WINE TASTING, WINE TOURS & MORE
We work with the best wine guides and sommeliers to offer wonderful wine experiences across the South of France...and beyond. Our most-popular offering is a full-day wine tour, with pick up and drop off at your hotel or rental villa. It's a perfect day out for beginners and connoisseurs alike, tailored to your wine preferences, level of expertise and stamina! Along the way you'll take in lots of beautiful scenery and break for a lovely lunch, with options ranging from a casual Provencal picnic to a classic bistro to a full-on Michelin-starred experience. Half-day tours are also possible, as are seated tastings and a fun French Wine 101 class with nibbles. So please have a look at the ideas below and then get in touch so we can plan your perfect wine adventure. A votre santé!
One for the Wine Lovers...
Our favorite wine expert is a charming American sommelier who has worked for top Michelin starred chef Alain Ducasse in Paris, Monaco and Las Vegas...and was the sommelier at the highly regarded Christian Etienne restaurant in Avignon for six years. He's considered one of the leading experts in Rhone Valley wines and he knows everyone in the biz; he teaches sommeliers, in fact, and other industry insiders who want to learn about Rhone wines. His stomping ground? The world-class wine villages of Chateauneuf-du-Papes, Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Beaumes-de-Venise, as well as the lesser-known Seguret, Sablet, Crestet and beyond. He'll do just about anything when it comes to wine, but his most-popular offering is a day of wine touring. This is a custom-designed day during which you’ll hit three to four wineries...with talk, touring and tasting at each. And of course, lunch at one of your guide's favorite spots. For this we charge €500 (one couple) and €200 (each additional couple), using a 4x4 Land Cruiser that holds up 6 passengers comfortably or 7 passengers squished. If you have more people in your group than that, we rent a mini-van for 8 passengers (about €200 per day) or use a driver/bus combo (about €750 /day), both of which are charged on top of the guide's fees above. Lunch is extra and large group prices are negotiable. You'll be picked up at your hotel or villa at 9 am and dropped off around 7 pm ‘’depending on if you’re in a hurry or we’re all having too great a time to quit.’’ Another option is a seated tasting for you and your friends in your hotel, villa or other locale. We can also lead a Nez du Vin class: a fun 2.5 hour session that improves your palate by teaching you to ID wine’s most-common sensory components. Note: This guide also offers tours to and in all the other wine regions of France as well as Spain and Italy. Available: year round.
Discover the Wines of Legendary Chateauneuf
Your guide on this private tour is a professional French sommelier, formerly of the Michelin three-star L'Oustau de Baumaniere, fully bi-lingual. And she's got a great day planned, giving you a delicious immersion into the wines of the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape. You'll be picked up at your hotel or villa at 9 am, get an overview of the region and an introduction to its wines...then hit one fantastic domaine/cellar for tasting before lunch. Next stop is a great meal in a popular Châteauneuf bistro...followed by two more tastings at two more highly regarded domains. You'll be returned home around 5:30 pm. 2019 Prices: 2 people, 370€ total. 3- 4 people, 500€. 5 to 6/7 people, 650€. Lunch is extra. Pick up is available within 10 km of St. Remy (otherwise you can rendezvous with the guide in a convenient location). Tour is available: Every day except Sunday, year round.
Another for the Wine Lovers
This fully bi-lingual French guide is passionate about wine (and also very expert in the food, history and culture of the region). Having settled in France 20 years ago, he offers cultural, wine and food tours to destinations all over Provence. During his full-day wine tour in Chateauneuf du Pape you'll enjoy fantastic scenery, get insights into the grapes and wine styles of the region and visit two to three top domaines. As time allows, you'll also stroll through the village itself and see its historic crumbling chateau and charming streets lined with tasting rooms. This tour may be available to other Southern Rhone wine regions as well and one winery visit can be replaced with something else (olive mill, goat farm, chocolate tasting, etc.) if desired. Price: 500€ flat fee for a full day, for up to 4 guests. Or, your guide can rent a vehicle holding 8 guests, for an extra charge of roughly 200€. Lunch is also extra. Available: year round.
A Day of Food & Vines
Avignon & Wine Country
Les Halles in Avignon is a large, loud, colorful indoor marketplace, with rows of vendors selling every edible imaginable: meat, seafood, shellfish; fruit and vegetables; prepared and packaged foods; olives and tapenades; a fantastic array of fresh cheeses; herbs and spices; and every type of sweets imaginable. The market is open every morning except Monday and this is where the locals-- and the local chefs—come to buy the freshest foodstuffs, gossip with friends, catch up with their favorite purveyors...and then eat and drink together in the market cafes. A great way to experience the scene is with a local food/wine expert and I’ve got just the guy: a sommelier who worked for years at the top restaurant in Avignon. “I spend thousands of dollars at Les Halles and should own the place by now,” he says. “It’s a wonderland of tastes and people just go crazy for it.” You’ll meet at the market around 9:30 or 10 am and get free tastes of a wide range of local products. All the while, you’ll be picking up this and that to assemble a fantastic lunch. Then you’ll find a table and enjoy a splendid indoor picnic, with a glass or two of wine. But don’t go crazy on the wine...because after lunch you’ll pile into a big comfy SUV for an afternoon of wine touring around the Southern Rhone. You’ll hit two to three wineries, meeting the winemakers if possible, tasting a range of top labels and getting a crash course on the grapes and wine styles of these famous appellations. Return to Avignon around 6 pm. 2020 Prices: 440€ for a couple; 660€ for four; 880€ for six. Because some clients want a sandwich and others want fois gras, oysters and Dom Perignon, the cost of the lunch is extra. Available: year round, every day except Monday.
Food in the Morning, Wine in the Afternoon
Avignon & Chateauneuf du Pape
Similar to the tour just above, here's one that provides a perfect one-day immersion into the food and wine of the region. The Food & Wine Day Tour pairs a morning walking food tour in Avignon (with ten tastings) with an afternoon visit to Chateauneuf du Pape, to visit and taste at a family-run winery and a historic chateau winery with one of the top wine guides in the region. There's a break in between, so you can grab lunch on your own, and then round trip transportation to Chateauneuf will be provided. The Food & Wine Day Tour is available Tuesday to Saturday, March to October, and is priced at 150€ pp.
Discover the Vineyards & Villages of the Luberon
Your guide on this private tour is a professional sommelier, formerly of the Michelin three-star L'Oustau de Baumaniere. And she's got a great day planned, taking you to visit two of the most popular villages in the Luberon and two of the best wine domains. The tour departs St Rémy at 9 am. First stop is the famous perched village of Roussillon, where they mine ochre to make pigments for paint. Everyone who visits loves it. Then you'll explore beautiful Gordes, another historic hilltop village, and have lunch. After lunch it's all about the wine, with tastings and cellar visits at two of the region's best domains. The tour returns to St. Remy around 6 pm. (Note: Pick up and drop off is available within 10 km of St. Remy.) 2020 Prices: 2 people, 550€ total. 3/4 people, 650€ . 5/6/7 people, 750€. Lunch is extra. Available: Every day except Sunday, year round. Note: Pick up and drop off is available within 10 km of St. Remy.
Discover the Wines & Olive Oils of Les Baux
The famous Vallée des Baux-de-Provence (aka the AOC and AOP Les Baux), has roughly 500,000 olive trees, its farms and 12 mills producing 500 tons of oil per year and another 140 tons of table olives. It's also known for wine: vast rows of grape vines shimmering in bright sunshine on fertile plots in the foothills of Alpilles Mountains. So why not discover both on the same day? Led by a professional sommelier, you'll depart St. Remy at 9.30 am (or any village within10 km of St. Remy). By 10:30 you'll be settled in at one of the best wine domains, having a cellar visit, presentation and tasting. Lunch will be in one of our favorite nearby bistros. At 2 pm, we'll visit a terrific olive mill, learn about the different olives and the process of pressing oils. Then we'll have time for one more winery visit, before returning to St. Remy around 5 pm. This day has everything: stunning scenery, terrific tasting, lots of learning and a lovely lunch! 2020 Prices: 2 people, 345 € total. 3/4 people, 450€. 5/6/7 people, 600€ pp. Available: Every day except Sunday, year round. Note: You can also do this as a half-day wine tour only, from 1:30 to 5 pm. (Half-day prices are 2 people, 300€ total; 3-4 people, 400€ ; 5-6/7 people, 500€ .
Insiders Wine Tour with Lunch
One of the nicest wine visits in the area is up in the Ventoux region, not far from Vaison-la-Romaine, at a luxury, organic property that offers tours, tastings, classes for all levels of wine lovers and a few lovely lunch options. This is an historic, world-class property that's home to 35 hectares of vines, a highly regarded wine school, an organic garden, a B&B and a large villa available for rent. The multi-lingual staff loves welcoming visitors, personalizing every visit and sharing the history of this unique property. One of my clients who spent the day here recently wrote: "Loved it, loved it, loved it! We had an exceptionally wonderful afternoon! We did the bentobox lunch outside on the terrace (the lunch was quite involved and delicious), toured the vineyard and the cellar and then did a tasting. I would tell all your clients to DO IT!! The owner's daughter was our guide and she was just lovely! Everyone else there was terrific too and we couldn't have asked for a better day!" The standard offering is an Insiders Tour of the state-of-the-art cellar, barrel room with a tasting of our range of wines (rosé, white, red). The group visit generally lasts 1 hour but can be longer upon request. For lunch (prepared by the on-site chef using ingredients from his kitchen garden), choose from a picnic basket (with a map of the best picnic spots on site); a bento box selection of Provencal specialties; or a three-course, seasonal meal. (The prestigious wine review “Terre de Vins” nominated the winery as a France finalist in its “Best Winery meal” category.) Pricing: The visit and tasting is 12 € pp person. Lunch ranges from 20 € pp for a picnic basket without wine to 60 € pp for a 3-course, farm-to-table meal with wine pairings. Other options include: An Intro to Tasting workshop (35€ pp) and a blending workshop called Winemaker for a Day (50€ pp). New in 2020: A private visit with vineyard and apiary tour, cellar tour and wine tasting with treats; 35 € pp. Group prices available for all activities but please reserve at least two days in advance, longer in busy season, to get your preferred time slot. Tastings and tours available all year; lunches from April through October. Overnight stays available at different times throughout the year, excluding November through March.
Barrels of Fun: Grape Stomping in Provence
This 11-hectare farm (in Cadenet, near Lourmarin), run by a Franco American couple, produces olives from 1000 trees, as well as fruits, nuts, black winter truffles...and wine grapes. They make their own wines with syrah and grenache...and have just planted 10 additional varietals which will yield unique wines in a few years. A couple years ago, they started hosting grape stomps for friends and then opened them up to the public; they’re now wildly popular. First you’ll learn how grape vines arrived in Provence and how to harvest them. Then it's off to handpick the grapes. Afterwards, you'll crush organic muscat (table grapes) and organic syrah-grenache by foot, in a big barrel, with a view of Cezanne’s famous Mount Ste. Victoire in the background. You’ll finish the day in the farm's summer kitchen, nibbling cheeses and charcuterie--with the farm's own truffle honey, truffle oil and truffle salt—and all you care to drink of red wine and rosé. Great fun for all ages...and you’ll learn French drinking songs too! Plan to spend at least 2.5 hours. 2020 Prices: 75€ per adult, 50€ for kids (10 to 17) and 25€ ages 2 to 9. Minimum: 2 people. Available: Weekdays only, from early August until end of October, depending on weather and grapes!
Wine and Food Tours From Uzes
If you’re staying anywhere near Uzes, here are some great day-tour options for you. In his air conditioned car holding six passengers, our guide (a Canadian with WSET credentials, based in the region for 20+ years) offers popular tours focused on the wine and food of the region. Vina Nostra Wine Tour (145€ pp for 2 ppl; 120€ pp for 3 to 4 people; 110€ for 5 or 6 people). Visit and taste at three top local wineries (one organic), learning how the winemakers coax the best flavors from the soil. With a break for lunch, this is a terrific one-day immersion in the wines and grapes of the region. Wines and Local foods of Uzès (same prices as Vina Nostra tour above). Visit two excellent local wineries and experience the farmers’ market in Uzès or St. Quentin, where you’ll pick up local cheeses, olives, pâtés and breads for a picnic lunch. After lunch, taste at a premium olive oil producer before heading to the last winery of the day. Half Bottle (90€ pp for 2 people ; 80€ pp for 3 to 4 people ; 65€ for 5 to 6 people ). A ½ day, morning or afternoon overview of Uzès wines, grape varieties and production methods, with two local winery visits. Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gard Côtes-du-Rhône (175€ pp for two). Visits and tastings at two domains plus a top Châteauneuf-du-Pape producer. Tours include free pick up and drop off within a 15 km radius of Uzes; clients staying further afield can pay a small fee for pickup/dropoff or rendezvous at the Uzes Tourist Office (there’s a large car park next door). Custom tours in the Languedoc, Rhône Valley, Arles, Orange and Uzes/Pont du Gard area are also available; rates range from 210€ pp (minimum 2 people) for a nine-hour day; five or more people pay 170€ pp. A custom tour might include winery visits, an olive oil producer, the Roman Theatre in Orange, a visit to the Château Suze-la-Rousse and private tasting at its University of Wine), the new Van Gogh Foundation in Arles and more.
Yay, Rosé! A Two-Hour Guided Wine Tasting with Niçoise Snacks
Old Town Nice
How great does this sound? Discover a selection of fantastic rosé wines from Provence and the French Riviera. Learn professional tasting techniques from a charming female sommelier. Nibble traditional Niçoise snacks. And do it all in a beautiful studio in Old Town Nice, with like-minded travelers. from all over the world. Yes, it seems that everyone is falling for the crisp Rosé wines of the Mediterranean coast, which conjure up deep turquoise water and a refreshing sea breeze with every sip. But how is rosé produced and what makes certain bottles stand out? Under the expert guidance of a certified sommelier and cookbook author, you'll learn how modern rosé came to be born in Provence, discover several different rosés from the region and learn to identify your preferred sipping style. While she's sharing her best tips and wine-making tales she'll be uncorking bottles from her favorite producers. Because rosé is an integral part of la merenda, Nice’s famous street-food tradition, nibbles will be served and you'll learn about pairing rosé with foods from the Mediterranean and elsewhere. 2020 Pricing: 65€ per person. Available from 5 to 7 pm on Fridays with other days upon request. Min # of people is 4; max is 12. If fewer than 4 people sign up, your deposit will be refunded. Available: year-round.