After working at a winery (ok let's be honest: after drinking the winery) in California for over 9 months, I felt well enough prepared and armed for my wine business studies in Bordeaux. BOY WAS I WRONG. You can never be ready for the French ;-)
Last weekend a good old friend of mine visited me here and we decided to hop in the car and head for the wine regions of Bordeaux. Right now it's harvest time in Bordeaux so there is a lot happening. But not on the weekends. Wineries, vineyards and Châteaux stay closed over the weekend. Full of adventure, without a clue, we dauntlessly hopped out of the car just to realize that Cheval Blanc (one of the finer Châteaux around here) had its gates closed. We watched some other tourists climb over the hedges, looked at us for a second...and in the name of wine we made our first adult desicion not to follow.
After admiring some Châteaux from the outside, total and absolut losers, we headed to St.Emilion. Thank God St.Emilion is so catholic. Cathedrals, churches and wine cellars welcomed us with open arms. Finally some wine. We tasted some wine for Brunch, ate a few Maccarons for lunch and journeyed back to Bordeaux.
We had the funnest time cuz we just winged it. But let my mistake be your lesson when you visit Bordeaux.
1. Wineries and Châteaux are closed over weekends, holidays and harvest (sep/oct; varies by Château)
2. Make a reservation at least 1 month in advance (some Châteaux have waitinglists up to 1 year)
3. Only visit max 3 Châteaux in a day: Tastings and Tours can go up to 90 min
4. If you want to visit the prestigous Châteaux, be prepared to pay 300$ for a private half day trip tour and 450$ for a private full day tour
5. Dress warmly, the cellars are cold, duh.
6. Don't climb over hedges
7. Check out these VERY TOURIST FRIENDLY AND RENOWNED CHATEAUX (who won't ruin you financially either) - experienced and approved by me, myself and I
- Château Dauzac in Margaux
- Château Carbonnieux in Pessac-Léognon
- Château Fonplplegade in Saint-Emilion
- Château Soutard in Saint-Emilion
Visit this Link for more Info on Bordeaux wine tours.
Visit this Link for direct bookings.