Wine Tour Tips: Top 5 Planning Suggestions for Your Dream Tour
Planning a wine tour in France can almost feel like a part-time job. You have to research your destination, what to do when you get there, and what chateaus and wineries you want to visit; check and book flights (and connecting flights); find a desirable hotel—and hope that the website is representative of what you’re actually getting; arrange transportation to and from the airport and for while you are in France…one can get a headache just thinking about it! Don’t worry, though—help is here in the form of the top five wine tour tips to consider when planning a wine tour in France:
- Time of year: The best time to go on a wine tour to France is March-June and October-November. Usually airfares are lower and the tourist season is usually not in full swing. September is a beautiful time to go to see the harvest, but can be challenging get certain estate appointments. Early July can also be good time to go and get estate quality visits before August, typically vacation time for many. If you are keen on First Growths, then it’s best to schedule 9-12 months in advance, or join a tour that already has First Growth tastings scheduled.
- Don’t drink and drive: Even if you spit during your wine tastings, it is not advisable to drive while you are tasting wine. Leave that to a pro and take full advantage that a driver will get you where you need to be on time, and fill the day out with useful information about the region and its wines. Relax and enjoy.
- Be Adventurous: Try an appellation or region you are less familiar with and broaden your knowledge and appreciation for the region. Not sure which appellation that may be? A quality wine tour provider can steer you in the right direction.
- Less is more: In France, the visits are very thorough, so limit yourself to knowing that it’s quality over quantity when it comes to tours and tastings.
- Accommodations and Drive times: Where you stay is as important as the estates you visit. If you haven’t been to the hotel or chateau you are considering, don’t assume what you see on the website is what you get. Check with your wine tour expert who regularly visits hotel properties for real time information and can assist in choosing a hotel property best suited for your touring style and accommodation preferences.
One last tip- Go with a professional wine tour planner-one that knows the region, how best to get there, its quirks, and the best estates to visit based on what wines you prefer to help make the best use of your time.
Armed with these five wine tour tips, you can plan your trip without stress and instead enjoy the sense of anticipation for the journey to come.
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