Go to Bordeaux !



Go there. Make arrangements with your friends and go. It's not as complicated as it might seem.


You can make your own travel arrangements, without a travel agent. It's really not that complicated - buy a ticket, arrange accommodation and a rental car.

That's all you need.

Of course, you can go with a travel agency. But I think that's completely unnecessary and also limiting. The travel company has its conditions, you usually can't choose where you go because the program is set, you sleep somewhere you may not be comfortable ... etc, etc.

But when you go for wine on your own or with friends, you don't have to look back on anything. You set your own travel dates, choose the accommodation with the comfort and price that suits you. On the spot, you decide which chateaux to visit, as well as where and when to stop for a meal. It's much more freedom, fun and to some extent adventure.

I don't know how much a week's tour of the Bordeaux wineries costs with a tour operator, but it works out to about € 600 for me and my friends, not including meals. The price includes airfare, accommodation with very decent amenities and car rental. As elsewhere in the world, prices are lower outside the summer season.

Eating cheaply in France is not a major problem. For fresh croissants you can pop into a bakery in the morning, get lunch at a food truck (in every other chateau if they have an "open door" event) or go to one of the local restaurants or cafeterias where the cooking is impeccable and the lunch menu is around 15€ (I recommend these). And for dinner you can go somewhere or cook something in your accommodation. You can buy ingredients in the supermarket, the choice is more than enough. You can also enjoy a nice evening with dinner while barbecuing with a good bottle of wine! Practically every accommodation (except the hotel) has a grill available.

They say the French don't speak English. That was once upon a time. In the vast majority of wineries, English is easily spoken. There are occasional exceptions - in smaller family-run wineries, with older generations of owners. But even that can be managed. The winemakers are nice and friendly, so where there is a will, you can speak and taste the wine even without knowing the language. :)


How to organise it on the spot

If it's your first time touring the wineries around Bordeaux, it's easiest to choose one of the weekend events, which are usually called Portes Ouvertes, or 'open doors'. You can find a list of them here.

Practically every appellation (wine region) around Bordeaux organises this event once a year (some even twice). Usually dozens of Chateaux in the appellation sign up for this one. They then open their doors on Saturdays and (most of them) Sundays as well, usually from 10am to 6pm, and anyone who wants to stop by and taste their wine.

The event includes guided tours of the wineries (also in English), some Chateaux cook food or have a food truck, and the accompanying programs, from music to a vintage car show, are no exception.

These weekend events have two significant advantages:

1, you don't have to arrange visits in advance, you don't have to be anywhere on time. You just go wherever you want

2, there's no charge for the action, it's free everywhere.


Of course, it is also possible to arrange a visit to your favourite Chateaux outside the open days. Many of them even offer several options on their websites for tours and tastings. But be aware that all of these visits are paid.

When it comes to driving and sobriety, know that a person who sacrifices to get behind the wheel doesn't have to be completely abstinent. For one thing, it's legal to have 0.5‰ of alcohol in your blood while driving in France, and for another, you don't get very drunk at the tastings in each Chateaux. In fact, only a little is poured into the glasses, no more than a quarter of a deci of each wine. The number of wines to be tasted varies, it can be just one, but I have experienced more than twelve samples of wines. :-)

It also takes a while to take a tour, walk through the beautifully landscaped garden or have a nice meal. So as long as the driver is at least a little bit watch yourself, he's pretty sober. :-)

From my own experience, I must say that I have passed dozens of days when we drove from chateau to chateau and never met a police check. By which I do not in any way want to encourage anyone to disrespect the 0,5‰ in the blood. And I hope I haven't jinxed myself now. :)


In summary, I recommend this procedure:

1, check where and when the flights to Bordeaux depart from.

2, choose a weekend event or arrange to visit individual wineries in advance

3, arrange your accommodation

4, book a rental car at the airport

5, you can start look forward :)



Appellations - Orientation in the terrain

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced wine lover, a map of Bordeaux's wine appellations is always useful. Below I offer the one from WSG. It is available in full resolution here. I comment briefly on the appellations below. I warn in advance that this is a completely subjective view. :)     No matter which wise book you look at on Bordeaux wine, it says right at the beginning that everything is divided into left bank and right bank. On the left, the wines are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and on the right by Merlot. In principle, this is true, but for me the appellations, or sub-regions, are more important, which have all sorts of names and are defined mainly by soil conditions. But to ke...

Before you drink

If you open a bottle of good Bordeaux, there's no point in drinking it right away (I'm not saying anything new to most of you, but not everyone is a connoisseur). We have to give the wine some time to breathe. Yannick Evenou, director of Château Réaut, gave us a simple and effective recipe. He does it like this: after opening the wine, he pours half the contents of the bottle into any glass container. After two hours, he pours the wine back into the bottle, or the rest of the wine from the bottle into the glass container. The two options are equivalent. That's it, the wine is ready to drink. But you don't always have company at home and want to drink the whole bottle in one evening. Then it's a good idea to o...

How to import wine

You know, you taste some wine and you wish you had some at home. Especially since the winemaker will sell it to you at a good price. But since you're there by plane, you're out of luck. You can only put a couple of bottles in your checked luggage. That's it.   Has worked well for me:   1, make a deal with a winemaker whose wine you like to buy some 10-20 cases of his wine. The more the better. It can be a lot for one person, but you're not usually touring wineries alone, so if each participant throws in something, it adds up. Plus, you won't be buying just one vintage, you'll probably like multiple vintages. Likewise, a winemaker may not have just one wine, they often have a second and third. Mos...

The size matters

In general, the bigger the bottle, the better the wine.We offer mostly standard bottles, i.e. 0.75 litres. But if you want to enjoy wine of even better quality, I recommend buying a "bigger pack". Below is a table with the specific names of the bottles according to their volume. In each category of this e-shop, there is a filter in the left column where you can choose the size of the bottle.    Let's take a look at this straight to the eshop      They say:If you want to have a nice evening, open a bottle of good wine. If it's going to be a night for two, Magnum is better. And it's best if the other person doesn't drink. And there's something to it ... :)    ...

The vintage matters

For those who have been interested in Bordeaux wines for some time, I will not say anything new here. I am writing this for those who are just starting to get their bearings. I, for one, would have found the information useful when I was first starting out. At the very least, I would have saved a lot of money. Vintage matters, and it matters a lot. The weather has a big effect on the quality of the grapes in any given year. Which in turn will inevitably be reflected in the quality of the must and eventually the wine itself. Of course, it may be that a particular location or winery manages to make better (or worse) wine in a given year than it does elsewhere. Generally speaking, however, the quality of each vin...

Time off? Bathing in the Atlantic

After a few days in the Bordeaux area, where you've been basketing wines from morning to night, a change is in order. That change is a trip, preferably combined with a swim in the ocean. And if you want to elevate it to a sporting and educational dimension, then Dune du Pilat is the ideal choice. Dune du Pilat is the largest sand dune in Europe, which "falls" straight into the Atlantic. If you go on a sunny day and climb to the top, you'll be treated to a beautiful view of the ocean and the surrounding forests (some of which were engulfed by a wave of fires in the summer of 2022). When you've had your fill of the splendour, just run down to the water and freshen up.     There are two ways to app...

Where to eat

Since Ladik is a fantastic cook who takes care of our dinners, we practically don't go to restaurants. Lunch is either a foodtruck or a cafeteria. Below are the places that have worked well for us:     SAINT-ÉMILION There are certainly several restaurants and pizzerias in Saint-Émilion itself, but when it's around noon and we're hungry, we head south ...     At Flea's  (La Puce, 323 Grand Bigaroux - Saint-Émilion) This is an iconic dining room for us. Whenever we are in the St. Émilion area, we look forward to going there for lunch. The menu is a given. There's only one for each day. What lies beneath each course, none of the diners know. Anyone who doesn't like it c...