Burgundy is one of the jewels of French viticulture. It is also the second region in France if we look at Burgundy wine tourism compared to other wine regions. Located in the east of France, it is a region conducive to the cultivation of a multitude of mostly white grape varieties.
Where is Burgundy, France?
Its vineyard represents approximately 3% of the surface of vines cultivated in France.
The Burgundy wine region is an area of France located in the center of the country. It lies on the eastern side of Paris and is one of the most historically significant regions in France. It was once an independent kingdom and is now divided into four main areas:
- La Côte d’Or
Burgundy is recognized for its wine tourism in its area and is world-renowned for Burgundy wine tours tastings. Wines and tourism in Burgundy are a match made in heaven.
There are a multitude of estates and wineries to visit in Burgundy between the Côte de Nuits in the north and the Côte de Beaune in the south have developed wine tourism in Burgundy. Dijon, Burgundy’s winegrowing capital, is less than 2 hours from Paris by TGV and convenient for a weekend getaway.
Burgundy wine tourism: overview of the best areas to visit
The Château de Pommard, situated to the east of Beaune in the Burgundy region of France, is an 18th century estate and home to the largest private vineyard in the area. It is a renowned destination for visitors who wish to explore and learn about some of the finest wines in the world.
Guests may book Winalist activities such as a lunch experience revolving around truffles or an “exceptional” tasting of premier wines. Those seeking more adventure can opt for a hot air balloon flight over the vines, with magnificent views of rolling hills and lush vineyards stretching out before them.
In addition, Bouzeron’s Chanzy house offers cellar tours and tastings from different grape varieties so that guests may discover their passion for great Burgundy wines. Tour participants are given guided tours through the cellar and taught how to assess quality through sight, smell and taste.
Besides this, they are also educated on identifying which wines would pair best with certain dishes or occasions. This comprehensive experience allows guests to truly appreciate all aspects of wine making and gain a deeper understanding of the rich heritage that has been passed down throughout generations in this area.
The area is steeped in history, with its prestigious estates that have been producing fine quality wines since antiquity. Such estates remain popular tourist attractions today, with each providing unique experiences focused on traditional winemaking techniques as well as modern innovations in viticulture and oenology.
With its majestic setting surrounded by vineyards, chateaux and picturesque villages, it’s no wonder why Burgundy has become one of France’s most sought-after holiday destinations for wine enthusiasts from all around the world.
Among the most prestigious, the Maison Regnard in Chablis, near Auxerre, produces no less than 7 Grands Crus de Chablis, including Pic 1 er and a dozen white and red appellations.
For a high-end visit with friends or family, Domaine Regnard knows how to do it. The owners offer you a private dinner or lunch in the lounges of the castle or a private tour followed by a wine tasting.
Discover Crémant de Bourgogne with Winalist
The Burgundy vineyards are renowned for their production of exquisite wines, and one of the most interesting developments in recent years has been the increasing production of Crémant de Bourgogne, a sparkling wine.
This effervescent beverage is made from four appellations: White, White of Whites, White and Black and Pink.
The production of this delightful wine involves carefully sourcing the various hand picked grapes from several different Burgundian vineyards before pressing and blending them together to achieve its distinctive flavor.
The Veuve Ambal family house is at the forefront of this product’s development, offering visitors a unique glimpse into their production process. Guests can gain insight into how their Crémant de Bourgogne is made, by exploring their estate’s vineyards and winemaking facilities.
Those who enjoy the taste can partake in a selection of tastings to determine which variety best meets their needs. Whether it’s a refreshing burst of bubbles for an occasion or a savory accompaniment for dinner – there is something for everyone within this range.
There are numerous benefits to drinking this type of sparkling wine from Burgundy: it’s packed with complex aromas that swirl together to make up an incredibly aromatic experience; it’s light-bodied yet flavorful; it’s lower in alcohol than other sparkling wines so you can enjoy more glasses without getting too intoxicated; plus, it pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes alike – making it an excellent accompaniment any meal!
All in all, the fascination with Crémant de Bourgogne appears set to continue growing in popularity as people seek out its unique qualities and flavours.
Those looking to experience this delightful drink should look no further than Veuve Ambal’s estate – where you will find a complete selection ranging across all four appellations, ensuring that anyone looking for an unforgettable bubbly treat will be spoilt for choice!
Crémant de Bourgogne exists under four appellations:
- Crémant de Bourgogne White : at least 30% Pinot Noir or Chardonnay: a balanced wine with complex aromas.
- Crémant de Bourgogne White of whites : composed only of white grape varieties, mainly Chardonnay.
- Crémant de Bourgogne White and black : made from Pinot Noir, it is a more structured wine.
- Crémant de Bourgogne pink : created mainly from Pinot Noir, it can be associated with Gamay . A more elegant wine with notes of red fruits.
Winalist offers you to combine taste of Burgundy wine and wine tourism thanks to its search engine dedicated to providing tourists with the best wine tourism everywhere in France. In just a few clicks, you can find the best activities in the estates, châteaux, and cellars of our partner winegrowers.
Wine tasting in Burgundy : 4 mistakes not to make
Mistake #1: Don’t fail to get out into the countryside
One major mistake novice visitors often make when embarking on a wine-tasting trip to Burgundy is missing out on the countryside vineyards and cellars that are generally only accessible by car.
Don’t get us wrong: Beaune, Burgundian’s historic capital of winemaking, is an absolute must-see, warranting at least two or three days to explore. We would never suggest skipping a thorough visit of this elegant city, whose medieval abbeys established the very treasured winemaking practices and philosophies still practiced around the region today.
We especially recommend a private tour and exclusive wine tasting session at the Hospices de Beaune, a 15th-century foundation and former hospital whose colourful glazed-tile roofs and distinctive medieval architecture symbolise the glorious reign of the Dukes of Burgundy.
Anyone who professes to be a serious wine collector should also attend the annual Wine Auction at the Hospices de Beaune at least once in their life: it’s quite possibly the world’s most prestigious.
All of this being said, confining your stay to Beaune or the equally marvelous city of Dijon will unfortunately narrow your understanding of the diverse region, and keep you from getting to see some of its less obvious, and quite exclusive, cellars.
If you really want to experience Burgundian wine culture and history to the fullest, you’ll have to get out into the countryside.
Certainly more than any other wine regions, Burgundy should be navigated with local experts. Thanks to our extensive local network and in-depth knowledge of Burgundy wines, we will make your journey remarkable. We will show you the region’s best cellars and help you gain access to wineries and tastings you wouldn’t likely to be able to secure yourself.
More About Countryside Burgundy Wine Tourism
Most luxury wine tours of Burgundy’s gorgeous countryside will begin with an exploration of the Côtes de Beaune, which produces some of the world’s most-prized chardonnay wines, noted for their complexity, richness and intensity.
Wines from the Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, and Chassagne-Montrachet appellations produce seven out of eight of Burgundy’s white “grand crus” varieties, making this area particularly coveted by wine collectors.
Who has not dreamt of tasting a sumptuous bottle of Montrachet, Chevalier Montrachet or Batard Montrachet in the middle of the very vines that produces these remarkable wines?
The rich history of medieval wine-making is evident in the area; monks at the abbey of Cluny and others divided vineyards into small plots they called “climats”, distinctive for their exposure to sunlight, mineral content and other properties. These medieval practices continue to deeply inform the “terroir” philosophies that reign in Burgundy today.
Your private tour of the Burgundian wine countryside might continue with a scenic and thrilling drive around the Côte de Nuits, the region’s most prestigious and beautiful wine-making area for Pinot Noir, and world-famous for appellations including Vosne-Romanée, Gevrey-Chambertin (which itself alone produces 9 grands Crus), Chambolle-Musigny, Morey-Saint-Denis, Vougeot and Nuits-Saint-Georges.
You might embark on a tour on board a vintage 2CV car and roam through the area’s coveted vineyards, passing through these mythic wine-making villages. The vineyards here, which extend for 60 miles from Dijon in the north all the way south to the Nuits Saint Georges, generally grow on unusually steep hills, or “cotes”, which gives the wine-making area part of its name.
Burgundians attribute the distinctiveness of the exceptional wines and grands crus produced here to their particular geographical conditions. Some of the smallest appellations, prized by wine lovers worldwide, are made here. These include the rare La Romanee, fully owned by Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, whose vineyards measure less than a hectare—the world’s smallest! Mass production rarely rhymes with luxury and prestige, after all.
A private wine-tasting excursion in the Cote de Nuits would almost certainly include a stop at the Romanée-Conti vineyard, which produces the most expensive wine in the world.
The Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, without question the most famous estate in Burgundy, if not the world, responsible for producing some of the globe’s finest Burgundian grands crus, from the single white Montrachet to six distinctive reds (Romanee-Conti, La Tache, Romanée St. Vivant, Richebourg, Grands Echezeaux and Echezeaux).
Although not especially easy to access, a private wine tasting or workshop in the midst of these legendary vineyards is a memorable and educational experience in its own right. It is simply essential for anyone wishing to truly understand the vintnering culture of Burgundy.
Another essential stop in the Cote de Nuits area are the castle and vineyards of the Clos de Vougeot, once tended by the monks of Citeaux, who established vilification traditions in the 11th century still prized today.
The breathtaking châteaux and surrounding countryside are one of the most singularly charming sites in Burgundy, and the history of the region’s winemaking practices comes alive here. It is now owned by the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, which brings together Burgundy wine lovers throughout the world. Members gather around festive black tie tasting dinners: this is another must for any Burgundy wine enthusiast.
Mistake #2: Don’t try to see (or taste) too much
A second major mistake made by first-time visitors to Bourgogne? They try to cram too many tastings, vineyards and cellar tours into a short trip. Sure, your ambition of tasting every Burgundian grand cru you can get your hands on is understandable, and your passion admirable. And it’s certainly not out of the question to envisage a private tour of the region that has you see the major cities and appellations over 4 or 5 days: perhaps a day in Beaune, followed by a day enjoying exceptional and private tastings in the Cote de Beaune, followed by a day in the Cote de Nuits, and another exploring Dijon and environs.
But if you only have 24 or 48 hours in Burgundy, it wouldn’t be wise to rush around from cellar to cellar in hopes of ticking off all the boxes or tasting every prestigious wine recommended by Decanter. An authentic encounter with the wine-making culture here means taking time to really savour the wines you taste; to allow yourself to be drawn into conversations and to build rapports with the winemakers, and to learn from their incredible passion and savoir-faire. You’re much more likely to come away feeling as if you’ve “cracked” the mysteries of Bourgogne wine-making if you slow the pace down a bit, and settle on one area and up to two cellars a day. Skimming the surface and rushing around from one tasting to the next won’t initiate you, moreover, to the oh-so-French art of taking one’s time, of relishing in the luxurious art of “slow living”.
Mistake #3: Don’t neglect to learn about the terroirs
Les Brulées, les Charmes du dessous, les Beaux Bruns, les Bressandes, le Charlemagne… these curious names in fact refer to minute plots of Burgundy vineyards, and reveal the history and the secrets of their remarkable wines.
This notion of the “terroir” is a complex and rather poetic one, and as such can be a bit daunting for wine amateurs. Yet it’s also a fundamental part of Burgundian wine culture: in no other region does it play such a large part in cultivation and vinification practices.
The 1,247 climats or terroirs of Burgundy are so precious that they have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The small-yield vines grown in the Cote de Beaune and the Cote de Nuits areas produce wines whose characteristics, nose and flavour are incredibly distinctive, owing to the subtle geographic conditions, soil quality/mineral make-up, positioning in relation to the sun and other factors that come together to define a given “climat”. Although only two varieties of grape are used to make Burgundy’s exceptional wines– Chardonnay for whites and Pinot noir for reds, the diversity of characteristics and flavours is astounding among the different appellations.
Learning about the history and philosophy of the terroirs will go a long way in helping you to understand how much of an art form winemaking is in Burgundy. While it’s certainly not a philosophy shared by all vintners around the world, those whose wines reign in Burgundy believe le vin is much more than chemistry and agriculture: it’s a form of poetry, deeply connected to the land. In your private encounters with these extraordinary vintners, you will learn more about their practices and their passionate conviction that upholding the character of a particular “climat” represents the heart and soul of what they do.
Mistake #4: Don’t make it all about the wine
We know – we’re all about wine, and so is Burgundy, and for good reason! Wine is certainly the heart and soul of Burgundy. But to truly appreciate the region and encounter it in an authentic and rounded way, try to incorporate some cultural exploration, gastronomy and discovery of the region’s other specialities into your stay.
For architecture and art, the aforementioned Hospices de Beaune is obviously essential. Touring the former hospital or “Hotel Dieu”, you’ll learn not only about the history of the region’s Ducal power structure, but also encounter some magnificent medieval art, and gain insight into the building’s centuries-long history as a place of refuge and rest for the ill and the poor.
Established in the 15th century after the 100 Year’s War, the hospital represents a place of rehabilitation and peace following a period of terrible human loss. Exploring the beautiful adjoining vineyards and tasting its own wines is in order too, of course.
Meanwhile, Dijon also offers some remarkable architecture and culture, including intact 13th century medieval buildings and the magnificent Saint Benigne Cathedral. Exploring the former abbeys of the Burgundian countryside, including the Clos de Vougeot, is essential if you want to gain a greater understanding of the region’s winemaking history.
Gastronomy and fine local food is also something you should make time to experience on any luxury getaway in the region. While in Beaune or Dijon, you might sample some delicious Boeuf bourguignon, gently cooked in red wine and select spices, and enjoy fine local specialities such as pain d’epices (gingerbread), escargot, or another signature Burgundian dish, œufs en meurette (poached eggs in a rich red wine sauce). You should also ask your guide to make suggestions for dining at some of the region’s most renowned gourmet tables, which offer innovative twists on local specialities.
How to Reach Wine Tasting Experiences in Burgundy
Wine tasting tours in Burgundy are easily accessible by different means of transportation.
Burgundy wine region is located in the central-east part of France and the two closest airports, if you are willing to start your wine tastings and tours in the north part, are Paris Orly (ORY), which is 170/200km away, or Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) that is 200/250km away.
If you want to start your visit in Mâcon to discover wine tastings and tours in Burgundy, you can lend at the Saint Exupéry Airport in Lyon (LYS) which is more or less 100km away, or at the Geneva International Airport (GVA) in Switzerland, 150/170km from the south-eastern appellations.
To start discovering wine tastings and tours in the Burgundy wine region, it’s better if you rent a car once you arrive at the airport or take a train to a station closer to the region.
If you decide to do wine tastings and tours in Burgundy, you can drive along the Burgundy Wine Trail, a 220km route that starts in Chablis and ends in Mâcon (or vice versa). Midway, you will arrive in Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy.
Here is some very detailed information about how to reach Beaune and take part in wine tastings and tours in Burgundy: A6, A31 direction Dijon and then Lille or Nancy; A38 towards Besançon or Basel.
If you take the motorway A6 : exit numbers are 24.0 (Savigny-Lès-Beaune / Beaune-Saint-Nicolas) or n° 24.1 (Beaune-Centre / Beaune-Hospices).
Chablis is 177km from Paris Orly airport and 220km from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, so if you decide to rent a car there, you need to drive southways following the roads that lead to Dijon or Mâcon.
If you arrive at the Geneva International Airport or in Saint Exupéry Airport in Lyon, drive towards Mâcon and then start discovering wine tastings and tours in Burgundy.
The easiest way to get to the heart of Burgundy, and participate in wine tastings and tours, by train is to arrive in Dijon with a TGV from Paris, Mulhouse or Lyon.
From Dijon central station, you can choose to get to four small stations in the Burgundy wine region: Beaune, Meusault (check for TER), Chagny or Santenay.
Another possibility is to take a train to Mâcon and then drive on the Wine Trail and look for wine tastings and tours in Burgundy.