The vast majority of wine produced in the area is red. Only about ten percent is white or rose. This is partly due to the soil and climate. The south west of France is a limestone region with well drained gravel soils. There are three major rivers which irrigate the land and replenish nutrients.
There are various areas within the region which produce wine with different characteristics. One of the most famous is Medoc which is situated on the left bank of the Gironde. The highest quality wines come from the banks of this river and are highly prized by wine lovers. A package tour may include several of these areas of for those wishing to specialize in a particular one there are tailored tours available.
For both the novice and the keen amateur there are interesting courses in the local wine school. They have introductory classes which cover the basics of tasting and the local regional wine culture. There are also technical classes which explore the local terrain and its affect on the wine and blending classes.
Winery tours tend to follow the same pattern. Tasting is of course a huge part of the visit but also the producers will show off their vines, vat rooms, barrel rooms and cellars. It usually takes an hour or two. Depending on the size of the estate you may be shown around by the owner. This is a really special experience and could probably make a wine lover out of anyone. They are usually very passionate about their product and its history and enjoy sharing this with visitors.
There are a few times of year when it is best to avoid a trip to taste wines in Bordeaux. The winter months, December and January are cold and most wineries are busy with blending. In April the professionals are in town and are classifying the wines so vineyards are busy with them and do not usually take appointments. Most are also closed on weekends so plan a midweek trip if tasting is your priority.
The city itself is also a top tourist attraction and a World Heritage Site and there is plenty to do so you may want to stay an extra few days. There is incredible architecture, top museums and, this being Franc, extraordinary food. A wine tour package will usually include a guide, transport (you do not want to have to spit out all that wine), accommodation and some meals. Some also include a class at wine school. Many companies also offer bespoke packages so if you have particular wineries you want to visit this would be a great option.
A typical wine tour package will include visits to a variety of wine producers, a guide, transport and driver, lunches, accommodation and often a class at wine school. Most operators also offer bespoke tours. This means for people who have an interest in a particular wine or type of grape they can choose which vineyards to visit. Travel agents can also arrange stay in local villages, spa trips, history tours and more.
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