Saturday, February 28, 2015

How To Choose The Best France Wine Tours

By Olivia Cross

France is one of the oldest wine producing countries in the world. It makes a staggering seven to eight billion bottles every year. It is a great place to learn all about viticulture and visit different types of vineyard. Finding the best France wine tours can be confusing but there are a few ways to narrow the search.

It is estimated that there are around twenty seven thousand producers in the country and they are spread over the regions, except the most northerly ones. Some regions are particularly renowned for one type of wine, Champagne, for example. However, in general every area has a mixture and includes small producers and large commercial operations.

The best known wine regions are Bordeaux, Burgundy for reds, Provence for rose and for those who love white wines, Sancerre. All regions have a variety of different vineyards from small artisan producers to large commercial affairs. A visit to a small producer is a very different experience to touring a large vineyard. The owner will often host the tour himself and will be able to go into the history and impart his pride in a more personal way than the paid hosts in a large establishment.

Once you have decided where you want to go you should consider the timing. Check with tour providers that the local producers are taking visitors. At certain times of year they are too busy to host tours. During blending in January and February it is impossible to visit. However, harvest is a wonderful time to tour vineyards as there are festivals and celebrations and sometimes you can even join in picking the grapes.

The Bordeaux region makes a great introduction to the world of French wines. It has variety in terms of the types of grape, size of producers and quality of wines. There is also a renowned wine school offering classes for beginners and connoisseurs alike. They offer introduction classes which explore tasting and the basics of production which is a perfect way to start a tour. Bordeaux is a large region with different soils "terroir" so you can taste how this affects the flavor of wine.

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.

Wine tours are an increasingly popular way to enjoy a region of the world known for its fine food, traditional production and picturesque villages. France is a large country with much to offer the visitor. Tour are usually organised by region so check out where your favorite types of wine are made and head in that direction.

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