Wine Tourism

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The Vin en Vacances Tour BusI was never a fan of wine tours which is pretty ironic considering what I now do for a living. So what made me change my mind?

Before I worked with wine I had wanted to be that person who discovered a wonderful wine, who met a great wine maker and who went off the beaten track to discover these things. But when you only have a week or less in a wine region it is very likely that you just don’t have enough time to seek these things out.

My team and I have spent years discovering the best wineries to visit, interesting wines, fabulous journeys and great restaurants to make Vin en Vacances the most successful wine tourism business in Languedoc-Roussillon. One of the great things about touring with a wine guide is their insider knowledge, the deep understanding of the local region and of course they do all the driving for you! Arranging a wine tour is now easier than ever before and just about every wine region has a wine tour guide these days but how do you know you’re getting a good one? TripAdvisor is a good guide, we are delighted when people take the trouble to write a review and pass on their experience to others.

The Languedoc Tinkerbelles

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TinkerbellI first came across the label ‘Tinkerbelle’ when visiting a winery in Provence last summer. It’s a term that’s occasionally being used in France for female winemakers. To begin with I was not sure it was complimentary but in fact I’ve discovered that it is intended to be. Tinkerbelles are sprinkling their fairy dust around the vineyards and wineries all over Languedoc and producing some top class wines in what used to be a very male dominated profession.

I work with a lot of female winemakers and although none of them would like to be known by this appellation alone. They are proud to be winemakers and proud to be women. Take Nicole Bojanowski of Clos du Gravillas who has been producing top class wines for over 14 years from magical terroir. This ‘Tink’ is no common fairy, she works with great thoughtfulness and care producing wines with style and charm. Bridgette Chevalier of Domaine de Cébène in the Faugères appellation is living up to the Tinkerbell name by producing mystical wines that I am sure will become legendary and Katie Jones of Domaine Katie JonesJones who has been making wine for a few years now has also received great acclaim. However hers’ is no fairy tale, she has had to battle against people in her community who are afraid of the change she and her like are bringing to wine making.

Millésime Bio

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Millesime BioThe Vin en Vacances team is growing, we now number 6 wine crazy people and last weekend 4 of us headed for Montpellier and the organic wine show Millesime Bio. To make sure of an early start we decided to stay the previous night so where could a team of food & wine nuts head for dinner?

Kate had the answer and I’ll let her tell the story…

Castelmaure – no Ordinary Co-Operative!

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1409_Castelmaure Co-operative_083People who know me and my taste in wine know that I am not a big fan of co-operative wineries, although I respect their reasons for existing and accept they are currently part of the Languedoc wine scene. My preference is for small to medium sized producers who deeply respect the terroir they farm and make wines with great care and passion. OK you have to pay more for this type of wine but that’s just part of accepting a quality product. Wine consumption has changed enormously over the last 25 years and for many consumers, wine has entered their lives as a beverage and for others it has remained or has become a deeply interesting subject as well as a liquid to taste, discuss, compare and in some cases fall in love with..! I fall into the latter category and so it was a great surprise to my friends when I suggested a trip into the Corbières to visit a co-operative winery.

Grenache Day September 19th

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In some parts of the world Grenache is not a deeply appreciated grape variety but this is not true in Languedoc-Roussillon or the Rhône, Provence and of course the country where it hails from, Spain where it’s known as Garnacha. Luckily many people around the world are keen fans of this succulent grape and for the past few years it has been celebrated annually with ‘Grenache Day’ which this year is Friday 19th September.