“Let’s develop wine tourism in France”; this is what the newspaper Les Echos headlined in a column published in 2019. In the process of development, although still marginal, the wine and wine tourism in France presents many advantages for an entire production chain, as well as for the territories. Before looking at the benefits of this travel-mode for our regions, let us recall the basics on the topic.
Wine tourism defines a way of traveling through which tourists discover a region by visiting different vineyards , by surveying the wine routes and hiking trails, and by participating in activities offered by estates and châteaux. The latter are more and more numerous to diversify in the reception of tourists in addition to the production and sale of their wines.
An enriching experience of sharing and discovery
Tourists who choose to experience a trip to vineyards particularly value the landscapes, towns and villages they discover on their way, as much as sincere and interesting conversations with winegrowers.
Today, it is not uncommon to observe walkers in the vineyards on electric bikes, donkeys or even off-road electric scooters. Wine growers offer a multitude of activities around one central element : wine tasting. More precisely, these peculiar experiences often complement the taste-offer which remains the mainstay of a wine tourism trip for wine lovers. The joy of meeting people is also at the heart of wine tourism. And what could be better than discovering winegrowers’ lifestyle and environment to learn more about each region?
Passing on know-how is obviously something crucial, but wine-experiences offers adapts and will continue to adapt as long as visitors are delighted by a gourmet picnic in the vineyards, or by a champagne cellar visit by mini-train.
Winalist is committed to developing wine tourism by connecting winegrowers with tourists. The diversity of our offer in each region (tasting, visit, circuit, full meal, walk, etc.) allows us today to offer everyone easy access to a modern way to discover or rediscover the traditions of great French vineyards who animate entire regions.
Wine tourism at its peak: The example of Burgundy and Bordeaux
In France, wine tourism attracts almost as many foreign visitors (42%) as French visitors (58%). In Bordeaux, which is the most attractive region for this type of travel, the region aims to become Europe’s first wine tourism destination. Beyond multiple classified growths that make up the Bordeaux vineyards, gastronomy is an essential asset in attracting customers to packaged experiences that include accommodation and meals during their trip. Not less than 13 Michelin-starred restaurants are located in Bordeaux. Today, the favorite circuits for visitors are the prestigious Médoc terroirs to discover the secrets of Pauillac, Margaux, Saint-Julien, and of course the legendary Saint-Emilion.
Burgundy, renowned for its chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Chablis or Beaujolais, is also in the top 5 wine tourism regions. In Saône-et-Loire for example, each labeled destination benefits from a tourism and wine referent. However, the multitude of small family estates is keen to maintain an authenticity that is dear to it, so as not to become a tourist attraction before being a wine producer. Some areas, on the contrary, see things in a big way, like the Chateau de Pommard which offers no less than 5 different activities, ranging from tasting in the cellar during a hot air balloon flight, and also offers a wine-truffle taste experience, a product that foreigners are particularly fond of.
The essentials to remember about wine tourism
There is no doubt about the expansion of wine tourism (+ 30% increase between 2009 and 2016). More and more accessible and sensational, the tastes of tourists increasingly meet the will of producers to diversify their activities. Everyone opens up their own perspectives: visitors to a wine-growing region turn to estates and châteaux to learn about the history of a region and the local terroir, while wine growers attract a different clientele , obvious direct source of income, and an opportunity to promote their products in order to retain French and foreign wine lovers who, eventually, will become real ambassadors of their field when they return home. This is what discovering wine tourism.