Wine Tourism in the Loire Valley... See What's on Offer!
The Loire Valley is a beautiful and welcoming region full of culinary delights that's ideal for wine tourism. From Muscadet to Touraine, the vineyards here are the perfect place to explore, whether you're looking for a quick one-hour tour, a weekend getaway, a week-long trek, or more! Read on to meet some of the valley's key figures.
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Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and located between Chalonnes-sur-Loire (Maine-et-Loire) and Sully-sur-Loire (Loiret), Loire Valley vineyards have not been spared from the recent rise in wine tourism. In fact, they have become a top destination! For proof, look no further than the network of 350 estates with "wine cellar tour" certification. Visitors can enjoy bike trips or car rides through vineyards, explore the 500-mile "Wine Route" trail, stroll through winery walking paths, take an introductory course on enology, and visit the wine cellars in the Saumurois and Touraine regions, which are carved directly into the rock. The area has developed a reputation for its warm hospitality. Whether nestled within gently rolling landscapes or set against more spectacular backdrops, such as the banks of the Loire River and its one-of-a-kind lighting, there are a wide variety of vineyards to choose from. These diverse estates can be owned by individuals or institutions.
Muscadet: a must-see!
Why not start in the Muscadet growing region, which is located in western France in the middle of the Nantes area. You'll have a wide range of estates to choose from. The designation is booming, thanks especially to the creation of vintages. Ready to get up close and personal? Why not tour the Haute-Févrie winery in Maisdon-sur-Sèvre? From his charming and simple setup, Sébastien Branger offers visitors a taste of his delicious organic wines and a tour of the wine cellar. "We think it's important to continue welcoming the public to our family estate. We enjoy this kind of face-to-face contact, as do our visitors. We get to share our philosophy with them and explain how we work." Next, follow the scenic heritage route called Le Voyage dans le Vignoble (Trip Through The Vineyards), which is punctuated by ten stops between Nantes and the stunning, Italian-style town of Clisson. The creator of the Nantes Wine Tour, Franck Pasquier, uses his eight-seat minivan to offer half-day or full-day outings featuring estate tours and wine-tasting in the vineyards. "Over the past four to five years, the level of wine tourism in the Muscadet and Loire Valley regions has really increased."
How about a quick tasting at Villandry?
We head upstream along the Loire Valley towards Touraine. It hardly needs to be said that Tours is full of excellent bars where visitors can taste the region's wines. Wine tourism is booming in this area as well, and operators, including Christophe Prouteau, are offering some rather surprising packages. This passionate and one-of-a-kind wine expert hosts unique, sensory-rich wine-tasting events called "7 Wines, 7 Gardens" and "7 Wines, 7 Castles" in extraordinary places, including the Château de Villandry. In the heart of the Vouvray designation, just a few miles outside of Tours, Myriam Fouasse-Robert has created another tourist attraction called Rendez-vous dans les vignes (Vineyard Rendezvous). Here, tourists can enjoy unique tastings and walking tours, a picnic among the vine stock, tasting classes, or a gourmet walking tour designed for children. The Loire Valley was already world famous for its beautiful castles. Today, its vineyards have become a top tourist destination in their own right.