The Bordeaux wine region and its oceanic climate is a worthwhile pilgrimage for all global lovers of good wine. However, this region is also perfect for tourists looking to discover gorgeous chateaux and castles apart from wine tastings. What could be better than to organize a Bordeaux Chateau visit to discover this magnificent wine region, while also taking in rich history and architecture?
This is what we call wine tourism: excursions to wine regions , meet the producers who make you discover their products and their country. In the summertime, wine tourism is in full bloom and even more developed in the Bordeaux region with its many vintages.
French and foreign tourists flock to participate in tastings of the best wines, discover the best Bordeaux wine chateau visits and their precious cellars, or take part in vineyard hikes on the Médoc Wine Route.
Before we share our selection of best chateaux in Bordeaux to visit, let’s go back a few centuries ago to understand where the world famous identity of the Bordeaux vineyards comes from.
The origin of the Bordeaux vineyard
The 117,200 hectares of vineyards are the fruit of several centuries of wine culture and trade in the Aquitaine basin. Its roots go back to the time of the Roman Empire, when the notables of Bordeaux (formerly Burdiglia) decided to plant their vines themselves because of the high import prices of Italian merchants.
The Biturica variety is then planted in the Bay of Biscay. After 5 centuries of invasion followed by the decline of the Roman Empire, the monks settled in the abbeys of the region fortunately manage to keep the plots of precious vines.
In 1152, Bordeaux and its region were a model of production and wine distribution in the hands of the Kingdom of England (Eleanor of Aquitaine, the local Duchess, married Henri Plantagenêt, who became King of England). This is still the case today! In 1199, Saint-Émilion founded its wine brotherhood.
Following the Hundred Years War, Aquitaine became French again in 1453, and it was not until 1475 that normal trade resumed with the English kingdom. At the start of the 17th century and into the 18th century, Bordeaux wine, in particular red, was exported to the Dutch, then Saint-Domingue and the Lesser Antilles.
The Golden Age of Bordeaux Wine
In the 19th century, world exports exploded and the production of Bordeaux wines doubled! It will also be the century of innovations in terms of culture , since the winegrowers in turn repel a fungal epidemic called “oïdum” as well as phylloxera which had almost wiped out the entire vineyard, then downy mildew, another parasitic fungus.
Since then, the many appellations such as Saint Emilion are recognized around the world as high quality products, and Bordeaux winegrowers keep winning medals for grandiose wines of which only the latter know all the secrets.
Wine experiences in the city of Bordeaux
Are these secrets so dear to wine producers really inaccessible? Not with Winalist. For curious wine lovers, we wanted to answer a question that is often asked: Where should you taste Bordeaux wine in the city of Bordeaux and beyond? What are the best Bordeaux chateau visits during a wine tourism stay? Here are our answers.
1. Château Lestrille – a castle in the city
In historic Bordeaux, Château Lestrille has opted for a rather original wine shop named “A castle in the city”, by distributing only its wine! Its wine range is wide enough for all types of wine lovers, with white and red wines alike, a rosé, and even a clairet. You can also share some local products to taste on a board with your glass of wine.
2. L’Oenolimit, 2 rue des ayres
A well-known haunt of epicureans, the Oenolimit offers its customers impeccable service and a variety of wines, cheeses, and cold meats. The advice given is very clear and unpretentious. All at an affordable price in a warm atmosphere. We highly recommend!
3. Antoine’s cellar, organic in the spotlight!
In its two stalls on rue Furtado and rue des Faures, the Cave d’Antoine offers more than 400 wine references. There is a wine variety for those of all price ranges, from the traditional table bottle to the exceptional wine reserved for special occasions.
The particularity that we love most about this winemaker? All wines are organic or almost come from a production biodynamic – a committed approach on the part of this team of enthusiasts who are keen to support a more natural wine industry.
Beautiful Bordeaux Chateau to visit in the Bordeaux region
Wine tourism is an ideal way to discover the wine growing region of Bordeaux – whether you’re in the city itself or beyond its walls. But what are the best Bordeaux Wine Châteaux to visit during your wine tourism stay?
Winalist’s partners look forward to opening their doors to you so that you may discover the magic of a winegrowers’ daily life. With our partners, you can also taste each of their Cuvées and even guide you through their estates and castles. Here are a few that offer simple activities perfect for wine amateurs and experts alike!
1. The Clos des Abbesses
Located at Saint Sulpice de Faleyrens in Bordeaux, Clos des Abbesses is one of Saint-Émilion best wineries to visit. This family of winegrowers produces around 70,000 bottles per year thanks to more than 15 hectares of Merlot and Cabernet Franc grape varieties. Their slogan: “The Passion of a family at the service of Tradition”. You will enjoy a visit to their special estate and cellar followed by a delicious wine tasting.
2. The Château La Croizille
The De Schepper – De Mour family combines this great terroir with cutting-edge technology and traditional horticultural know-how. The result? A Château La Croizille a Saint-Emilion of character. These hosts offer several activities such as a privileged visit, or optional visits (picnic, tasting, wine bar).
3. Bonhoste Castle
In Saint-Jean-de-Blaignac in Entre-Deux-Mers, the Château Bonhoste offers a visit to the heart of thus family estate. During your visit here, appreciate the work of the vine and its terroir, visit their wine-making cellar, place of wine making as well as the underground cellar of 1300 meters squared (about 4265 feet squared). Located in a former quarry, the wines are aged in barrels. After having surveyed the domain, you will be delighted to move on to tasting the best vintages.
More beautiful Bordeaux Château on Winalist
Near Bordeaux, these most beautiful Wine Châteaux also open their doors to you for memorable wine experiences:
- Château Pape Clément
- Château La Tour Carnet
- Château de Rayne Vigneau
- Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey
- Château Suduriaut
Winalist in Bordeaux: Chateaux and Tastings
All the activities offered by Winalist want to be authentic while being a real moment of sharing. In the Bordeaux region, you will find many gastronomic experiences, Bordeaux chateau visits and even workshops to create your own wine!
To know how to do wine tourism in Bordeaux, just go there and try! The partner winegrowers of our platform of wine-enthusiasts are keen to welcome you to convey their love of the vines and the terroir to all generations, families or groups of friends. Behind the scenes of the profession of winegrower will no longer hold any secrets for you. Consult now the best offers for an oenological stay in Bordeaux. In a few clicks, you can book a tailor-made stay thanks to the many filters offered by our search engine. Plus, you don’t pay any additional booking fees!
What to know before you visit Bordeaux?
You need to know a few things before making your wish list to visit Bordeaux chateau to see your favorite wineries. Deciding which chateau to visit in Bordeaux is of course your first decision. Go to the wineries that produce your favorite wine. You will already have a relationship with the winery due to your passion for the wine and that will add more to your visit than you know. Meeting the people that make the wine you love, getting to know them and discovering everything you want to know about your favorite winery will create a life-long memory for you after you visit Bordeaux.
How to organize and arrange your Bordeaux visit?
When you visit Bordeaux wineries, most appointments are a private, one on one experience. Because of this, you really need to be on time! They have reserved this specific time just for you and it really helps for you to be respectful of that and be prompt.
When to avoid Bordeaux?
While it’s always nice to take a trip or vacation, there are a few times when you want to visit Bordeaux wineries that will make it difficult to enjoy. You might want to avoid the following dates when you plan to visit Bordeaux.
– In January, it’s cold and barren and many chateaux, especially in the Medoc are busy blending their wine.
– The first week of April should be avoided for visiting Bordeaux chateaux, unless you are involved with the wine trade. That is the week for the important en primeur tastings and few chateaux will have time for your visit. Vinexpo, the world’s largest wine and spirits convention takes place in Bordeaux every other year. This occurs in the second or third week of June. Vinexpo always takes place in odd years. For that week, you want to avoid Bordeaux.
– Harvest time, which varies in every vintage can be a beautiful experience. However, it is almost impossible for most Bordeaux chateaux to take visitors during the harvest. So, you might not want to visit Bordeaux during harvest.
Like much of Europe, most of the winemakers, owners, producers and hospitality staff leave for vacation in August. The majority of chateaux are closed to visitors during that time. It’s also important to keep in mind that almost every chateaux is closed weekends.
Saturday and Sunday Wine Tastings in Bordeaux
Visitings Chateaux in Bordeaux on weekends can be difficult. As most estates are closed, Bordeaux is not the most fun place to visit on Saturday or Sunday. Although, there are a few chateaux that remain open to visitors on Saturday, the list of estates is quite limited for Sunday visits. However, there are a few chateaux that allow visitors Sunday.
How many visits should you make or plan per day in Bordeaux?
On average for most visitors to Bordeaux, making 3 appointments a day is more than enough. This leaves you time to enjoy each visit and a nice lunch. If you are willing to start early in the day and have a shorter lunch, you can make 4 visits in a day, but that is a lot. Booking more than 4 appointments per day will not give you ample time for each visit.
How many Bordeaux Château can I visit in 1 day?
This depends on your overall schedule, but considering Bordeaux Château are not too far away from each other, you can plan to visit at least 3 in one day. It’s of course possible to visit more, but it would be too bad trying to rush your visits, while you will spend amazing experiences at each estate. If time allows it, it’s best to plan visiting just a couple each day!
What to wear when you are visiting in Bordeaux?
What to wear when you visit Bordeaux depends on each person, the time of the year and in small part, the chateau. Coats and ties are not necessary. You will be walking a lot, so comfortable shoes are a must. Pants and a nice shirt, jacket or sport coat if you like and the equivalent for women are perfect. Jeans and a shirt is also acceptable.
Transportation in Bordeaux?
As far as getting around by car, there are two different approaches to visiting Bordeaux chateaux. You can easily rent a car at the Bordeaux airport, located in Merignac, or at the train station in either St. Jean, which is closest to Pessac Leognan, or you can rent a car in Libourne, which is only minutes from St. Emilion and Pomerol.
If you rent a car, make sure you get GPS or Never Lost. This will help you when you need it. If you drive, remember, France is a no nonsense country when it comes to drinking and driving. .05 is the legal limit. If you decide to hire a driver, there are numerous cars with drivers and tour guides available.