We are a small and happy team of qualified wine nuts who have made Occintanie our home.
Our passion for the region, its wines, food, culture and history are the reason we are here and we want to share this with you.
We are personable, engaging and fun people to spend the day with and our knowledge will give you a fascinating and deeply enjoyable tour you will remember for a long time.
All our Scheduled Wine & Food Tours are English spoken and we promise no jargon just fun and laughter as well as an in-depth understanding of the wines and our beautiful region. Our team comprises of English, French, Dutch, Catalan and Spanish speakers so if you prefer one of these languages we can create a Private Tour just for you. Whichever language you choose we promise you ‘No Wine Snobbery’..!
Meet the team…
Wendy Gedney. I started Vin en Vacances in 2009 following my dream to live in the south of France. I passed the WSET Diploma in 2006 and became a wine teacher and loved sharing my knowledge with people but France was calling as were the Languedoc vineyards. From the start I designed tours that take you off the beaten track to hidden vineyards travelling though beautiful scenery and learning what makes Languedoc so special. Naturally its wine that I want to showcase but also the people who makes it with great passion and plenty of hard work. Local food, delicious lunches and learning some of the history are also part of my tours. Over the years I have been joined by my fabulous team of wine guides; first Kate who has earned her place as my right-hand girl and then followed by Marcel and Carlos and now this year Ana. All of these wine professionals love to run our range of carefully designed wine & food tours and are looking forward to meeting you.
Kate Wardell is a hospitality graduate of HOSTA – the hospitality, food, wine and tourism school based in Leysin, Switzerland and is a dedicated foodie. Her excellent wine knowledge is currently being put to the test as she completes the WSET Diploma having already achieved level 3 and she is regularly asked to judge wines at Europe’s largest Organic wine EXPO – Challenge Millesime Bio. Kates fun personality, her passion and enthusiasm for Languedoc and its wine plus her love of food make her a deeply knowledgeable and very engaging professional and a wonderful person to spend a day or two with when in Languedoc. Although English, Kate has lived in this region since 2007 and knows the place like the back of her hand plus she speaks excellent French. This combined with her first-class knowledge of the whole of France and its wine regions makes her the ideal person to run many of our Taste! Tours and she is often found in Burgundy, Champagne and the Alsace, some of her favourite wine regions.
Marcel van Baalen is our favourite Dutchman and valued member of our team. He gained his deep understanding of wine whilst working as a sommelier in the Dutch wine business for more than 25 years. He’s been a valuable member of the Vin en Vacances team for 5 years since he followed his dream to live and work in the Languedoc. Since arriving here he has become a ‘local’ counting many wine makers as close friends. A true wine professional, he has a relaxed and entertaining style that is wrapped in a deep well of wine knowledge that he loves to share with people. As well as running tours in Languedoc Marcels appreciation of wines from other regions of France makes him the ideal person to run Taste! Tours in Northern & Southern Rhône and in Bordeaux.
Carlos Lluch lives in the beautiful village of Lagrasse close to Carcassonne but he was born and raised in Barcelona and educated in Catalan, Spanish, French and English. With his natural Latin charm and a gift for languages, he was always destined to be a tour guide and last year he achieved his ambition of attaining the prized Official Guide Licence for French National & Historical Monuments & Cities. This is testament to his knowledge of France and its history and as you might expect he is our top history guide running many of our Cathar and history related tours. Carlos has also worked in the world of wine at well-known châteaux in Languedoc plus he holds the WSET qualification and loves to run wine tours in the Languedoc especially his beloved Corbières. His wine and history knowledge coupled with his language skills make Carlos the ideal person to run our Taste! Tours in Spain. In fact, a tour anywhere with Carlos is always an enriching and fun experience.
Ana Ricard was born in Provence where her passion for wine grew amongst the delicious Cotes du Rhône and Provençal wines. She trained as a wine maker and for 6 years worked her own vineyard before heading to Australia to experience wine making in the southern hemisphere. Although she loved Australia and the wines there she missed her homeland so returned to France and has now made Languedoc-Roussillon her home. A qualified and passionate wine guide Ana‘s enthusiasm for Languedoc and its wines will ensure you enjoy a very informative and fun day in the vines. Coming from Provence Ana is the ideal person to run our Taste! Tours in Provence. Ana is also involved in our sales and marketing and will be delighted to help you choose the best tour for you.
Marcels wife Petra is a wonderful cook and loves to create the perfect alfresco lunch for our clients. During the summer months our clients will enjoy a fabulous 4 course lunch made from local fresh and often organic ingredients accompanied by local wine and all prepared by “Home Made by Petra”. Petra is also the talent behind many of our food & wine dinners and Tasty Tapas wine tastings and past clients have also asked her to prepare delicious private suppers at their holiday rental.