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france - wine

Old May 3rd, 2009, 03:30 PM
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france - wine

hello, i am absolutely new to europe and really want to a trip in frnace, where we can go to some vinyards and do things like pressing grapes in those big tubs, i know i may sound completely dumb..but can someone please help me. which places can i go to.we would be coing from london, we plan to go to bruges in belgium, is there any place in france we can go from there. we plan to go in june and have about 5 days
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 05:30 PM
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You can go anyplace in France from either London or Bruges. It's up to you to decide where. Are you asking what the major wine regions of France are? There are a gazillion, but the most famous are probably Bordeaux, the Loire, Alsace, Burgundy, and Provence. Is there a particular variety of grape you're interested in, or a particular region? Why is wine the focus of this trip for you? That would help us give you information.

As for pressing grapes "in those big tubs," have NO idea what you're talking about (if you're talking about stomping on grapes, you're about a century too late), but trust me, no sane French person is going to ask you to help make wine, unless you're talking about those back-breaking stints people do for the vendange where they get housed and fed and work 24/7 until every last grape is off the vine. They don't get pressed in tubs anyway - it's all highly modern and mechanized, with the exception of some very small artisanal vintners, who will want less to do with you than even the average French wine maker.

Almost everywhere in France you can partake in a dégustation (tasting) of local wines. If you're interested in the major wine châteaux, that would probably involve a private tour of some sort, generally organized by the local tourist offices or privately. And of course you are free to drive around and gaze at the vineyards all over the country (but in June you won't be seeing much - the harvest is late September/early October).
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Old May 4th, 2009, 05:36 AM
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Old May 4th, 2009, 05:58 AM
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The closest vineyards to London in France would be (West to East)
Loire, Chablis, Champagne, Alsace.

All these areas will let you taste and either charge you or expect you to buy a bottle. No wine stamping and unlikely to let you pick.

Champagne is the easiest to get to and apart form the fizz also does a little red (not great but hey) tastings tend to be expensive at Euro 5 a shot in the well known houses.

Alsace is manisly white and more aromatic than some whites (generally not well liked in the UK) it is a great area to taste and a wine road leads you from taste house to taste house

Chablis is a small town in a valley bottom and so is relatively small and easy to bike around in a day. Whites again and tastings are less well organised

Loire is massive (1000km long) with some dogs and some real stars along its length. High points for me would be Saumur, Angers, Sancerre.
Mixture of Chenin (again not big in the UK but my favorite, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc are the main grapes.

Tastings abound and many of the towns have a tasting room so you can stagger off the bus, drink and stagger back in
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Old May 4th, 2009, 06:04 AM
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hey thanks, if i have to plan out a trip driving from london to france for about 4-5 days, what places do u think are the best, we would do the tasting to a basic level as we have a toddler with us. champagne appeals to me , although i know nothing more than what you have told me, can someone help me build a drivign itenary?
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Old May 4th, 2009, 11:22 AM
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Get a copy of The Wine Regions of France and do some research on areas and driving distances.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 11:29 AM
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There is a festival in Italy , I once read,
where they stomp the grapes, BUT, not to be turned into wine.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 03:23 AM
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Probaly the easiest is to visit Reims and Epernay. Pop into tourist Info and they will boook you into a number of the big brands at euro 5 a pop (this gives you a walk around and a swig of the basic stuff (poss 2 if you are lucky)). If you want to know more I think the web sites are (click on brit flag for english. I forget the reims one but google "reims tourisme"
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