I have signed up for this tour in May. I'd like to visit extra wineries on our free time. Any suggestions--I will NOT have a car. Many thanks.
not knowing much about that tour, Domaine Martin Jund is located right in the city of Colmar by the old town area.
If you can get a bus to Eguisheim, I know you'd love it, and there is a winery right in the old town at the Le Hameau d'Eguisheim . That is the name of the B & B, but it is owned by a winery and has a tasting room at the B & B
EDITED TO ADD: I'm seeing now that the tour ends in Provence. I have not been that far south. There are a lot of great wine tasting opportunities around Beaune. At least 4 in town, and many just outside of town. One we visited was Patriarch. It's very big, but we liked it and there was plenty of tasting and an extensive tour
jules m, we took this tour in 2019, and the tour visited a winery in Eguisheim. I don't know if it's the same one, though.
As a general rule visiting wineries in France is not like it is in the US. Typically the French wineries only make one wine. They may have a couple of vintages available for comparison. You will not find our typical choice of 2 or 3 whites followed by 2 or 3 reds. If you wish to sample a variety of the local wines the best option is to seek out a wine bar in the town you are staying in. Yelp and tripadvisor are useful. Asking around works, too.
That being said this tour used to be called Villages and Vineyards of Eastern France. Your tour will visit a winery in Alsace and another in Provance. In Beaune there are many wine shops with tastings and also nice wine bars. Be aware Burgundy is expensive even in France. We visited an interesting wine cave place on our own there. too. You are given a tasting cup and wander through the caves to find open bottles for tasting at each junction. I think its in Rick's guidebook or google it. In Vaison La Romaine there is a wine coop (Coop de Vin) you will probably see as you drive in. This is an interesting stop if you are into wine. Locals bring in their grapes and get a share of the wine produced. You will see grandmothers coming in with a plastic jug and filling their jug from a spigot in the wall. They also have bottled wine with their "best" wine selling for around ten euros (a few years ago). Not much English spoken but they will pour a few samples. All field blends and actually pretty decent.
Enjoy your trip and keep on drinking!
In France, we've tasted in Loire, Alsace and Burgundy. With the exception of Burgundy and the Vouvray region in the Loire, there typically was a choice of anywhere from 4-8 wines, often both reds and whites. Even in Burgundy a winery typically had both white and red. Definitely, pinot noir and chardonnay are the dominant grapes, by far, but there tended to be a few different vintages and sometimes a sparkling or two in the mix. There were at least 3 actual wineries with tasting in Beaune. And, yes, the wines were expensive in Burgundy. In Alsace we often had many to choose from and they typically have whites--generally, reisling, pinot gris and gewurztraminer. One thing you need to typically do, is make appointments, and they could be a bit busy in the spring.
thank you all for such great suggestions. I can't wait! I don't think this tour goes to Loire region but I plan a side trip on my own before this tour starts.
We did this tour in 2017 in August. We took the TGV from Paris to Reims the day before, dropped our bags as it was too soon for our room at the tour hotel and took off walking. The plan was to visit the Museum for Surrender and the Mumm’s tasting room. The museum was closed for lunch and Mumm’s was closed period that day. We went back to the museum in the afternoon and then just covered the town. That evening we watched the fabulous light show at the cathedral. The tour meeting didn’t start til late afternoon, so we visited Tattinger’s and Martel before it started. At that time, Martel’s cellars were closed, but Tattinger’s has an extensive cellar, so that was enough. They are just a few blocks apart. Mumm’s is closer to the train station, but still a walk. Tattinger’s is big business and Martel’s is smaller. We waited for a tasting at Martel’s and then the manager sat and talked with us we we tasted our flight since no one else was there. The RS tour took us to Martel’s the next afternoon. Martel’s did not ship to US then, so we happily shlepped a bottle or two for the rest of the tour.
During the Colmar stop, we took an extensive tour of a vineyard and then did a tasting, it I’m not sure the exact location. We had lunch in Kaysersberg, so somewhere in that direction. While we were in Beaune, we visited Chateau Reilly, did a tasting and then had a picnic on the grounds. There are also many tasting rooms in Beaune itself. In Vaison La Romaine, we went to a vineyard in Seguret. Wandered the vineyard with the owner, had a tasting and then lunch there.
All the towns we stayed in had options for tasting rooms, however, there is not that much time to go off on your own to view other wineries unless you skip some of the tour activities ( you’re free to do this, as long as you let the guide know). We ended up buying wine/champagne at Martel, Chateau Ruilly, and Domaine Mourchon and carried it throughout the tour. We never regretted the weight😉 As I looked at the itinerary for this 2022 tour, I notice they are a little vague as to the exact plans. RS Tour guides have always been allowed some leeway so as to give the tour members the best experience and I suspect COVID may have left things up in the air, but I hope I’ve given you some sense of how the tour unfolds. It was a fabulous tour with so many varied experiences.
Patty --thank you so much for these suggestions--now i have some homework to do--i really wanted to visit the wineries not just an in town tasting room but time may be an issue esp since i won't have a car.
Thank you all so much--this really helps.
I’m going to poke around in my notes and old tour catalogues to see where there might be space (time) for winery visits without a car. Some of it is deciding what your tour priorities are and things you’d rather miss for the chance to visit additional wineries. It might be something where hiring a driver or a private tour would be your best bet. Are you adding time at the beginning or end of the tour?
Agree with Patty - Visiting wineries instead of tasting rooms will likely require a car, a driver (Uber?) or a separate tour. You will need to do a lot of research. Reservations may be required so advance planning will be essential.
You might have some time on your own in Reims depending on when you get there. You will visit a champagne cellar there.
The only full afternoon free that I recall was in Colmar. In Beaune we had a late afternoon and the next morning free. In Vaison la Romaine we had about half an afternoon. No wineries in Chamonix. Patty may have a better memory. :) You can skip some tour activities (just tell your guide) but nothing on this tour is skipable in my opinion. That's why I first suggested wine bars.
The winery we visited from Vaison la Romaine was the only place with a full tour or the winery production facilities. In Colmar is was just a tasting. Chateau Rully was a tasting but the wine was quite nice.
Every guide has a bit of flexibility in their schedule and, or course, lots of things can happen to screw up a schedule. We have taken 6 RS tours and I would not feel comfortable making time specific plans for the free time we have had. So, good luck to you.
Do follow Patty's advice and head to Reims early. We got there on Friday (I think the tour began on Sunday), and were so glad of the extra days. The Surrender Museum is great, and so is the Cathedral Museum.
We took this tour in August 2019. We toured a winery outside of Beaune whose name escapes me but I don’t think it was the usual winery visit on this trip as it was August and the usual winery was closed for the month. We toured another winery outside of Eguishiem owned by a young couple that was excellent. Then there was also the Martell Champagne winery in Reims. Others have mentioned Domaine Mourchon near Vaison. You will definitely be visiting wineries on this tour!
These are such great suggestions--i may just have to do some in town tastings if there is not enough time to actually visit the wineries--which is fine--i just love visiting the wineries and taking tours of their caves and vineyards. I will have time before and after the tour to do more on my own. I was going to do the 1 week RS tour of Paris right before the Eastern France tour---- but I think I just may do that on my own--I did take that tour many years ago and it was great. Keep the suggestions coming folks---many many thanks!!!!
I agree that you need to do some homework and often, wine tasting requires a car or finding a guide. But, there are in town wineries in Beaune, Colmar, Eguisheim and Riquewihr.
Hi, we did this RS tour a few years ago and enjoyed it very much! You may be unable to do much advance planning as you can't be sure of exactly when your free time will begin in each town. Suggest you talk to your guide when you meet and let him/her know what you'd like to do. I'm sure they can help direct you to the right venues. Maybe also check with the hotels if you find you'll have a free afternoon. This is a wonderful tour and the wineries we visited were memorable. Have fun!
Hi, phaedra. I'm a solo on the May 29 departure of this tour and I want to do some extracurricular wine tasting too. Thanks to all who replied for your helpful tips. Makes me even more eager to go, Omicron willing. I live in in Northern CA and have done a lot (!) of wine tasting in Sonoma and Napa. I find it's best to just talk to people in town and they will lead you in the right direction. My best experiences have been places we've just stumbled upon. That being said, I'm arriving in Reims on Friday and plan to visit a couple of champagne houses not on the tour. I'm thinking Veuve Clicquot and Ruinart. Since many are closed on Sundays, will reserve for Friday PM or Saturday when the time gets closer. Tour veterans -- any other recommendations for pre-tour in Reims?
Cheers to all!
We took this tour a few years ago and loved it! However I'm a bit dubious about whether it would really be possible to visit extra wineries on your own. If this is a deciding factor for the trip then I suggest calling the tour office and talking it over while there is still time for a full refund.
On our trip tour free time that I remember was half-day or less. A car would be preferable but in some smaller towns on the tour there may not be car rentals available. Public transit (eg. buses) are primarily geared towards taking people to work and kids to school. So while on paper you may be able to go to other towns the actual schedules may not work for travel at the times you'd need. Your best bet might be to show up in Reims a day or two in advance and either walk to some of the champagne houses in town or take an organized tour.
Tips for Winos - you can always make your own wine experiences. Examples from our experience on this tour:
In Reims - At the end of day 2 we found a wine shop a few doors down from the hotel. There was a very knowledgeable gentleman there who spoke good english. We chatted about Champagne we knew and liked and he recommended a bottle from a small local winery that we would never see in the states and he had a bottle cold. We took it back to the hotel and found glasses in the lobby. We opened it up, tasted and chatted as tour members headed off to dinner. The couple we were going to dinner finally came down and helped us to finish the bottle and we went off to dinner. Lovely evening all around.
In Beaune we found a wine shop run by a Brit who was extraordinarily knowledgeable about wine. We told him what we liked from Willamette valley and he recommended a couple of bottles which we tasted (for a fee). We brought one (pretty expensive but good) and took it with us to Chamonix. On our free day there after riding the gondola to the top and hiking a bit we stopped at a grocery and brought cheese, bread and sausage (using sign language for amounts). Took it back to the hotel garden by the river and opened the bottle from Beaune and had a late lunch. Lovely sunny day, nice location, great wine.
In Vaison La Romaine - our guide suggested late afternoon wine and snacks in the hotel garden. We brought wine from the Co-op (previously mentioned above), some had wine from the winery we visited that day. We also brought bread from the local baker just over the bridge. Almost everyone attended with wine, bread and cheese locally acquired. Lovely time.
The point is wine experiences are not limited to wineries and formal wine tastings. Experience and enjoy the wine where you find it.
GimmieGrenache - if this indicates a wine preference, and the tour takes you to Domaine Mourchon in Seguret…I just opened a bottle of their 2016 Reserve Grenache and it was REALLY good.