A visit to one of our luxury villas in the South of France wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of the Continent’s most celebrated export – wine. Whether your preference is red, white or sparkling (or perhaps a sampling of all three, if you don’t mind a fuzzy head in the morning) there’s an almost limitless number of opportunities in the South of France to improve your knowledge, explore some vineyards and taste some truly classic vintages at festivals, chateaux and tasting events, this is the time when you can have an sommelier certification, make yourself an wine expert now.
We’ve been sipping and sampling some of the best wine experiences the South of France has to offer to bring you our top picks. Whether you’re looking to delve into the rich and fascinating history of winemaking, live like a true connoisseur or just stock up on a few quality bottles to take back home, our wine experiences guide has all the info you need.
Wine Festivals in the South of France
Salon Vins Gastronomie in Marseille
Provence is the setting for this huge food and wine festival, which attracts over 400 wine producers and champions the most delicious tastes of the Mediterranean.
Salon Vin et Terriors in Toulouse
Though there’s some 200 or so wineries who’ll be offering their wares in this south-western festival, make sure you leave some room for the food, which showcases some of the region’s finest delicacies.
Duras Fête son Vins in Duras
Now this is wine tasting with a difference! Make sure you’ve got a head for heights, as this Dordogne festival involves the flight of hundreds of hot air balloons, with wine tasting only after you’ve landed.
Top Picks for Vineyards in the South of France
Domaine Les Cascades, Languedoc
Domaine Les Cascades stands out for a couple of reasons – it’s a relatively small vineyard comprising of only six acres, and all the wine is organic, fertilised with the help of the owners pets donkey and sheep!
Domaine Treloar, Roussillon
With an impressive range of wines to choose from that changes year-on-year, the wines produced by British vintner Jonathan Hesford are found on the tables of Michelin-star restaurants throughout the world, and are reputedly the best in the region.
Chateau de Beaucastel, Provence
Chateauneuf-de-Pape is a name that will forever be associated with fine wines, and Chateau de Beaucastel is one of the must-visit wineries in the region. You can taste 10 of their Grand Vin wines, but don’t just rock up with a glass – tastings are by appointment only.
Chateau la Canorgue, Provence
Now run by the fifth generation of the same family, Chateau la Canorgue forbids any form of chemical in the production of their wines, making them completely organic. You might recognise the chateau itself too – it was used in the 2006 Russel Crowe film A Good Year.
Chateau de Valflaunès, near Montpellier
With 13 hectares of vines that are in pretty much constant use, it’s no wonder that winemaker Fabien Rouboul has won several awards for his range of wines. Each grape is harvested manually too, and you can really taste the care and dedication in the final product!
Top wine tasting and tours – for families too!
Cycle through the vines, Bordeaux
If you’re in Bordeaux at the end of May, there’s the opportunity to enjoy a wine tour with a bit of a difference! You can take in all the sights of the local vineyards by bike, meaning you’ll not only be enjoying some beautiful views of the countryside, you’ll be getting a little exercise to justify that big glass at the end of the day.
Chateau Bardins, near Bordeaux
Not only is this charming winery a handy fifteen minutes from Bordeaux, they run workshops where kids are welcome – meaning parents can enjoy the experience of wine tasting without worrying about bored kids making a fuss.
Chateau d’Agassac, near Bordeaux
Also close to Bordeaux, Chateau d’Agassac offers kids a unique tour in which they’re challenged to rescue a princess from one of chateau’s towers, while adults can broaden their knowledge of wine and winemaking and indulge in some tasting. There’s even a tasting that pairs wine with chocolate – the perfect indulgence!
And taking wine tourism beyond the tasting!
Chateau Feely, Saussignac
If you’re an old hand at touring vineyards and tasting classic vintages, you could always take your wine experience to the next level with a spot of winemaking! This course at Chateau Feely costs €150.00 per person (minimum two people) and includes an introduction to winemaking and tasting, but better yet you get the chance to blend and bottle your very own wine to take home with you! It might be a couple of years before it’s in tip-top condition to drink, but it’s definitely more personal than buying a bottle from the shop on the way out.
The B-Winemaker Tour, Bordeaux
The B-Winemaker Tour also offers guests the opportunity to taste some delicious single vintage wines, and once you’ve discovered your favourites you’ll be given the chance to blend them and create your own bottle – you can even design your own label
And before you go…
And if you want to brush up on the basics before you head off, you won’t find a better place than Wine Folly. They’ve got a great beginner’s guide to wine, and if you’re a bit more seasoned when it comes to sniffing and sipping your Sauvignon, there’ll be plenty more on the site to get your palette excited. It’s well worth a look!