I plan to visit Burgundy this spring and I simply can't find information on pricing anywhere. In California, I have first hand experience that wineries offer their products at 'suggested retail', which is nearly 40% pricier than the same wine can be purchased from a serious retailer. Is it the same in France? Will I want to seek out a respected merchant right off the bat as we settle into our accommodations in Beaune (and if so, does anyone have a recommendation) or should I head straight out on the vineyard tours? It wouldn't hurt to also ask if anyone can suggest an affordable private guide/translator in the area? Thanks for your help!
I've never seen wine prices at wineries in France that were higher than the wine would cost at a shop. In fact, most wines I've purchased at wineries in France were unobtainable anywhere else in the region. That is probably less likely for major Burgundy estates, though.
Beaune has many wine shops - or caves - under the main store level. Many of the wines you find there may be somewhat limited in their distribution. I did not find the prices to be raised for the 'tourist', but were comparable with the other stores as well.
Nicolas is a very large chain of wine shops in France and elsewhere. Here is their website http://www.nicolas.com/index.php/en/178.htm It might give you an idea of price ranges as offered by a mass retailer, for the sake of making comparisons.
We booked a tour with wineandvoyages.com. They have half day and full day van tours (7 persons max) with english speaking driver/guide. Prices ran from 64 eu morning(3 1/2 hr), 53 eu afternoon(2 1/2 hr) or private all day available for 230 eu. Very worthwhile to learn about Burgundy classifications, several tastings at wineries, as well as local scenery. There are many other similar outfits in the region. Ours was excellent. Prices in Beaune wine shops were in line with prices at the wineries.