Wine tours in Spain or in France?

Dec 26th, 2013, 04:18 AM
  #1  
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Wine tours in Spain or in France?

Hey folks,

I'm planning a wine trip with some friends. We love wine and we would like to visit wineries and drink really good wine. Three years ago we went to Napa Valley and it was REALLY fun. However, for this spring we want to explore the wine in Europe.
I love Spanish wines, particularly Ribera del Duero, but I'm not sure if Spain is a good place to visit wineries and I think France might be better for that kind of trip. But I don't know. What do you think? Does anyone has experience in that?
One of my friends is pushing to make us go to Bourdeaux, but I would like to explore more the options. We still have time to plan everything.
johnathan007 is offline  
Dec 26th, 2013, 05:14 AM
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Bordeaux the best chateau need appointments but the basic places and many villages offer degustation in many places.

Ribera del Duero, can be well accessed by organised trips but if I was going to Northern Spain and wanted to visit places easily I'd go to Rioja which is well set up for the drop by tourists.

The options are massive, Bordeaux is a very large wine area but France has a great many more places to visit. Same for Spain.

Fodors did a funny guide to wine tasting (funny as in basically wrong) last year. You might have a read up on protocol
bilboburgler is online now  
Dec 26th, 2013, 06:09 AM
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Um, what types of wine do you like? France has many wine regions you can visit - including champagne, Alsace, etc. as well as Bordeaux.

In any case you should check on opening days and times for the houses you want to visit and be sure you have reservations if necessary.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 26th, 2013, 06:23 AM
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One thing to note is that in general we have found wine trips in Europe to be nothing like Napa. The wineries aren't set up like in North America where you can stop off at a visitor centre and taste several wines etc with a gift shop at each winery. A lot of wineries are not open to the public. A lot require an appointment. None that we have been to have had gift shops or lovely tasting areas. Most we have been to in Italy and France are quite rustic.

Many regions like burgundy, you can taste many producers at wine stores or cooperatives.

Just wanted to point this out so you can set appropriate expectations or cater your vacation location to the type of experiences that you want. I haven't been to Spain so that might be different.

Happy planning!
jamikins is offline  
Dec 26th, 2013, 06:25 AM
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One exception is champagne...there the houses give tours and have tastings etc.

Bordeaux was our least favourite in France, we much preferred the atmosphere and lovely villages of burgundy to Bordeaux.
jamikins is offline  
Dec 26th, 2013, 06:57 AM
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The wineries in France tend to be "mom and pop" and not really structured to have gift shops, wine tastings that are paid for or touristy. If you drive around in Burgandy, there are many little wineries you can do tastings with the owners, very rustic and just pop in. If you like the wine, buy some, if not move on.
TPaxe is offline  
Dec 26th, 2013, 07:34 AM
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There is a long list of Bodegas in Ribera del Duero, but you are right some of them are difficult to visit.

http://www.rutadelvinoriberadelduero...es/inicio.html

Bodegas Protos in Peñafiel (Valladolid) has a visit quite similar to those in Napa´with shop.
http://www.bodegasprotos.com/es/enoturismo/visitas/

And also in Peñafiel there is a Museo del Vino in the huge castle.
http://www.museosdelvino.es/index.ph...no-de-penafiel

Even the town is worth a visit
http://www.turismopenafiel.com/index.php?lang=es
carreteraymanta is offline  
Dec 26th, 2013, 07:53 AM
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There's little point in going to Bordeaux unless you're a well-connected afficionado of Bordeaux vintages. The area is a bore and you won't get into the good wine châteaux without an appointment or a connection. France is full of wine - you could go anywhere and taste wine. And nothing in France resembles Napa Valley. Also keep in mind the drinking and driving laws in France are terrifically strict, and you can be pulled over at whim for no cause whatsoever.

You should visit a wine area based on your taste preferences. The tourist office in every town in France that's affiliated with wine will offer tours and information on what can and cannot be visited. So when you've figured out what wine area interests you, start with the tourist offices.
StCirq is offline  
Dec 26th, 2013, 11:26 AM
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Wine touring in Spain is nothing like Napa, but a few bodegas in the Rioja have opened wine tasting rooms for those not interested in learning about the process of actual wine making or meeting the wine maker. Take a look at Maribel's Guide to the Rioja for an better understanding of wine touring in Spain.

http://maribelsguides.com/mg_larioja.pdf
Robert2533 is offline  
Dec 26th, 2013, 12:20 PM
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Here in Galicia we have several wine routes.
http://www.turgalicia.es/blog/visit-...licia/?lang=en
http://www.turgalicia.es/presentacio...s?langId=en_US
Other tour operators covering this part of Spain :
http://www.grapehops.com/
http://www.northwestiberiawinetours.com/
http://italopendola.wordpress.com/ga...tour-albarino/
There will be others!

Failing that contact the local hotels or casa rurals to see what they can offer.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Dec 27th, 2013, 04:42 AM
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"The wineries in France tend to be "mom and pop" and not really structured to have gift shops, wine tastings that are paid for or touristy."

This varies by area, so Alsace is pretty well organised in some villages (Turkheim is a good example) and Champagne is very well organised in Epernay and Reims. There are similar well organised places in most regions. Burgundy, Rhone both have them and normally with English.

Mom and Pop shops is a bit un fair, for many the "garden gate" sales are just not part of their business model
bilboburgler is online now  
Dec 27th, 2013, 05:29 AM
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Just a little info. www.burgundyeye.com or www.bxwinex.com
iris1745 is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 10:43 AM
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Charlie, welcome to Fodors
bilboburgler is online now  
Jan 7th, 2014, 11:01 AM
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I would head straight to Burgundy, then down south to the Rhône Valley. You could spend weeks in those regions and sample some excellent wines. Since you're new to those areas, I think wine tours would be a very good idea. Especially in Burgundy, most producers aren't set up for visitors--but a guide can get you in. You can visit some wineries on your own, such as the Château de Meurseault; the Château de Savigny lès Beaune; and other good-sized producers.
Underhill is online now  
May 7th, 2014, 10:00 AM
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I agree with Underhill. Head straight to Burgundy. Here's a nice article on wineries to see there -

http://www.burgundyeye.com/wine/wine...ho-to-go-with/

Good luck!
cruisetaker is offline  
May 7th, 2014, 10:41 AM
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My option would be Rioja. I´m naturally biased as I live just one hour away. Here you can have both historical towns, with fortresses and walls like Laguardia, Labastida and San Vicente de la Sonsierra; and all types of wineries, from the most classic and family owned to those architecturally awesome, like Ysios or Marqués de Riscal, where modernity and tradition get together. Rioja wine has also the advantage of being much cheaper than French wine while its quality cannot be disputed.
mikelg is online now  

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