France is globally renowned for its excellence in wine production and is an ideal destination for wine tourism. With over 5000 wineries open to the public, France offers a wide range of high-level opportunities.
Wine tours experiences in France go beyond winery visits and wine routes. Also, they involve the culture and heritage of the country. From wine museums to picturesque landscapes, wine tastings in cosmopolitan cities, and accommodations in stunning Châteaux, a journey in France is an unforgettable experience for wine lovers.
Today, we propose a tour of four French wine regions: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhône Valley and Champagne.
1.Wine Tourism in Bordeaux
Bordeaux, in the Aquitaine region, southwest of France, is known for being one of the most prestigious wine regions in the world. Its wines result from exceptional geological and meteorological conditions, with soils rich in calcium and the influence of the Garonne, Dordogne, and Gironde rivers. Bordeaux is famous for the production of red wines from varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, as well as white wines made with Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle.
Wine routes in Bordeaux
Some of the main wine regions of Bordeaux are:
- Médoc: Located northwest of Bordeaux, along the left bank of the Gironde River, Médoc is famous for its red wines primarily crafted from grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Notable subdistricts in Médoc include Pauillac, Margaux, Saint-Estèphe, and Saint-Julien.
- Graves: Situated south of the city of Bordeaux, on both sides of the Garonne River, Graves is known for its gravel soils, ideal for growing red and white grape varieties. Red wines from Graves often feature Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, while whites are frequently a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
- Sauternes: Located southeast of Bordeaux, Sauternes is famous for its sweet wines made from grapes affected by noble rot. These wines, predominantly crafted from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle, exhibit a golden color, a balance between sweetness and acidity, with notes of honey and fruit.
- Saint-Émilion: This region is located on the right bank of the Dordogne River. Saint-Émilion is renowned for its red wines, which are often Merlot-dominant, though Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are also used. The region is famous for its limestone soils and its elegant and fruity wines.
- Pomerol: Situated east of Saint-Émilion, Pomerol is known for its red wines, often dominated by the Merlot grape variety. Pomerol wines are recognized for their richness and smoothness.
Certainly, its extensive production results in a wide range of varieties, from table wines to expensive, high-quality wines.
Through stunning landscapes, you can visit some of the most famous Châteaux in the region. These castle-wineries are symbols of traditional French architecture and offer a fascinating insight into wine history. Winery visits, tastings of gourmet products, and wine tastings are integral parts of a Bordeaux experience.
Wine tourism activities in Bordeaux
From visits to prestigious Châteaux to tours of the Route des Châteaux, you can immerse yourself in the wine culture of the region. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to explore wineries with wine museums featuring exhibitions that include wine labels designed by famous artists such as Chagall, Warhol, Picasso, and Dalí.
Gastronomic experiences in traditional and Michelin-starred restaurants will allow you to enjoy delicious French cuisine, paired with the excellent wines of the region. You can also relax on nearby beaches, taste fresh oysters from the Arcachon Bay, explore the city of Bordeaux, famous for its architecture, history, and culture, or discover the medieval village of Saint-Émilion.
2. Wine Tourism in Burgundy
With its capital in Dijon, Burgundy, in the central northeast of France, is also the birthplace of some of the country’s most prestigious wines. Diverse geology and unique climatic conditions make Burgundy stand out for the quality and variety of its wines.
Wine routes in Burgundy
Burgundy is divided into two main areas:
- Chablis, known for its white wines made exclusively with the Chardonnay grape variety.
- Côte d’Or, famous for its renowned reds of Pinot Noir and white wines. In Côte d’Or, two subregions are distinguished: Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. The elevated slopes of these areas are ideal for the production of high-quality wines, the famous Grand Cru.
Wine tourism activities in Burgundy
You can enroll in wine courses at the Burgundy Wine School, visit historic abbeys, explore the 15th-century Hospices de Beaune, tour prestigious wineries, and participate in guided wine tastings to appreciate the richness of Burgundian wines.
You can also enjoy the architecture, natural beauty, and rich wine tradition of the region. We recommend the Route des Grands Crus, between Dijon and Beaune and up to Santenay, with an astonishing landscape dotted with vineyards, hills, and wineries.
3. Wine Tourism in the Rhône Valley
The Rhône Valley, in southeastern France, is a wine region that extends from Vienne to Arles on the Mediterranean coast. With its location between the Alps and the Massif Central and the influence of the Rhône River, this region has developed a unique form of wine production.
Wine routes in the Rhône Valley
The Rhône Valley houses over 73,000 hectares of vineyards and features diverse appellations such as Côte Rôtie, Hermitage, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
- Côte Rôtie, in the northernmost part of the Valley, is characterized by its steep terrain, with terraces where the Syrah variety is mainly cultivated.
- Hermitage, on the right bank of the river, produces red wines with the Syrah variety, and the addition of white varieties like Roussane or Marsanne is allowed.
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape, famous for its history linked to Pope John XXII in the 14th century, produces wines that reflect the influence of its sandy, clay, and large pebble soils.
Wine tourism activities in the Rhône Valley
The Rhône Valley offers winery visits, tastings of local products, and wine tastings. You can also enjoy walks through the vineyards, learn about the wine-making process, and participate in outdoor activities in beautiful natural landscapes.
The rich historical and cultural heritage of the region can be appreciated in the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, one of the most imposing medieval Gothic buildings in Europe, and in the vibrant city of Lyon, a renowned gastronomic destination with its Renaissance and modern architecture.
4. Wine Tourism in Champagne
Champagne, in the northeastern part of France, is the birthplace of one of the most celebrated and prestigious sparkling wines in the world. Primarily made with the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier varieties. The Champagne designation of origin (AOC) requires compliance with a series of requirements, making the so-called champegnoise method, with two fermentations and a final disgorging, of great interest to wine enthusiasts.
Wine routes in Champagne
Champagne consists of five main regions:
- Montagne de Reims, famous for its Pinot Noir, which contributes structure and elegance to champagnes.
- Vallée de la Marne is known for its Pinot Meunier, which adds fruitiness and smoothness to the wines.
- Côte des Blancs is where Chardonnay is mainly cultivated, contributing freshness and elegance.
- Côte de Sézanne is a smaller region that produces fresh and vibrant wines.
- Aube is famous for its production of Pinot Noir and its more robust style of champagne.
Wine tourism activities in Champagne
In Champagne, you can visit prestigious Maisons de champagne as well as small family-owned wineries. You can learn about the fascinating production process and appreciate the diversity of styles and flavors in tastings.
In addition, Champagne also invites you to explore the rich history and culture of the region, such as the Reims Cathedral, where the coronations of the kings of France took place, or the charming city of Epernay, surrounded by vineyards and home to famous champagne houses.
Travel with Viavinum
With Viavinum as your partner in wine tours, you can indulge in a unique experience. Request your tailor-made journey into the exclusive world of French wine.