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Wine Country Tours in the Loire Valley

Wine Country Tours Loire Valley Vineyards Image
The wine culture in France is an intricate part of the country's ethos, it's true you can taste wine anywhere in the world but here you'll be tasting wine just a few minutes away from the vineyards where it was grown. The Loire Valley has especially fertile soil and an ideal climate for growing the many grape varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Chenin, Pinot and Gamay grapes which are used to produce the regions wines.

The wine regions of the Loire Valley include the areas around Touraine, Vouvray, Menetou-Salon, Sancerre, Reuilly, Coteaux du Vendomois, Bourgueil, Chinon and Chateaumeillant. The remarkable thing is that you may have heard these names and even drunk the wines baring these names on the labels. But here you can taste wines in their authentic environment.

The wines have diverse tastes and characteristics which you'll learn about on your wine tour. The valley has a long tradition of wine growing dating back to the 5th century and boasts 24 AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controlee, a seal of authenticity and quality) wines.  You could just get in your car and start driving and make your way from vineyard to vineyard conducting your self-guided wine tour or you could take one of the organized tours.

Self Guided Wine Tours of the Loire Valley

If you plan to go it alone you should base yourself around Nantes, Angers or Saumur. Although the distances are not that great so you could tour from anywhere in the region. You can taste wine at the Wine House of Tours, the Wine House of Cheverny where these is self-service tasting and the House of Sancerre where you can also explore the vineyards.

Under the Loire Valley Vineyard (Caves Touristique Vignoble de Loire) 300 wine cellars signed a "Wine Charter" agreeing to open their doors to tourists. You can read about their recommended routes online. For example start in Villiers-sur-le-Loir or at the Loire Valley vineyard in the northernmost part of the valley. Then on to Vendome and Coteaux du Vendomois and through Thore-la-Rochette and Lavardin to Montoire-sur-le-Loir to enjoy the troglodyte cellars. Then it's on to Ponce-sur-le-Loir and Ruille-sur-Loir and see the vineyards at Jasnieres. You might want to stop at the wine museum (Musee de la Vigne de L'HJomme). And finally visit Coteaux du Loir.

Organized Wine Tours of the Loire Valley

Loire Wine Tours offer half day to four day tours and some tours which set out from Paris for the day. They also have wine tasting dinners and individually tailored tours. All the tours are fully accompanied by knowledgeable guides. Some tour companies offer a vineyard discovery tour where you learn how to read the French wine labels; about the significance of a wine's vintage and the wine making process. One day tours often begin in Saumur, one of the central wine growing areas of the valley. Other tours teach you about pairing wine with food and you get to visit organic vineyards. 

Loire Valley Vacation Rentals

Make your stay in the Loire Valley complete by experiencing life in the French countryside  with accommodations in one of France Homestyle's vacation rental cozy cottages or country estates.   L'Ermitiere located in the heart of the Loire Valley  on the grounds of the Château de Beaumont complete with swimming pool and a tennis court, sleeps up to 12 guests, serves as an excellent base for your wine touring adventures. Completely renovated in 2003, La Lissiere can comfortably accommodate eight to twelve guests, and shares the grounds with L’Ermitiere.  Besides wine touring, the Loire Valley is also know for its many chateaus open for public tours, La Closerie is a three-bedroom home ideally situated in the region of the grand chateaus complete with professionally tended garden and a large swimming pool.

If country estates aren't your style, France Homestyle also offers several cozy country cottages central to Loire wineries and vineyards.  Baulay is a converted farmhouse located minutes by car from Tours, Chinon, Saumur, and Bourgeuil, the finest wineries in the Loire, as well as a wealth of other activities and local restaurants that serve cheese and cuisine of the region. Baulette vacation rental is a charming and cozy 1½-story stone house that has been entirely restored located on quiet, picturesque grounds that include ponds, gardens, fountains, and private "al fresco" dining areas. Baulette is outside the village of Saché home to the sculptor Alexander Calder and several well know chateaus, such as Chateau d’Ussé which inspired the tale of Sleeping Beauty.