The Best Wine Regions of France & French Vineyards To Put On Your Itinerary
If France is known for one thing, it has to be its fabulous wine! The French are world leaders when it comes to viticulture, having honed their skills and knowledge over centuries to create some of the most sophisticated, delicious, and sometimes, most expensive wines in the world. With dozens of native grape varieties and countless appellations across the country, there’s so much to discover on a trip to the best vineyards in France.
For fans of wine, France is a dream destination: a treasure trove of vineyards offering tastings, tours, and even luxury accommodation. Even if you’re not much of a drinker, there’s still plenty to admire and enjoy.
The famous wine regions in France are immersed in local history, often set in beautiful countryside, and they form an important part of each French wine region’s distinctive cultural heritage. These wonderful vineyards in France are a fantastic way to get under the skin of the country and learn more about French winemaking history.
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French Wine Region Map
It can take a lifetime to learn all there is to know about the top wine regions in France, and it can be a baffling experience to try and figure out where is the best place for a first-time visitor to go! If you don’t know your Crémant from your Champagne, or aren’t quite sure where to place Beaujolais on the map, don’t worry – I’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to!
I’ve put together some top tips for visiting the French vineyards. Make sure you put at least one of these fantastic estates on your itinerary and sample some of the famous wines of France!
Champagne Wine Region
When it comes to wine made in France, the Champagne region is in a class all of its own. Located in the north of France, this region has given its name to the most prestigious of sparkling wines. The cold climate of the Champagne region did not allow for the same winemaking techniques used by the viticulture masters of Burgundy, and thus the famous ‘Champagne method’ was born.
Champagne wines are a mixture of three grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, creating complex, delicious wines that will linger in your memory long after you’ve drained the glass. There are five sub-regions in Champagne, each of which has its own subtle and distinct personalities, making this one of the most internationally significant wine-producing regions of France.
Visitors to Champagne, especially the central hub of Reims, can often be overwhelmed by the sheer variety of tours on offer. This is home to some of the most famous French vineyards and the bigger houses tend to limit their visits to the cellars, which can be a wonderful, atmospheric experience. However, to discover the journey from vine to table, make sure that you visit at least one of the smaller producers. These Champagne tours in France will be a highlight of your trip!
Vineyards to Visit in Champagne
If you’re planning to self-drive your way around the Champagne region, be sure to visit the following vineyards.
When it comes to the big hitters, the best tours on offer in Champagne are found at Maison Ruinart. Ruinart claims to be the oldest established champagne house in the region, founded in 1729, and a tour of their fabulous cellar is an experience in and of itself. Stretching over 8km, and 40m under the ground, Ruinart’s breath-taking cellars are like atmospheric chalk cathedrals (and the wine isn’t bad either!).
Run by independent grower Charlotte Le Gallais, this small, unique vineyard is a regional leader in creating delicious wines using environmentally-friendly French wine-making techniques. Nestled in a tranquil clos (walled vineyard) in the beautiful Chateau de Boursault, Le Gallais is a wonderful place to learn about sustainable winemaking processes, and of course, to sample some truly exceptional wines! The tours are informative, fun and well-priced.
The small, family-run Météyer makes a refreshing change from the big houses of the region, and is known for its excellent champagne from the Côte des Noirs. Visitors receive a warm welcome and the vineyard boasts an excellent museum that is a good way to learn more about the history of Champagne and winemaking across the region. They offer a range of tours with some options suitable for young families.
Champagne Region Tours
Whether you want to pop down to the Champagne region on a wine tour from Paris or you’re already staying local, the following tours are designed to make the most of your time in this stunning area.
Full-Day Wine Tour from Reims
This tour takes in several Champagne houses including the famous Moët & Chandon. Includes a family-style lunch with traditional products.
Full-Day Trip to Champagne from Paris
Champagne tours from Paris don’t get better than this full-day excursion. Enjoy several tastings and an authentic French lunch in the countryside.
Quick Tour to Passy-Grigny
if you’re short on time, this Champagne tour to Passy-Grigny may be just the answer. In 1.5 hours you’ll get to sample 3 champagnes, and learn about the processes used to make the sparkling tipple.
Burgundy/Beaujolais Wine Regions
Spanning the compact region between Dijon and the Beaune wine region, the famous ‘climats’ of the Burgundy region of France produce some of the most complex and renowned wines in the world.
The unique character and long history of these wine-growing plots, laid out in a regimented, compartmentalised style, is considered so important that they were recently named as a UNESCO World Heritage site, in recognition of the cultural importance of the region’s winemaking traditions. Known for full-bodied reds and complex whites, Burgundy is one of the most important wine-growing regions of France.
Beaujolais lies to the south, and although wines from this region technically come under the classification of Burgundy, they have their own distinctive style. Made primarily using the black Gamay grape, Beaujolais is famous for its light, fruity reds that have fewer tannins than their counterparts to the north. French Beaujolais wine is internationally renowned and certainly stands up next to some of the best wineries in France.
These two French wine regions cover a relatively small territory, but they are packed with things to see and do. You’ll find ancient vineyards, carefully tended in historic plots, interspersed with medieval monasteries and historic villages built in beautiful stone. Burgundy and Beaujolais are among the best wine-producing regions of France.
Vineyards to Visit in Burgundy/Beaujolais
The best wineries in Burgundy, France are steeped in history and tradition. Discover our favourites below.
With a history stretching back 1000 years, the Château Philippe le Hardi (formerly Château de Santenay) is the perfect introduction to wine from the Burgundy region of France. The chateau itself is an architectural marvel, with its distinctive tiled roof and high walls, and the surrounding vineyard is incredibly picturesque. Known for its commitment to bio-diversity and traditional winemaking techniques, this is a wonderful choice for any trip to Burgundy.
The Château de Pommard is one of the best houses on the famous Route des Grands Crus, offering wonderful tasting ‘experiences’ and tours of their 300-year old vineyard. During the harvest season, it’s also possible to book onto a vendange tour, where you can trace the journey of the wine from the vine all the way to the table.
Covering a vast estate with 92 hectares of vines, the Château de Corcelles offers a fascinating glimpse of the winemaking process in Beaujolais. The excellent tour will take you through the château and deep into the historic barrel room, all with original features that date back to the Renaissance. The splendid gardens offer the perfect backdrop for a tasting, where you can get a feel for this region’s excellent wines.
Burgundy/Beaujolais Vineyard Tours
Discover the best Burgundy vineyards on a tour from Dijon or Beaune.
Half-Day Tour of Beaune
This five-hour tour takes you along the Grand Cru route and gives you the opportunity to sample up to 7 different wines along the way.
Bike Tour of the Burgundy Vineyards
Looking for a different way to experience the Burgundy wine region? Join this full-day tour that takes in vineyards, villages, and breathtaking countryside.
Luxury Wine Tour
This full-day tour of the Burgundy wine region includes wine tastings, lunch at a family estate, and a meet & greet with the French winemakers.
Côtes du Rhône Wine Region
The Rhône Valley has been a wine-making hub since Roman times, and today it remains the source of some of France’s most popular wines.
Straddling the mighty Rhône River, the vineyards of this region stretch from Vienne, close to Lyon, all the way to the historic town of Avignon. As a result, you can expect fantastic variety in the local wines, shaped either by the granite soil and cool conditions in the north, or the Mediterranean climate of the south. Tucked away in the region between the Alps and the Mediterranean, this magnificent French wine region combines the best of everything the country has to offer.
A visit to the Rhône Valley in France is a feast for the senses. There are 14 well-established ‘wine routes’, which can be travelled by car, bike, horseback, or even on foot, allowing you to take in the rolling hills and verdant landscapes of this south-eastern corner of the country.
The towns that litter the Rhône Valley are steeped in ancient and medieval history, with plenty to see and do in towns like Avignon, Nîmes, and Orange, not to mention to picture-perfect hillside villages of the Luberon. However, this is also a fantastic place to sample the fruits of the earth – olives, truffles, and all kinds of local delicacies.
Vineyards to Visit in Côtes du Rhône
Take a drive through lavender laced plateaux and stately chateaux to visit some of the best wineries in the Côtes du Rhône region of France.
Maison M. Chapoutier is one of the oldest and best-known vineyards in the northern Rhône. Expert sommeliers will give you a tour of the vineyard and then let you settle down to a serious tasting in the historic cellar. This is a wonderful way to learn more about biodynamic winemaking processes and the unique culture of the Rhône Valley.
If you only visit one vineyard in the Côte du Rhône, make it Maison Guigal. This prolific wine producer makes more wines than any other house in the region, primarily from the Côte-Rôtie AOC. The vineyard is well worth a visit, with a stunning Renaissance castle set in lush green scenery.
Château Mont-Rédon is tucked away in the southern part of the Rhône valley, in the heart of the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Combining traditional hand harvesting techniques with state-of-the-art imaging to ensure the best possible quality, this is a chance to see modern winemaking at its best, and the wines are second-to-none.
Wine Tours of the Rhône Valley
Explore the Rhône Valley with the help of local experts.
Private Tour from Avignon
If you’re travelling with a group, this full-day private tour from Avignon is an excellent choice. Discover the Côtes du Rhône wines, enjoy a French lunch, and learn about the winemaking process.
Half-Day Group Tour from Avignon
This 5-hour tour will take you to Gigondas, Seguret, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape to sample wines and learn about the grape varieties grown here.
Half-Day Tour from Lyon
Explore the northern end of the Rhone Valey with this half-day tour departing from Lyon. You’ll sample both wines and cheese, and learn about wine pairings.
Alsace Wine Region
Tucked away in the northeast corner of France, the region of Alsace has a unique character and identity, shaped by its close proximity to Germany.
This border zone has changed hands between France and Germany many times over the years, creating fascinating cultural diversity and a unique gastronomical heritage. Famous for its excellent choucroute, and hearty local dishes, Alsace stands out as one of the most distinctive major wine regions of France. Alsatian wines are the perfect reflection of the region’s cultural diversity.
The Alsace wine region spans the area between the Vosges Mountains and the western bank of the Rhine river, sitting on the rich soil provided by a geological faultline dating back millions of years. With warm summers and autumns, this unique microclimate makes the ideal conditions for producing distinctive white Alsace wines, and indeed, the Alsace is famous for its Riesling, Gewurtzraminer, or Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Sylvaner grapes.
In between tastings, there are plenty of cultural and natural attractions awaiting you. Enjoy the beauty of the Nôtre-Dame Cathedral and its astronomical clock, Strasbourg’s emblem, and stroll around ‘Little Venice’ in the charming town of Colmar. Alternatively, head out into the rolling countryside on a bike or on foot, and admire the marvellous scenery and Alsace vineyards as you pass by. The Alsace wine region has everything you’ll need for the perfect getaway.
Vineyards to Visit in Alsace
Looking to sample Alsace wine at the source? Check out these wonderful vineyards that offer wine tastings.
Located in the stunning village of Riquewihr, the Hugel family vineyard has been producing wines since the 17th century. The village itself is rich in historical charm, with timbered houses and medieval fortifications, but the real draw here are the excellent dry and sweet Rieslings.
This friendly family vineyard is situated in idyllic countryside on the site of a former convent, converted into a vineyard at the turn of the 20th century. The tastings and tours on offer here are intimate and tailored to your individual tastes, making this a good option for either beginners or experienced oenologists.
Alsace Wine Tours
There are several ways to tour the Alsace Vineyards, check out some of the best options below.
E-Bike Vineyard Tour from Pfaffenheim
Explore a bio-vineyard in Alsace with the comfort of an e-bike with this fun and engaging tour. At the end you can sample the wines you’ve just learned about.
Half-Day Wine Tour from Strasbourg
This 4-hour tour takes you to two wineries, through the beautiful village of Obernai, and allows you to learn about the 7 varieties of Alsace wines.
Full-Day Alsace Wine Tour from Colmar
During this 8 hour tour, you’ll visit three wineries and get to sample Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner and Riesling wines.
Bordeaux Wine Region
Located in the southwestern part of France, where the Gironde estuary splits into the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers, the port city of Bordeaux is known as the cultural capital of wine. This is a region steeped in winemaking history, dating back to the 6th century when vines were first introduced to the local area.
Bordeaux was heavily contested by the English and the French in the Middle Ages, and these conflicts have left their mark on the landscape and winemaking traditions. Littered with over 6000 chateaux, this region is the place to come for a luxury wine tasting experience, combining a stay in a castle and a Michelin starred meal with some of the finest (and most expensive!) wines in the country.
Here, the rich sedimented earth and the maritime currents coming from the Atlantic have shaped the region’s wines, creating some of the most complex and distinctive wines in France. The wine regions of Bordeaux boast a tremendous variety of grapes, styles, and techniques, and some of the best vineyards in Bordeaux are renowned all over the world. If you’re a serious fan of wine, a trip to this remarkable French wine region is a bucket list activity.
Vineyards to Visit in Bordeaux
Add these stunning vineyards in Bordeaux to your itinerary when travelling in the southwest of France.
This historic château takes its name from the 14th-century pope Clement V, who took a keen interest in wine. Today the château offers luxury accommodation and a range of excellent tours. Don’t miss the ‘5 sense experience’ where you’ll enjoy a blind tasting that will invigorate all of your senses!
Château Soutard offers an excellent range of tours, allowing visitors to learn about the history of winemaking in Bordeaux and to sample some very fine wines. This beautiful vineyard in the St-Emilion wine region can be explored by bicycle, setting you off on a self-guided tour that is suitable for families with children.
This lovely vineyard is one of the most architecturally unique spots in the Bordeaux region, comprising an Asian-inspired chateau with extravagant interiors. The excellent tours take in the whole of the castle and vineyards, where you’ll be regaled with fascinating stories about the history of the place.
Best Bordeaux Wine Tours
Make the most of your French Bordeaux wine experience and book a tour with the pros!
Full-Day Wine Tour from Bordeaux
Unlike most other wine tours in Bordeaux, this excursion takes in both St Emilion and the Médoc. Over 8.5 hours you’ll have the opportunity to visit 3 wine estates and enjoy a picnic lunch.
St-Emilion Tour by Bike
This 9-hour tour takes in two châteaux, and the village of St Emilion. You’ll enjoy 4 wine tastings and lunch at the château.
Half-Day Tour to Saint-Emilion
A 5 and a half-hour excursion into wine country from Bordeaux. Visit 2 châteaux and enjoy learning about the winemaking process.
Corsica Wine Region
The Mediterranean island of Corsica might not be the first place to spring to mind when considering a French vineyard tour. However, this unique French island produces some fantastic wines, showcasing its blend of Italian and French heritage.
Corsica has changed hands many times over the centuries, conquered by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Genoese, and the French, all of whom left their mark on the island. With a winemaking culture going back almost 2500 years, there’s plenty here to excite and delight visitors.
Whether you’re a committed oenologist or a curious amateur, a wine tour of Corsica is a wonderful way to get under the skin of this beautiful island. With craggy, steep hills rising up from the sea, dramatic Mediterranean views, and picture-perfect villages nestled in the mountains, Corsica is a wild land with a rich and distinctive culture. Your wine tour will take you the length and breadth of the island, allowing you the perfect opportunity to discover this lesser-visited wine region of France.
The entire coastline of Corsica is dotted with vineyards, which produce over thirty unique grape varieties. You’ll find full-bodied reds to rival anything found on the French mainland, delicate whites and unusual rosés, whether you want to explore the steep hillsides of Ajaccio or head to the beach and pine forests of Porto-Vecchio.
No trip is complete without a day or two in the Patrimonio Hills, one of the oldest wine-growing centres in the world. Have a glass of Muscat as the sun sets in the turquoise waters of the Cap Corse, and you’ll agree: the ‘Island of Beauty’ fully deserves its nickname.
Vineyards to Visit in Corsica
Add these Corsican vineyards to your itinerary when visiting the l’Île de Beauté.
Just inland from the beautiful Gulf of Valinco, Domaine Abbatucci produces fine white Corsican wine, the perfect pairing for locally sourced seafood. All of the wines here are made using biodynamic methods and traditional techniques, continuing a winemaking tradition in the region that dates back thousands of years. This dreamy vineyard provides the ideal introduction to Corsican wines.
The family-run estate at Clos Canereccia provides a wonderful visitor experience – wander through the vineyards and sample the fruits of the earth in a tasting session, or immerse yourself in the winemaking process on one of their custom ‘discovery workshops’. This is an excellent option for wine aficionados, with the chance to witness one of the region’s up-and-coming houses at work firsthand.
The home of one of the pioneers of the modern Corsican wine scene, Christian Imbert, the Domaine de Torraccia is famous for its award-winning organic wines. Situated in a beautiful spot close to Porto Vecchio, the vineyard has a fascinating history and is well worth a visit by bike so that you can explore the sprawling site at ease. With regular live music and events, this is an unmissable treat on the Corsican wine scene.
Jura/Savoie Wine Regions
Sandwiched between the lush green region of Burgundy and the Swiss Alps, Jura produces some of France’s most delicious and idiosyncratic wines. This narrow strip of land in the east of the country may have a low profile internationally, but the French know that Jura wines are something a little bit special.
With limestone mountains formed in the Jurassic period, Jura’s rich soil produces dry reds and unique ‘vins jaunes’, a sophisticated type of white wine that bears a resemblance to sherry. Don’t miss the opening of the vin jaune in February, when winemakers process through Château Pécauld in golden robes and present an enormous cask of the famous yellow wine for its official opening. With picturesque vineyards nestled in the shadow of wooded hills, Jura is one of the most interesting and unique wine regions of France.
Just to the south of Jura, you’ll find the Savoie, which boasts a unique microclimate, despite its alpine location. Vines in the Savoie are planted on the rising alpine slopes, but despite their high position, the warm south-facing exposure gives the region an almost Mediterranean climate.
Vines share space with fig, almond, and olive trees, and this is the place to come for light, refreshing, fruity white wines. Savoie wines haven’t always had the best reputation among French consumers, but recently this French wine region has flourished, and today it’s producing some of the country’s most interesting and enigmatic wines.
Vineyards to Visit in Jura/Savoie
Visit these historical vineyards in Savoie and Jura and you’ll take away a new understanding of the French winemaking process.
The Fruitière Vinicole d’Arbois is one of the most interesting places to visit in Jura, and an important part of the region’s wine history. Founded in 1906, it was one of the first cooperative vineyards in France, and today supports 100 winemakers over a colossal 250-hectare area. This is the best place to discover the unique character of Jura wines, and to learn about the ancient winemaking processes that characterise this fascinating region.
Maison Philippe Grisard is possibly one of the best winemakers in the Savoie region, and a trip to this compact vineyard in the Bauges Regional National Park is an opportunity to try some very special wines. With rare alpine varieties like the white Mondeuse grape, the tour and tasting is a voyage of discovery. Visits are by appointment, but it’s well worth stopping by if you are travelling in the region.
Languedoc Wine Region
The Languedoc is a vast, sprawling region, and until recently was relatively underdeveloped when it comes to wine tourism. However, in recent years this beautiful corner of France has begun to feature as one of the most interesting and diverse places to try French wine types. With 300,000 hectares of vineyards, the Languedoc is France’s largest wine-producing region, and it shares more than a little in common with its Spanish neighbours south of the Pyrenees.
Winemaking in the Languedoc dates back to Roman times, but it wasn’t until the 17th century that it began to emerge as a key player in French wine-making history. Located at the nexus of Mediterranean trade, and shaped by its close proximity to Spain, Languedoc wines are easy-drinking, with a wide range of grape varieties and delicious white and red wines.
In the 20th century, this region was known for its prolific output – indeed, in the 20th century, it is thought that 1 in every 10 bottles produced in the world came from the Languedoc region. This gave it a reputation for quantity over quality.
However, today, the winemakers of the Languedoc have fully restored the region’s reputation, producing fine wines at remarkably good value. Up-and-coming in the international wine scene, the Languedoc is rapidly becoming one of the best wine regions of France.
Vineyards to Visit in Languedoc
There are so many great Languedoc vineyards to visit. Here are just a few that we recommend…
Located just outside Montpellier, the magnificent Château de Flaugergues is a wonderful place to begin your Languedoc wine journey, combining the best of viticulture and history all in one visit. The castle was built in the 17th century by Jean Baptise de Colbert, a member of the court of Louis XIV, and is surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens that alone justify the visit. Current owners Henri and Brigitte Colbert run excellent tours of the castle, vineyard, and botanic gardens, with a tasting in the atmospheric wine cellars.
Château Camplazens is tucked away in the small Mediterranean region of La Clape, part of the stunning Narbonne regional natural park. This vineyard offers a wonderful opportunity to learn about local wines and sample some of the finest La Clape varieties. What’s more, this is a vineyard with a difference – the cellar at Château Camplazens has been decorated with murals painted by internationally renowned artist Simon Fletcher, so you’ll have feast for your eyes as you sample the fruits of this rich earth. Don’t miss a trip to the top of the tower for a panoramic view over the beautiful surroundings.
The 12th-century priory of Saint Jean de Bébian may look medieval, but this classy vineyard showcases some of the most sophisticated winemaking techniques in the Languedoc. Run by Australian master winemaker Karen Turner, the priory has a state-of-the-art cellar and offers excellent tours around the picturesque vineyard.
Best Languedoc Wine Tours
Most tours into Languedoc wine country start in the Southern City of Montpellier.
Half-Day Wine & Food Tasting Tour
Visit two Languedoc wineries on this 5-hour tour to Pic Saint Loup. You’ll also enjoy an authentic farm to table lunch in a family home.
Wine & Olive Oil Tour from Montpellier
Escape into the countryside and visit an olive farm and a wine estate to taste the fruits of the earth.
Loire Valley Wine Region
The Loire is France’s wildest river, winding its way slowly and inexorably towards the Atlantic and passing through some of the country’s loveliest scenery along the way. This French wine region is incredibly picturesque, with fairy-tale castles set in bucolic scenery, and rolling hills covered in neat rows of vines. It’s the country’s largest sparkling wine producer outside of Champagne, delivering crisp Crémant, and popular Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc wines.
The Loire wine region is vast, and encompasses 87 sub-appellations, meaning that there’s plenty here for keen oenologists to discover. The Loire Valley is best known for its fruity white wines, a product of the cool climate and long centuries of development of the winemaking industry.
Close to Orleans, the Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé wines are among the finest in the world, but you’ll also find light and drinkable Loire Valley wines from Chinon and Touraine. The region itself is a World Heritage Site, and there are plenty of outdoor activities on offer, from castle visits to canoeing.
Vineyards to Visit in Loire Valley
With grand estates, dedicated tasting rooms, and knowledgeable vintners, these Loire Valley Vineyards stand out from the rest.
The Loire Valley is known for its vibrant sparkling wines, and one of the best places to sample them is at the iconic Bouvet Ladubay, one of the best of the Loire Valley vineyards. The cave here is something really special – you’ll enter into a sprawling underground labyrinth that is so large you can even explore it by bike! The cellars are adorned with sculptures, creating a beautiful subterranean cathedral dedicated to the glory of Loire wines. This is one of the best vineyards to visit in France.
One of the best vineyard tours in the Loire Valley can be found at Château de Minière, a 17th-century mansion set in 17 hectares of gorgeous land near Bourgeuil. The vineyard is run by Kathleen Van den Berghe, who is dedicated to the production of organic wines rooted in local tradition. The tour and tasting session is interesting and informative, and it’s also possible to rent bikes and explore the large estate.
The stunning Château des Vaults is an ideal destination for lovers of Chenin Blanc, offering fascinating guided tours and a tasting that features some of the best whites in the Loire Valley. However, the estate also hosts a number of other activities throughout the year, with concerts, theatrical spectacles, literary events, and art exhibitions. The wines are all organic, and the vineyard is famed for its fabulous bio-diversity, with a special conservation area to protect the rare plants that grow alongside the Loire River.
Loire Valley Wine Tours
Loire Valley vineyards can also be enjoyed as part of a tour from Amboise or the city of Tours.
3 Hour Tour & Tasting in Vouvray
Visit a family-owned winery in Vouvray and learn about the winemaking process from the growers themselves. You’ll have the opportunity to taste a range of wines and visit the rock-hewn cellar.
Half Day Tour from Tours
Departing the city of Tours, this half-day trip takes in 2 vineyards where you can sample the wines and partake in an aperitif.
Self-Guided E-Bike Wine Tour
This unique tour allows you to go at your own pace, while guiding you through French wine country and ending with a tasting in Vouvray.
Provence Wine Regions
Known for its romantic, dreamy landscapes, Provence is one of France’s most captivating wine regions. This is the Mediterranean at its finest – dazzling lavender fields, picture-perfect rocky bays with turquoise waters, tranquil olive groves, and the scent of jasmine in the air. Provence has been stealing travellers’ hearts for centuries, and it’s no wonder that so many people fall head over heels in love with this gorgeous French wine region.
Provence is France’s oldest wine-making region and was the first stop for the Romans when they began to expand north and west from Italy. The sun-kissed, sheltered valleys and rocky hills provide ideal conditions for vine growing, with mineral-rich soils and plenty of different grape varieties. Hardy shrubs like juniper, lavender, rosemary, and thyme influence the character of Provence wines, producing complex whites and rosés, and elegant reds.
Viticulture in Provence is about hedonistic pleasure, indulging in the best of what the land can offer. Head south to one of the best wine regions in France and enjoy a taste of something a little special!
Vineyards to Visit in Provence
There are too many fabulous vineyards in Provence to list them all here, but here are a couple you shouldn’t miss.
The award-winning Château La Coste is an excellent option if you’re holidaying near Aix-en-Provence. Renowned for its architecture as much as its wine, the estate offers an art & architecture walk that winds around the vineyard, taking around 2 hours to complete. There are also several excellent restaurants where you can relax after your pleasant walk, and an art gallery and bookshop to peruse.
Sandrine Féraud is the 6th in a long line of winemakers in Provence, and has been in charge of the fantastic Domaine de l’Estagnol since 2013. This tiny vineyard specialises in prestigious Bandol wines, and uses traditional processes and state-of-the art technology to produce some of the best easy-drinking reds you’ll find in the region. This know-how has been handed down from mother to daughter over generations, and a trip here is a fantastic way to experience the best of Provençal wine.
Provence Wine Tours
The Provence wine region is one of the most famous in France, so naturally, there are several tours you can take in the region.
Half-Day Tour from Aix-en-Provence
This 4-hour tour takes you into Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence wine country. You’ll visit two organic wineries and taste several wines made at the estates.
Half Day Bandol & Cassis Wine Tour
Depart Aix-en-Provence and get transported to the seaside towns of Cassis and Bandol – both well known for their distinctive wines.
Full Day Tour to Mt Sainte-Victoire
Again departing Aix-en-Provence, this 10.5-hour tour takes in 2 wineries in the Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire AOC before taking you to some of the most beautiful villages in the Luberon.
South West Wine Region
The southwest corner of France, tucked away south of Bordeaux and next to the Atlantic Ocean, is an undiscovered gem of French wine. Most visitors flock to the big-name regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, or the Loire Valley, but the South West is full of oenological treasures just waiting to be explored. This sprawling, sparsely populated region is packed with excellent vineyards, producing exceptional wines at exceptionally good value.
The wines of the South West bear a striking similarity to Bordeaux, especially in the dominant region of Bergerac. With distinctive, full-bodied reds and fine dry whites, there’s plenty to discover here, but travel a bit further south and east and you’ll discover something a little different.
From the delicious wines of Cahors to the fruity whites of Gascony and the light reds of the Basque Country, there’s something here to please everyone. Take a tour of this little-known corner of France and expand your oenological horizons!
Vineyards to Visit in South West
South West France vineyards range from striking castles to more understated affairs. Don’t miss the following on your travels in this part of France.
Northwest of the picturesque town of Albi, Château Adélaïde is one of the oldest vineyards in the Gaillac region. The Ferretti family have run this important vineyard for generations, and they are committed to using traditional techniques to develop their wines in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. The lodge offers lovely accommodation in a beautiful setting, and their excellent tour is a good way to learn about the wine history of this underrated region.
Looking for something a little special in the South West? Don’t miss this spectacular castle, tucked away in the Lot Valley, not far from Cahors. The castle itself dates from the 13th century and offers sumptuous rooms and Michelin-starred dining in a truly spectacular location. There are a variety of vineyard tour options to choose from, and you’ll enjoy a guided tour and tasting of some of the best wines that Cahors has to offer.
The wines of France are as diverse as they are delicious! Whichever wine region in France you choose to visit, you’re sure to gain an insight into this important and distinguished industry, and come away with a new appreciation for French wines!
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