Champagne, September 16 – 20, 2020

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Champagne wine tour: luxury and gastronomy at the very highest level

In the world of wine, champagne is synonymous with celebration. However, on this tour we will show you that champagne is so much more than just a wine for special occasions. Come with us and discover this unique region, its wonderfully elegant wines and culinary traditions.   

Tour Highlights

  • 4 nights
  • Private prestigious champagne tastings
  • Magnificent lunches
  • Independent growers & famous houses
  • €2,700
  • Beautiful landscapes
  • Classics and innovation
  • Organics vineyards
  • Reims
  • Vallée de la Marne, Montagne de Reims, Côte des Blancs

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The world boasts many sparkling wines but there is only one region roughly 75 miles east of Paris which can call its wines “champagne.”

After our days together in the Champagne region you will understand what makes this sparkling wine so unique, and indeed different to any other. Let us explain the terroir, the secrets of the area’s soil and climate, viticultural and oenological challenges (how do those bubbles get into the bottle?), and how to disgorge a champagne bottle, an impressive skill if ever there was one, although mostly done by machine today.

Our tour has a mix of visits, from the larger, more famous champagne houses that buy grapes and wines from different suppliers, to smaller, independent growers who only make wine from their own grapes.

Most of the better-known champagne brands come from a handful of very large wineries or houses, but on this trip we will focus primarily on smaller, more exclusive, quality-oriented producers, so called “growers champagnes”. Some may be familiar to you already as boutique wineries, others perhaps you have will not have heard of, although they make outstanding wines. All are worthy of our attention and make bottles you’d be proud to bring home and share with friends and family.

A village, vineyards and the Marne river in Champagne
A village, vineyards and the Marne river in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography
A village, vineyards and the Marne river in Champagne
A village, vineyards and the Marne river in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography

Our lavish lunches will give you plenty of opportunity to decide how best to pair champagne with delicious dishes, and to discover how a “champagne all the way” dining experience works. There will be several of these.

The most famous champagnes come from the three districts surrounding Epernay and Reims, namely Vallée de la Marne, Montagne de Reims and Côte des Blancs: you will get to know them all as part of our tour.

Pinot noir harvested in a vineyard in Champagne
Pinot Noir harvested in a vineyard in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography
Pinot noir harvested in a vineyard in Champagne
Pinot Noir harvested in a vineyard in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography

We will be based in Reims, roughly 95 miles (150 km) directly east of Paris. The city is home to several famous houses including Pommery with its Tudor-style mansion-winery, Taittinger, Veuve-Clicquot, Ruinart, Krug, Roederer and Mumm.

Reims’ cathedral is one of the most beautiful and impressive in France, and it features on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Built in the 13th century, it has survived through many troubled times, not least the bombings of the First World War. Its stained glass windows are magnificent; compare and contrast the original panels with those created by artist Marc Chagall in the mid-1970s. 

Clients must arrange their own travel to Reims (it is only a 45-minute trip by TGV high-speed train from Paris with some direct trains from the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport) and arrive at the latest in the evening of the start day.

The tour is led by one of BKWine’s expert wine and travel guides.

Also worth noting is that we at BKWine have written an internationally award-winning book about Champagne, one of the few books with complete and up to date information about Champagne. So you will have a hard time finding a more insightful guide to this exciting wine region. More on this below.

The magnificent cathedral in Reims in Champagne
The magnificent cathedral in Reims in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography
The magnificent cathedral in Reims in Champagne
The magnificent cathedral in Reims in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography

Programme — Champagne wine tour

Preliminary programme.

Contact BKWine for more details.

There may be changes to some details of the programme, e.g. which wineries we visit. We put great effort into making your visits both exceptional and memorable. For this reason we often visit other than the most obvious, big-name producers (where there are often a number of guides employed). Instead we chose to give you a more unique, personal experience at our carefully selected estates, often (but not always) meeting the owner or the winemaker.

Programme overview

  • Day 1, Wednesday — Arrival in Champagne
  • Day 2, Thursday — Southern Montagne de Reims
  • Day 3, Friday — Côte des Blancs
  • Day 4, Saturday — The major champagne houses, and organic champagne
  • Day 5, Sunday — Heading back home

Wednesday, September 16 — 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 45 minutes and there is a train almost every hour. You can also take a train to Reims from Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport.

Reims is a lively, pleasant town with around 200,000 inhabitants, some good restaurants and of course, plenty of wine and champagne bars. The Cathédrale Notre Dame de Reims is one of the most beautiful in France. Although it was damaged in the First World War much of it was miraculously saved.

Many champagne houses are based in Reims including Pommery, Krug and Veuve Clicquot. There are many miles of underground cellars running beneath the city, dug out of the chalk rock, with the most ancient said to date back to Roman times. The houses, hillsides and cellars of the Champagne region are included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Champagne has long been considered a luxury wine associated with glamour and prestige, and you can see from the palatial-looking wineries that image is all-important here.

Chardonnay in a traditional press in Champagne
Chardonnay in a traditional press in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography
Taking a barrel sample of champagne vin clair to taste
Taking a barrel sample of champagne vin clair to taste

Thursday, September 17 — Southern Montagne de Reims

After breakfast our driver will collect us from the hotel. We drive south through the magnificent Montagne de Reims area with its sloping hills, famous for the excellent Pinot Noir grapes that grow here.

In the morning we will visit a small grower for a detailed explanation of the unique vinification and production of champagne, why the harvest is always done by hand, the special way the grapes are pressed, the second fermentation process, and so on. We will taste through his range of champagnes, including vintage, rosé and brut zéro.

We continue south and stop near Épernay to have lunch at one of the best gastronomic restaurants in the Champagne region, where a highly creative chef will prepare dishes that are not just delightful but also artfully presented.

In the afternoon we will stop at a small, exclusive champagne house to visit their modern wine making facilities and historic cellar.

Blending is a unique aspect of making champagne that exists in almost no other wine region, and we will discuss the importance of this process before a tasting of their top flight, elegant wines. Our visit will end with a short walk in the vineyards to understand more about the terroir and micro-climate at this five-hectare vineyard, and to admire the attractive location and views of the river Marne.

We return to Reims in the late afternoon, and your evening is free to spend as you choose. The city offers many dining options.

A village and vineyards in Champagne
A village and vineyards in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography
A village and vineyards in Champagne
A village and vineyards in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography

Friday, September 18 — Côte des Blancs

After breakfast we board the bus and head south to the Côte des Blancs district just south of Epernay.

The Côte des Blancs is known for its vineyards planted with Chardonnay. Here you will find famous, picturesque grand cru villages like Mesnil-sur-Oger, Cramant and Avize. Many of the growers make blanc de blanc, a wine made exclusively from Chardonnay.

We will visit a small grower in Mesnil-sur-Oger. It is a family winery with 18 hectares of vineyards, mainly in Mesnil and in the neighbouring villages. They only use their own grapes, and make wines with great finesse and concentration.

Lunch will be in Avize at the attractive restaurant “Les Avisés”. This restaurant and boutique luxury hotel is owned by producer Champagne Jacques Selosse (the winery is next door). We will enjoy a three-course menu matched with different styles of champagne, including from Selosse.

The day ends with a visit to the Vallée de la Marne and the opportunity to take a deep dive into champagne by tasting vin clair, ie. the still wine from which champagne is made, before it has undergone the second fermentation which gives it its bubbles. There will be more champagne to taste as well…

We return to Reims in the early evening. You are free to relax, take a stroll in the town and muse on what you have seen and tasted during the day.

Tasting and lunch in Champagne
Tasting and lunch in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography
Tasting and lunch in Champagne
Tasting and lunch in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography

Saturday, September 19 — The major houses, and organic champagne

Today we will visit one of the major champagne houses in Reims or Epernay, where many big names have their offices and cellars. These are the brands whose savoir-faire (and considerable marketing budgets) have made champagne famous around the world.

Our day starts with one of the “must-see” sights, namely the impressive underground cellars (the oldest dating back to Roman times) where millions of bottles of champagne are aged.  After walking through some of the tunnels, it will be time to taste the champagnes of this famous house.

Next stop will be the famous grand cru villages of Verzy and Verzenay in the Montagne de Reims area where we will admire the breathtaking vineyard views. 

Our lunch will feature some of the classic cuisine champenoise, elegantly presented and made from the very finest local produce and accompanied by a selection of champagnes, this time in the fuller-bodied Montagne de Reims style.

After lunch we will visit a small organic grower in Verzy, who will explain how it is possible to make great wines in this cool climate region without having to spray the vines with traditional systemic pesticides. Naturally, he will also present his wines for us to taste and enjoy.

We return to Reims at the end of the day, and the evening is free for you to spend as your choose.

Bottles in pupitres in a carved-out cellar in Champagne
Bottles in pupitres in a carved-out cellar in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography
Bottles in pupitres in a carved-out cellar in Champagne
Bottles in pupitres in a carved-out cellar in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography

Sunday, September 20 — Heading back home

The tour ends after breakfast. Departure.

There may be changes to some details of the programme, e.g. which wineries we visit. We put great effort into making your visits both exceptional and memorable. For this reason we often visit other than the most obvious, big-name producers (where there are often a number of guides employed). Instead we chose to give you a more unique, personal experience at our carefully selected estates, often (but not always) meeting the owner or the winemaker.

Go For It!

We’d love to have you with us.

Many thousands of bottles resting in a cellar in Champagne
Many thousands of bottles resting in a cellar in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography
Many thousands of bottles resting in a cellar in Champagne
Many thousands of bottles resting in a cellar in Champagne, copyright BKWine Photography

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.

The Champagne Wine Book

One of the many internationally award winning wine books we, the BKWine Tours founders, have written is on Champagne, but unfortunately it is not currently available in English. It is 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 (we’ve done more than ten now). It gives you everything you could need to know about champagne. Having written this book and many others, we feel confident that you will enjoy an extremely competent, top quality tour experience with us. 

As far as we know, no other wine tour operator has a track record of authoring ten or more wine books, so you can feel confident that you will get the most competent and high-quality wine tour with BKWine.

Champagne Book, Britt Karlsson, Per Karlsson
The Champagne Book, by Britt Karlsson & Per Karlsson

More wine books

We have written more than ten wine books. They have won both national and international wine writing awards.

No other wine tour organiser has a comparable knowledge, competence and experience.

A collection of wine books written by BKWine

Tour Details — Champagne Wine Tour

Dates: September 16 – 20, 2020

Price per person: €2,700

Single room supplement: €290 euro

Included in the price:

  • 4 hotel nights, good quality, mid-range European-style hotel in Reims, double occupancy, including breakfast
  • Meals as described in the programme above (*):
    • 3 gastronomic “champagne all the way” lunches
  • Start and end point: Reims
  • Bus transport throughout 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

(*) See below for more important information on our meals.

Not included:

  • Travel (flights etc) to the destination and back to your home location.

You are responsible for organising your travel to and from Reims yourself.

If you would like assistance 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 regular, non-wine related tourism too. We can assist you with booking additional hotel nights as needed.

For this tour to take place we must have a minimum of 4 participants registered by the “book before” date. Maximum number of tour participants: 10.

Book This Tour

Book before: June 1, 2020

Booking is confirmed by paying the booking fee of 300 euro. 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.

It is important that your read our travel booking terms and conditions.

We also invite you to read more on why you should travel with BKWine, about customer protection, and about what you can expect from our wine tours in the section below “More on our wine tours”.

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: info@bkwine.com, or use the contact form below

“I want to book this tour” or “I want more info.”

(*) = required

Important: We automatically send you a copy of this email when you submit it. If you have not received it within a few minutes: 1) check your spam folder, 2) consider resending it, you might have misspelled your email address. Or simply send us a normal email using our address noted just above.

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More on our wine tours

Why travel with BKWine?

We are Britt and Per Karlsson. We are specialists in wine and food tours and wine tourism, but also experts in wine in general. We are internationally published wine writers and have written ten award-winning wine books.

No other tour operator has a comparable knowledge and experience of wine, wine regions, wine tourism and gourmet travel.

We have organised hundreds of wine and food tours, and this is what we love to do. We take it very seriously – it is not a sideline or a hobby – and what we want more than anything is to share all these wonderful experiences with you.

All our tours are led and managed by guides who have in-depth wine knowledge, and in many cases we lead the tours ourselves.

Read more on why you should choose BKWine for your wine and food tour.

Thousands of happy customers

Over the years, thousands of wine lovers have travelled with us. Many come back to tour again and again with BKWine to new wine regions. Our record-breaking client has been on more than ten BKWine tours. We are happy and proud to have such faithful customers.

Read more on what travellers have said about our tours.

Awards and Mentions

We’re pleased and proud to have received many accolades, including:

  • “World’s Top Wine Tours”, Travel+Leisure Magazine, the world’s biggest travel magazine
  • “Best wine tasting holidays”, AOL Travel’s list of top wine tours
  • “Recommended Wine Tours”, Munskänkarna, the world’s biggest wine appreciation association
  • “World’s Best Wine Book for Professionals” as well as “Best Wine Book of the Year”, Gourmand International awards, and many other book prizes
  • Three OIV book awards, International Organisation of Vine and Wine
  • “Wine Personality of the Year”, an honour bestowed on Britt Karlsson by Munskänkarna in 2011, the world’s biggest wine appreciation association
  • Inclusion on the Wine Media Power List, by Wine Business International magazine

About the wine producers and wineries we visit

Our aim is for you to experience some of the very best and most interesting aspects of the wine world, in terms of wine and food.

We put great effort into creating outstanding winery visits, and in this way we are quite different to many wine tour organisers. It is not always the most renowned, internationally known estates that offer the best experiences. Organising a wine tour featuring famous names of the wine world is relatively easy: it is merely a question of making lists and ticking boxes. On those kind of “bucket list” wine tours, you rarely meet the winemaker or the owner. You will simply be one of thousands of visitors they receive each year.

We do things differently. With BKWine Tours, you will meet the people behind the label, often the winemakers and/or the owners. Thanks to them, you will have a unique, truly personal experience and an insight into the wine world that no one else can offer. When you travel with BKWine, you are more like a special guest than a tourist.

We have personal connections and unparalleled knowledge thanks to more than 20 years as wine journalists, with 10 wine books published, and as wine tour organisers with more than 30 years’ experience. You can be sure of getting the best wine travel experiences with BKWine Tours.

Read more on the wine producers and wineries we visit.

A true gourmet experience: food and gastronomy

For us, wine and food are intimately linked, and this is a fundamental part of our wine travel philosophy. For this reason, a wine tour with BKWine is always an outstanding culinary experience both for the wine enthusiast and for the gourmet. A BKWine tour is a gastronomic voyage that explores the deep relationship between food and wine.

Read more On Meals: Food and Gastronomy on Our Tours.

Customer Protection,  Financial Travel Guarantee, and Terms and Conditions

You can always feel safe when you book your tour with BKWine. BKWine has a bonded bank guarantee that gives full protection according to EU and Swedish law. BKWine is a Swedish limited company and as such is regulated by strict rules.

Read more on Customer Protection, Financial Travel Guarantee. and our Terms and Conditions.

When you book a tour it is important that you read the terms and conditions. BKWine’s booking terms and conditions follow the guidelines developed by the Consumer Protection Agency.

Health, vaccination and allergies

Our tours have no particular health requirements although inevitably we will be walking a certain amount in wine cellars and vineyards. Sensible footwear is a must.

Most of our travel destinations have no particular health guidelines or requirements for vaccinations or medical certificates, but if in doubt, you should always consult a medical professional, vaccination centre or relevant embassy in your country of origin.

We can always accommodate food allergies. However, in order for us to manage such requests you must let us know about any allergies before the tour starts.

Read more in our FAQ and in our Terms and Conditions.

Travel insurance

BKWine does not sell travel insurance. If you want travel insurance, check if your regular home insurance policy includes some kind of travel insurance, or contact your regular insurance company or a travel insurance specialist.

Custom Tours

We also offer custom wine and food tours if you want to travel on different dates, or if you want something different to what we currently offer on our scheduled tours. This tailor-made service can be offered for individuals, companies, professionals, wine tastings clubs etc.

Important information

Our groups are always small. The number of people in the group may vary. The maximum can range from 8 to around 20; check the details in each programme. But our groups are always modest in size. This is important because it guarantees a quality experience and a personal welcome at the wineries we visit.

Read the BKWine Booking Terms and Conditions here. They are important to you!

You are expected to organise your travel independently to the destination for most of our tours, but once you are at the location, we take care of everything.

For more inspiration

Read our wine travel blog. For more, read our online wine magazine the BKWine Magazine with articles from all over the wine world.

And also:

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Newsletter on wine

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. It will also keep you updated on forthcoming wine and food tours.

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