Champagne wine tour: luxury and gastronomy on the highest level
— Nothing else in the world of wine brings out the festive feeling as champagne does. But on this wine tour we will discover that champagne is so much more than a drink just for celebrations. It is above all a very exclusive and delicious wine! There is nothing that can match discovering and experiencing this exclusive wine and the regions elegant gastronomy on location yourself!
The world has many sparkling wines but there is only one region, some 75 miles east of Paris, which can call its wines champagne.
During the four days in Champagne, you will get an intimate understanding of what this sparkling wine is and why champagne is so unique. What makes champagne different from other sparkling wines? What is the terroir and what is the soil? Why is the northern climate so important? How do you “disgorge” the bottles? You will get answers to all this and much more.
The harvest is in full swing or has been finished a little bit earlier in the season. The wine is fermenting in the cellars. People are busy preparing for the finishing touches.
This wine tour will have a mix of visits to the big and famous champagne “houses”, that blend wines from different growers, and visits at small independent growers that only make wine from their own vineyards.
Most well-known champagne brands come from a handful of very large wineries (houses). We will primarily focus on smaller, more exclusive and quality oriented producers on this trip. Some may be familiar to you as boutique wineries and some that you have perhaps never heard of although they make outstanding wines. Another “secret” of champagne to bring home with you and share with your friends!
Most of our lunches, if not all, will be together with the growers. This will give you excellent opportunities to explore how best to match champagne with food and how an all-champagne meal works (you will have several).
The most famous champagnes come from the three districts surrounding Epernay and Reims: Vallée de la Marne, Montagne de Reims and Côte des Blancs. You will get to know them all.
Throughout the tour we will be staying in Reims, located 95 miles (150 km) straight east of Paris. In the city, you can find some of the famous houses, such as Pommery with its Tudor-style mansion-winery, Taittinger, Veuve-Clicquot, Ruinart, Krug, Roederer and Mumm, just to mention a few.
The Reims cathedral is one of the most beautiful and impressive in France and is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It has survived much trouble since it was built in the 13th century, not least the bombings of the First World War. The stained glass windows are magnificent and you should not miss the modern ones by Chagall.
You arrange for your own travel to Reims (it is only a 45 minute trip with the high-speed train from Paris) and arrive at the latest in the evening of the initial day.
The tour is led by one of BKWine’s wine and travel expert guides.
More travel information
Here are some useful pages and guides about this travel destination:
Even more info
We have written a lot about Champagne and about wine touring in the region, what to do and what to expect.
Here you can find more about travelling in the Champagne wine region.
You can also find more information on the wines from Champagne on BKWine Magazine.
The Champagne book
We at BKWine Tours have written a book about champagne, called “Champagne, the Wine and the Growers“, winner of “best book on French wine” in the Gourmand Awards.
Champagne, the Wine and the Growers is our ninth book. It gives the reader everything he needs, or may want to know about champagne. It is rare in that it describes in a modern and complete way what really makes champagne into the exclusive wine it is. Yet it is an easy read. It also tells about the history, geography, economy and the local gastronomy. A large part of the book is dedicated to the growers, all the independent wine farmers and wine producers (as opposed to the big, marketing-driven “houses”), often families, who make the most individual and expressive champagnes. The book gives the reader the authors’ selection of the best growers in this exciting wine region.
Unfortunately, the book is currently only available in Swedish. But it gives you the assurance that you will have a hard time finding a tour organiser who knows champagne better.
Program — Champagne wine tour
For more details, contact BKWine.
- Day 1, Wednesday — Arrival in Champagne
- Day 2, Thursday — Southern Montagne de Reims
- Day 3, Friday — Côte des Blancs
- Day 4, Saturday — The Big Houses, and organic champagne
- Day 5, Sunday — Heading back home
Wednesday, September 26 — Arrival in Champagne
You arrive in Reims and check in at our centrally located hotel. It is easy to get from Paris (Gare de l’Est) to Reims. The trip takes about forty-five minutes and there is a train almost every hour. You can also take a train to Reims from the airport Charles de Gaulle.
Reims is a town with around 200 000 inhabitants. It is a lively and pleasant and you will find a lot of good restaurants and, of course, wine and champagne bars.
The Cathedrale Notre Dame de Reims is one of the most beautiful in France. Although it was much damaged in the First World War much of it was miraculously saved.
Many champagne houses are based in Reims, for instance, Pommery, Krug and Veuve Clicquot. Under the city, there are kilometres and kilometres of underground cellars, dug out of the chalk rock. The oldest are said to date back to Roman times.
The Houses, hillsides and cellars in Champagne is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Champagne is a drink filled with prestige and you can tell from the “wineries” that image is important in this wine region. They often look more like palaces than like wine making places.
Thursday, September 27 — Southern Montagne de Reims
After breakfast, our driver picks us up at the hotel. We drive south through the magnificent Montagne de Reims with its sloping hills, known for the excellent pinot noir grapes that grow here.
In the morning we visit a small grower who explains in detail the peculiar vinification and production process of champagne: why the harvest always is manual, the special way to press the grapes, the magic of the “second fermentation etc..
We continue south and stop at another small and very exclusive “house” where we will have a delicious gourmet lunch with a selection of the best champagnes that the producer has to offer.
We will finish lunch with a short walk to one of the most mythical vineyards in the region, with perfect terroir and micro-climate, to regain our energy! A 5 hectare big vineyards, closed by a stone wall, in one of the best locations in all of Champagne. A steep slope, looking south, over the river Marne. It is the pride of this producer!
In the afternoon we will visit a family-run champagne producer that produces excellent champagnes with a substantial portion of pinot noir in the blend. This gives wines with fuller body and more power than normally expected in a champagne.
He will also explain the importance of blending when making champagne. The blending is a unique aspect of making champagne that exists in almost no other wine district.
Late afternoon we return to Reims.
The evening is free. Perhaps a light dinner after our magnificent lunch… Unless you want to try one of the excellent restaurants in the city.
Friday, September 28 — Côte des Blancs
After breakfast we board the bus and go south, to Côte des Blancs, the district just south of Epernay.
Côte des Blancs is known for its vineyards with chardonnay. Here you will find famous and picturesque Grand Cru villages like Mesnil-sur-Oger, Cramant and Avize. Many of the growers make blanc de blancs, a wine made exclusively from chardonnay.
We will visit a small and exclusive grower in Mesnil-sur-Oger. It is a family winery, but bigger than most. They have 18 hectares of vineyards mainly in Mesnil and in the neighbouring villages. The only use their own grapes in the winemaking producing wines with much finesse and concentration.
We will have lunch in the Grand Cru village of Avize at the luxurious restaurant Les Avisées located next to, and owned by, much talked about Champagne Jacques Selosses. The chef is excellent and the 3-course lunch is always delicious. We will taste Selosses’ and some biodynamic grower’s Champagnes with the lunch.
After lunch, we will head north again, towards Reims.
We will make a stop in the village of Vrigny just south of Reims to visit one of the top growers. It is a friendly family winery with 10 hectares of land split up into 70 different plots! They age their “base wine” in oak barrels before bottling and let the wines age for a long time before releasing them.
Early evening we are back in Reims. The evening is free. You can relax and perhaps go for a stroll in the town in search for a glass of champagne. Should not be too hard to find!
Saturday, September 29 — The Big Houses, and organic champagne
We will start the day in the city of Reims itself, where some of the “Big Houses” have their offices and cellars. So the morning bus ride is short.
Our first visit today is at one of the big and famous houses. There is a handful of them who have made Champagne famous around the world, thanks to a long history, delicious champagnes and big marketing budgets.
First, we go underground. The impressive underground cellars, the oldest dating from Roman times, where millions of bottles are ageing, is something you must see while in Champagne. After our chalk tunnel walk, it is time to taste the champagnes of this famous house.
We will continue up to the famous Grand Cru villages Verzy and Verzenay in the Montagne de Reims. Our first stop will be to admire the beautiful view over the vast vineyards from the “mountain”.
Our lunch will feature some of the classic cuisine champenoise, very elegant with top-quality raw material. It will be accompanied again by a selection of champagnes, today of the more full-bodied Montagne de Reims-style.
After lunch, we will visit a small champagne grower in Verzy, an organic wine producer. He will explain how it is possible to make great wines in the cool climate that they have in Champagne without having to spray the vines with traditional pesticides. He will of course also give us a good taste of the excellent end result, his champagnes
At the end of the day we return to Reims. Free evening.
Sunday, September 30 — Heading back home
The tour ends after breakfast. Departure.
The program may be subject to minor modifications.
Tour Details — wine tour in Champagne
Dates: September 26-30, 2018
Price per person: 2400 euro
Single room supplement: 230 euro
Included in the price:
- 4 hotel nights, double occupancy, including breakfast, good quality mid-range European style hotel in Reims
- Meals as described in the program above (*):
- 3 gastronomic lunches including champagne, of which at least two private meals at wineries
- Start and end point: Reims
- Bus transport during the whole trip
- All vineyard and winery visits
- Private, high-quality tastings at wineries, approx. 3 per day
- Interpretation from French as needed (some visits may be in English)
- Wine guiding and wine tutoring by an expert BKWine guide
- Travel (flights) to the destination and back from your home location.
You organise your travel to the destination yourself. If you want assistance with organising your flight tickets etc, please contact us.
We warmly recommend that you plan a few extra days here if you have the time! It is a very interesting place and well worth some “non-wine” tourism too! We can assist you with booking additional hotel nights if you want.
For this trip to take place we must have a minimum of 4 participants registered at the “book before” date. Maximum number of travel guests: 10.
Book This Tour
Book before: July 1, 2018.
Booking is confirmed by paying the booking fee of 300 EUR. Full payment should be received at the latest one month before the departure date (see our terms and conditions). Details on how to pay will be sent to you when you register.
You book by contacting Britt Karlsson, BKWine:
- phone: +33 1 58 88 04 66 or +33 6 80 45 35 70 (+33 is the country code for France)
- Skype: “bkwine”. Call us on skype.
- email: email@example.com
More on our wine tours
About the wine producers and wineries we visit
Our aim is that you shall experience some of the best and most interesting that the wine region has to offer, both of wine and food.
We put a big effort into finding and creating outstanding winery visits. Often it will not be the most “famous” and internationally well-known wineries that will give you the best and most unique experiences…
It is usually when you get to meet the winemaker or winery owner himself (or often herself) that the visits become really exciting. And perhaps we even meet the whole family at the estate.
You start discussing and start to understand what it is they do and why in the winery and in the vineyard. Maybe we will also have lunch in the winery or at their home. Need we say we invariably have private wine tastings at the wineries?
That is why our trips are not “jam packed” with visits at wineries. Nevertheless we often run short of time since the discussions – and the wine tastings – can easily become very engaging…
Our wine country tours typically include a mix of small family producers, exclusive boutique wineries and larger internationally well-known wine estates, all selected with great care so that it will give you a unique experience of the people and of the behind-the-scenes in the winery and a good understanding of the wine district’s characteristics, tradition and culture.
At the time of publishing a travel program not all visits have been finalised. We are continuously working on improving the program. The domaines / wineries / châteaux that we visit on a tour may therefore sometimes differ from what was written in the original program. Contact us if you want more details, or if you have any special requests.
On meals: food and gastronomy
Wine and food are intimately linked. That is part of our wine travel philosophy; wine is an integral part of the gastronomy.
A wine tour with BKWine will therefore also be a gastronomic experience.
The meals that are included in a tour with BKWine are on a gourmet level and of very high standard.
Sometimes we will have a meal with a winemaker, perhaps in the wine cellar or at the winery, or even in their home. This is a unique experience that is generally not open to other visitors to wineries. It is an occasion to experience exciting combinations of food and wine while discussing with the people who made the wine.
Sometimes we will have a luxurious meal at a gourmet restaurant. At other times it may be not at a prestigious luxury address but at a local restaurant selected for its presentation of local gastronomic specialities, its atmosphere and its quality – a place where locals go. Or perhaps it will be a buffet lunch made at home by the winemaker and his wife. In all cases we want to show you local gastronomic specialities and the local food and wine pairings.
Do not expect a picnic with salad and sausage from the supermarket and wine in plastic mugs… Think instead of a wine-and-dine experience with specially composed menu with three or four courses and delicious wines.
A wine tour with BKWine is also a culinary experience both for the wine enthusiast and for the gourmet. A gourmet wine tour!
Why travel with BKWine?
We are experts and specialists in wine and food tours and wine tourism, but also in wine in a broader perspective.
No other tour operator has a comparable knowledge and experience of wine, wine regions, wine tours and gourmet travel as BKWine.
We have organised hundreds of wine and food tours. This is what we love to do, because it is fun and exciting. What we want more than anything is to share with you all these wonderful experiences.
It does not matter if you are “a total novice” on wine and food or if you have a life-long experience in the wine sector. We will give you a very special experience, in a way that no other tour operator can do.
We write in specialised wine magazines and one of our books has won the prize as best wine book in the world. We are regularly called on to be part of judging panels in wine competitions.
We personally visit some 300 vineyards every year. We have organised several hundreds of wine and food tours with an experience going back more than twenty years. We are invited as speakers at wine tourism and culinary touring conferences.
We choose our tour destinations and winery visits with great care. Not because a winery happens to be carrying a “famous name” but because they will give our guests — you! — a unique and special experience. You may be looking for a short wine week-end holiday or a longer wine vacation; in all cases you can be confident that you will get a top quality tour, an experience of a lifetime. Or at least one that will last you until the next time you come on a wine tour with BKWine. Many of our travellers are returning clients.
A wine and food tour with BKWine is always guided by a knowledgeable and experienced BKWine guide and tour manager, someone who knows the ins and outs of wine, of the local gastronomy, of the culture and who speaks the language.
Some accolades we at BKWine and our wine and food tours have received:
- “World’s Top Wine Tours” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, the world’s biggest travel magazine
- “Best wine tasting holidays”, AOL Travel’s list of top wine tours
- “Recommended Wine Tours” by Munskankarna, the world’s biggest wine tasting and wine appreciation association
- “World’s Best Wine Book for Professionals” as well as “Best Wine Book of the Year” in Sweden 2010 for the book The Creation of a Wine
- “Best wine book for Professionals” again in 2012 in Sweden, as well as silver, runner-up, as “World’s Best Educational Wine Book” for the book Wine and the Environment
- “Wine Personality of the Year” by Munskankarna, the world’s biggest wine tasting and wine appreciation association
- On the Wine Media Power List by Wine Business International Magazine (Britt, 2012)
Read more on why to choose BKWine for a wine and food tour.
Read more on what previous travellers have said about our tours.
Our groups are always small. The group size may vary, sometimes maximum 8, sometimes 20, but always of a modest size (we do not do “minimum 20, maximum 45”). Check the details in each program. This is important since it guarantees a quality experience and a personal welcome at the wineries we visit.
BKWine is a Swedish registered travel organiser. BKWine has a bonded travel guarantee deposit so that you can feel safe when booking with us. We fully comply with European and Swedish travel guarantee regulations. British travellers may be familiar with the ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) protection scheme which is a similar model. BKWine follows the code of conduct and financial safeguards defined by the Swedish Consumer Agency and The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (“Kammarkollegiet”, with a history dating back to 1539). Read more about this in our Booking Terms and Conditions.
Read the BKWine Booking Terms and Conditions here. They are important to you!
You organise your travel independently to the destination for most of our tours but on location we take care of everything.
For more inspiration
Read our wine travel blog. And also:
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- There are thousands of pictures from previous trips on BKWine Photography
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Subscribe to our free wine and travel newsletter, the BKWine Brief. Each month it gives you news from the world of wine, restaurant recommendations, tips on our favourite wine producers and much more. And keeps you updated on upcoming wine and food tours.
We also do custom wine and food tours if you want to choose different dates or if you want something different than what we currently offer on our scheduled tours – for individuals, companies, professionals, wine tastings clubs etc.