Wine Tours? Consider the Possibilities.

The château at Moet & Chandon, one of the world’s most famous producers of French Champagne (Wikimedia)

The château at Moet & Chandon, one of the world’s most famous producers of French Champagne (Wikimedia)

Are you an “enotourist?”

Even if you haven’t heard this term before, there’s a good chance you’ve dabbled in this activity.

An enotourist is “someone who visits wineries, samples wines, and perhaps purchases some bottles while traveling.” And, over the last decade, enotourism has become one of the fastest growing international travel segments. The Travel Industry Association, for example, released one survey showing that more than 27 million U.S. leisure travelers have engaged in culinary and wine related activities while traveling in recent years—far more than in the past. And local wineries are also delighted with the increased attention, many saying that sales to traveling wine enthusiasts now often account for about one-third of total annual sales.

Just a Few International Wine Tourism Possibilities…

The allure—especially if you love both travel and wine—is obvious. You get to combine these two loves and, in the process, bring a wonderful new dimension to your travel adventures. And—we are delighted to report—the opportunities for global wine-travel experiences are growing exponentially. If you visit Italy’s Piedmont region in October, for example, you can sample the delights of the famous truffle fair in the town of Alba and visit acclaimed local wineries at the peak of harvest time. Or, if you want to see some of the scenic wonders of Chile or Argentina, you can also sample local wines at local wineries between February and May when the harvest there is in full swing. Brazil is another bustling South American hub, where travelers often time visits to local wineries with the Brazilian Mardi Gras in February. Other fascinating options in the Southern Hemisphere range from trips to wineries in places from South Africa to Australia and New Zealand. And then there’s Europe, of course, where—on the second Sunday of November each year—people celebrate “Enotourism Day” to promote cellar visits in Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Spain, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, and Portugal.

If the idea of overseas enotourism appeals to you but you’re a bit hesitant about trying to make all the arrangements on your own, an increasingly popular option is to sign up for an organized wine tour. Many groups offer these in different wine regions worldwide. It you would like to include some wine tasting on your upcoming trip to Australia or New Zealand, for example, the aptly named Australia & New Zealand Wine Tours might be a place to check out. Another interesting possibility is Robertson Wine Tours, which organizes cellar visits in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. And, if you want the “classic” French, German, Spanish, or Italian winery experience, there are numerous organizations that can ably assist.

One Very Intriguing Upcoming Wine Tour in France

A group we recently connected with that offers quite an elegant experience is the Winenot Boutique of Nashua, New Hampshire. It leads tours that take a select group of travelers to some of the world’s most famous wine regions and wineries, are led by extremely knowledgeable wine authorities, and supplement the wine experience with visits to some of the world’s most sought-after destination cities.

Between June 23-30 this summer, for example, the group—partnering with France-based French Wine Tours—will lead a group of travelers to two of that country’s most renowned wine regions: Champagne and Burgundy.

While in Champagne, the tour group members will stay in Reims, often called the “capital” of the Champagne region and, among numerous activities, visit the renowned Champagne house, Moet & Chandon; the tomb of Dom Perignon; two smaller Champagne Houses, Fresne-Ducret and Lassalle; and Reims’ gorgeous Notre Dame Cathedral, where the kings of France were crowned for 800 years.

The tour will also visit Beaune, often called the “capital” of the Burgundy region. While based in Beaune, the group will have lunches with wine tastings at Olivier LeFlaive in in the village of Puligny-Montrachet (Famous for its Chardonnay!), and Pierre Bouree Fils in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin. In addition, it will have private wine tastings at Vosne-Romanee, a village that produces some of the most expensive Pinot Noir wines in the world, and Clos-Vougeot, the largest single vineyard in Cotes de Nuits entitled to use the “grand cru” designation.

To top all this off, the tour will conclude with 3 days in Paris, a city that needs no introduction. In addition to still more fine wine and cuisine, each tour participant will receive a Paris Pass, which allows all holders to see up to 55 museums and attractions, enjoy free public transportation, and avoid waiting in long lines wherever they go.

To say the least, the tour is quite an experience! For more information, check out this link on the Winenot Boutique website.

Bringing Wines Home: A Final Thought

One facet of wine tourism that travelers sometimes overlook before embarking is—once they’ve tasted and purchased great wine—transporting it home. For some excellent tips on this subject, you might want to look at Hauling Home Heavenly Wines, an article on Rick Steves’ website written by Steves and Ruth Arista.

Are there wine tours you’d like to recommend? If so, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Just post a comment at the end of this blog.