Beautiful luxury homes aren’t the only perks that the wonderful South of France has to offer – one of the area’s most acclaimed exports is wine. All taste buds are satisfied, too: red, white, rosés and sparkling varietals are available, as well as plenty of classic vintages. Whether you want to learn about winemaking history, tour vineyards, add unique bottles to your collection or spend a day at a wine festival, there are more than enough opportunities.
Best Vineyards in the South of France
Domaine Les Cascades in Languedoc-Roussillon, though petite at just six acres, is still a standout vineyard, producing organic wine which has been fertilized by donkeys and sheep. Domaine Treloar in Roussillon, run by Jonathan Hesford, a British vinter, changes their range of wines annually. Many of their varietals can also be found at Michelin-star restaurants all over the world. At Château de Valflaunès in Montpellier, grapes are harvested manually and the wines are made with such extreme care that you can taste the quality. The 13 hectares of vines are in constant use, and winemaker Fabien Rouboul has won awards for his range of varietals.
Château de Beaucastel in Provence is located in Chateauneuf-de-Pape, which has long been synonymous with fine wines. You can try ten of the Grand Vin wines here, but make sure to make an appointment for a tasting. The area is best known for their robust reds, many of which are made with fresh cherries or strawberries, plus spices and herbs; Provence is also hailed for its rosés. Château La Canorgue, also in Provence, has been been run by five generations of the same family. Chemicals are not allowed in the production of their wine, and film buffs may recognize the chateau from the 2006 Russell Crowe movie A Good Year.
Wine Tastings and Tours in South of France
Chateau Les Carrasses in Quarante takes guests on a historical journey through the region’s rich winemaking history. Try wine and food pairings, too, and book either a half-day or full-day experience. At Château Feely in Saussignac, you can try winemaking for yourself. The course for two or more people includes an intro to winemaking and tasting, plus the chance to blend your own bottle and then take it home to enjoy. You just may have to wait a year or so before it’s ready to drink! Kids are kept busy at Château Soutard in Saint-Emilion thanks to a map reading and jaunt through the vineyards while the adults can sample wines.
Wine Festivals in the South of France
Vins Primeurs d’Oc in Béziers is one of the Languedoc-Roussillon region’s largest wine festivals, topping off its offerings with food, dance and theater performances. Salon des Vignerons et de la Gastronomie in Marseille is another large food and wine festival, hosting over 400 wine producers and serving up some of the best Mediterranean cuisine you’ll find. Salon Vin et Terroirs in Toulouse has approximately 200 wineries to explore, plus regional delicacies, while Fete des Vins et Montgolfiades in Duras starts its wine tasting once the hot air balloons that have taken flight are finally back on the ground.
Wine Experiences in Bordeaux
A list of the South of France’s best wine outings wouldn’t be complete without Bordeaux’s many experiences! Here, there are vineyards just about everywhere you look, which is why the area is one of the most influential wine districts on the globe. Selling 700 million bottles a year, Bordeaux vineyards are responsible for around 55 of the world’s most popular wines. Toward the end of May, explore the area’s vineyards by bike, taking in the stunning countryside views as you travel along. All of that exercise is a perfect excuse to imbibe afterward, too.
The charming winery at Les Ateliers de Bardins has kid-friendly workshops to keep them entertained while parents attend a tasting. At Château d’Agassac, children can pretend to rescue a princess from a tower while adults learn about wine and winemaking during their tasting (there’s a fantastic wine and chocolate pairing, too). If you opt for the B-Winemaker Tour, you’ll taste single vintage wines and then blend your favorites into a custom bottle that you’ll adorn with a label you design.