Vineyards of France
French wine is one of the most iconic images in the entire world. Wine is produced all over France, to the tune of almost eight billion bottles of wine a year. Likewise, wine tourism in France is a huge industry. As one of the world’s primary destinations for wine tourism, travelers venturing to France in search of some of the best French wines are able to not only experience a multitude of well-known French vineyards, but also spend time exploring various smaller vineyards in France.
On your next exclusive wine tour of France, you’ll be able to sample both inexpensive wines and some of the most expensive and famous wines in the entire world. Keep in mind is that the vast majority of wines produced in France are meant to be an accompanying item to the food served, and very few wines have been created in France that are primarily designed to be consumed by themselves. So you’ll have to be sure to sample the local cuisine while you’re exploring the country’s local vineyards!
Exploring the French Countryside in Search of Great Wine
The most important factor in the French wine tourism industry is a concept called terroir. This is a term referring to the combinations of factors which affect the grapes grown at a specific vineyard. This includes the type of soil, the slope the grapes are grown on, the orientation of the plants to the sun, the general climate of the area, and a number of other factors. These factors greatly influence the final taste of the grapes and, thus, the taste of the wines that are made from them. This concept is used to a great degree in the Burgundy region, in particular.
Here are some of the best wine regions to visit in France:
More About the Iconic Wine Regions in France
Alsace – A white wine producing region bordering Germany. They produce many types of grapes from which red and sparkling wines are created. Grape varieties that can be found in this area include Muscat (from which Moscato is made), Riesling, Pinot gris, Pinot noir, and Pinot blanc.
Burgundy – One of the most popular and diverse areas in France with regard to wine. They place an equal importance on both red wine and white wine and have the most terroir conscious growing techniques of any region. The two primary grape varieties grown in this region are Pinot noir and Chardonnay. Aligote is also grown here, though less frequently than the other two.
Champagne – Guess what wine calls this area home? Situated near Luxembourg and Belgium, Champagne is the coldest wine producing region in France. The cold, crisp temperatures produce the grapes (of the same name) used to produce the famous sparkling wine.
Bordeaux – A huge wine producing area on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. They primarily produce red wines. They are typically blended and usually result from a combination of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. They also produce some dry and sweet white wines as well. This region has a rich history and is well worth a visit.
South West France – This is a huge and varied collection of inland wine producing areas south of Bordeaux. They make primarily red wines in a style similar to those created in the Bordeaux region, but this area is well worth a visit. Besides the wine, South West France is one of the most beautiful geographic regions in the country.
Loire – A huge white wine producing region stretching along the shores of the Loire River in the western and the central parts of France. The exact grape varieties vary depending on exact location and follow the technique of terroir.
Provence and Corsica –The oldest wine producing regions in the country, this is where the first grape vines were planted in France. Cote de Provence is the most popular wine coming from this region. Pay particular attention to the hills around Cote d’Azur where the vineyards plant their vines among cultivated flowers.
Rhone Valley – Most of the wine produced in this beautiful region are red. The vineyards here begin south of Lyon and continue to Avignon in the south. There are two primary sub-divisions in this region: north and south. The northern vineyards are all on steep hills and cling to terraces. This is where the Syrah grape is cultivated. The vineyards in the southern part of the Rhone Valley are located among orchards of olives, pears, and almonds and lavender fields. Reds are produced here, but most are blended.
Tips for Exploring the Vineyards of France
One thing to look for, in particular, during your trip to France are the French fortified wines, which are nearly unknown outside of the areas that they are initially produced at in France. These are typically used as post-meal drinks to compliment whatever was eaten during the meal. They are stronger and sweeter due to a slightly longer fermentation process. It is definitely worth spending time trying to find some fortified wine when visiting France.
Traditionally, France has actually been the top consumer of the wines that it produces. It is important to note that people of France are neither socially shy nor are they shy about drinking and sharing their wine. Should you travel there, keep that factoid in mind. If you travel to wine country during the off-season, it is likely you will be invited to more informal meetings with the locals where you can learn more about the culture and also break bread with the locals while learning about local wine varieties and sharing some homemade food.
Always remember to enjoy French wine responsibly. The driving regulations in France are very strict, and the law will not take pity on you because you’re on vacation. Auto Europe encourages you to designate a driver on your next trip to France, or consider arranging a private chauffeur that will whisk you to and from France’s best vineyards!
Making the Most of Your Next Wine Tour in France
Take advantage of the wine tourism in France this year and choose to rent a car with Auto Europe. The vineyards of France offer a little something for everyone. Even if the wine is not your end goal, it can only serve as a booster for your enjoyment of the rich culture of France and the amazing vistas that can be seen there. Fortunately, given the popularity of new vineyards in up-and-coming wine producing countries, more deals are available for old staples like the vineyards in France. Traveling during the off-season is the best time to visit France, especially considering the money that can be saved on both lodgings and on airfare for the trip. Not to mention the fact that you will be able to avoid being around too many other tourists.
Rely on Auto Europe to be your one-stop shop for planning your next wine-centric vacation in France! We offer great rates on not only France car rentals, but also hotel accommodations, travel accessories, the best AAA car rental discounts, and everything in between! Make your reservation online, or call us toll-free 24/7 at 1-888-223-5555.