Champagne Wine Tours

"I drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty”. Would that we had your caves at our disposal for our wine tours, Lilly Bollinger!

Champagne wine tours

In a way we do. Many champagne houses in and around the twin centres of the region, Reims and Epernay, do open their doors and cellars to the public for wine tours and introduce you to the mystic art of putting bubbles in wine. The larger houses with the world famous names show you their awesome chalk cellars and talk informatively and enthusiastically of their wines and history. The smaller makers might not have the veneer and noblesse oblige, but are equally welcoming of wine tours, by appointment, and give the wine of Kings a human touch.

A good option for wine tours, tried and tested, for those based in Paris and a little pushed for time, is a day trip. Train from Paris around 8.30 to Reims; champagne house visit; car and driver to Epernay for lunch (driving over the rolling montagne de Reims); a second champagne house visit; train from Epernay about 5.30 to arrive Paris in time for cocktails – perfect day! Of course, I can also cater for wine tours for those with more time and on a quest for more in-depth knowledge.

For accommodation, you are looking mainly at Reims or Epernay. Both have easy access to not only the great champagne houses, but also those lesser known. Reims has one of the finest hotels in France, a view to which many of my clients can testify, and is a great cathedral city. Epernay is a quintessential French provincial town. Chacun à son gout.

 Champagne Wine Tour Basics

  • About 150 kms east of Paris
  • Vines cultivated from Roman times
  • Difficult vine-growing – 60 to 80 days of frost yearly, hail possible in summer
  • Three grape varieties: Pinot Noir (red grape) gives strength and structure; Pinot Meunier (red grape) is supple, round, fruity; Chardonnay (white grape) gives vivacity, finesse, elegance
  • Wines normally a blend of grape varieties, but ‘Blanc de Blanc’ 100% Chardonnay, ‘Blanc de Noir’ 100% from the two Pinots
  • Key tasting words: brioche, apricot, hawthorn, coffee, honey, pear, vanilla, hazelnut