It is thought that the Romans introduced wine to the French before the birth of Christ so we are talking about a long-standing culture. Almost every region produces wine so the first decision has to be where to go. This could be based on wine preferences alone, the weather, travel time or whether to incorporate other activities into the trip. It is a large country with a rich culinary and cultural history. There are also areas of beautiful nature, cities crammed with jaw-dropping architecture and lovely beach resorts.
A good starting point is to consider the wine you like to drink. Tours are usually sold by region so this is a good place to start your decision. If you do not like red and always go for white then Sancerre would be a great place to go as the white wines from there are very popular and of a high quality. If red is your thing then you have more choice, Burgundy, Medoc and Bordeaux all produce lots of the red stuff. Some areas have a mixture such as the Loire Valley.
Another factor to consider is the time of year. Obviously the growing season and production will affect how the tour is carried out. For example, during the months when blending is taking place most producers do not accept visitors as they are too busy. This usually happens in winter. Other times when they are too busy are when the professional tasters and classifiers are visiting to test the crop. This varies depending on region. On the other hand many people like to visit during harvest time as there are festivals and it is generally a lot of fun.
If you do not know much about wine production or tasting then it is a good idea to take a class before visiting vineyards. The Bordeaux region is ideal for those just starting out as it has a wine school where you can learn the basics. It also has a region with great variety of "terroir" and so is perfect for putting your newly acquired tasting skills to the test. Bordeaux has several distinct areas some of which produce prize winning vintages.
The Loire Valley has many attractions for the visitor. In terms of wine it is home to many grape varieties, Muscadet, Sancerre and Chenin Blanc are just a few . The Loire is also a popular holiday destination for its history, chateaus, Gothic cathedrals and cultural sites. It is an area of outstanding beauty affording plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, camping and natural history.
There are lots of specialist tour agencies offering excellent trips in France, They usually have a number of packages to choose from which will include most things, accommodation, food, transport, guides and vineyard tours. They will also have lots of contacts in the French wine industry so can organize tailor made trips too. Most companies also have connections with shipping companies so you can take plenty of your favorite discoveries home.
Taking a wine tour in France is sure to be a treat for any lover of the grape juice. It is the perfect place to experience an ancient culture and learn about the intricacies of viticulture. Choosing where to go may be the hardest thing about the trip. Bear in mind that producers are closed on weekends so a short trip should be taken midweek.
About the Author:
If you like this article please shere it