelling from town to town.

There’s so much more to see beyond the fabulous wines. Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, is home to the Musée des Beaux Arts. Marsannay, a city reputed for its rosé wines, is a history buff’s treasure with its 10th century church and ancient fortified castle. Wine trails enable travellers to discover some of the most picturesque little villages, like Aloxe-Corton, famous for white wines like Corton-Charlemagne, considered one of the best in Burgundy. Explore the super narrow streets in Beaune lined with beautiful houses, some of which date back to the Renaissance period.

3. Alsace Wine Route

Alsace is a must-see region for wine enthusiasts. Starting from stunning pine forest covered Vosges mountains in the west, the route takes you through some of the most picturesque vineyards in all of France as you head east. A tall order, we know, but we think it’s true! If you’re a fan of Riesling and Gewürztraminer wines, this is particularly the region for you.

The region’s most well-known and prominent city is Strasbourg, which in turn is perhaps best known for its magnificent historic red Cathedral, considered to be amongst the best examples of Gothic architecture.
100 kilometres away is Mulhouse, the region’s second largest town, and home to the world’s largest collection of Bugattis in the vast Cité de l’Automobile transport museum.

On the wine route itself, discovery abounds. Between the vineyards and mountains, half-way between Strasbourg and Mulhouse, Ribeauvillé is an attractive town with 5000 inhabitants, which has combined its historical heritage with modernity. This sightseeing and wine tasting experience will infuse your holiday with unforgettable memories.

There’s also Colmar, a historic cornucopia of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture crisscrossed by laneways and canals. What could be more romantic! And the ornate covered market is a definite for the foodies amongst us.
Surrounded by vineyards, nestled in a fold of green hills, Eguisheim is a medieval village whose narrow, concentric streets highlight the architectural merits of its half-timbered houses, lovingly decorated with flowers.

The vineyards of Alsace are a beautiful place to visit all-year round. It is mostly overcrowded in Summer so we recommend May/June or September/October. And if you fancy something extra special then you should definitely get on the hot air balloon.

4. Champagne

Champagne is like no other wine region in France.

This is where you start your journey meeting the people who make the bubbly in order to begin understanding the mysterious world of champagne. If you skip the famous vineyards in favour of small cellars, you’ll be able to indulge in a whole different experience – staying at winemakers’ B&Bs and dining at rural bistros, tasting excellent champagnes at every stop.

And by the way, the Champagne vineyards, their hillsides, houses and wine cellars, are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Launched by the American blogger Chris Oggenfuss who wanted to honour the wine of kings, Champagne Day is a global online event that celebrates Champagne. Google the date, it changes every year (although we can give you the heads up that it’s 19 October in 2018!) and book your visit to Champagne to celebrate in style.

And this should be on your bucket list already; check out Épernay – the capital of Champagne, a town encircled by vineyards, sitting beneath are 30km of cellars storing millions of bottles, and home to many of the most famous names – Moët & Chandon, Pol Roger, Perrier-Jouët.

Then embark on a journey. Only 80km from Paris (well outside the historic heart of Champagne), the sign outside the Fallet Dart cellars in Charly-sur-Marne proudly announces that the family has been vignerons since 1610. They may have only been making bubbly for the last three generations, but the present vigneron, Paul Dart, is innovative and ambitious – they produce roughly 180,000 bottles a year.

Despite the price tag often associated with precious French bottles of sparkling wine, many vineries offer public visits that start at very reasonable prices. These wine trails might be your biggest wine bargain indeed.

With so many famous vineries and smaller boutique makers, Champagne can be a challenging region to navigate.

5. The Loire Valley

The Loire River runs through one of France’s most varied wine regions. It is home to over 4000 wineries that produce a dizzying array of elegant, quality wines.

Like most of the vineyards of France, we can thank the Romans for getting things started. When they conquered Gaul in the 1st Century AD, they recognised the climate and soil were perfect for vines and that the river made a convenient roadway to move goods throughout the empire. By the Middle Ages, the Loire was at the heart of France.

No wonder!

This is the only region to create white wine from Folle Blanche (aka Gros Plant). There are racy whites, refreshing rosés, reds that favour fruit over force, and sumptuous sweet and sparkling wines that even rival neighbouring Champagne.

If you’d like more information regarding Wine Tours, please don’t hesitate to contact our team on 1800 242 353.