Loire Valley Wine Tour: Sancerre, Vouvray and Chinon

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Tour of the Loire Valley with Sancerre, Vouvray, Chinon and more

— Loire is France’s longest river and one of the world’s most famous wine rivers. For this trip we board the bus in Paris and roll down to Sancerre and then on to the Touraine where we find Vouvray, Chinon, Bourgueil and other wine regions. On this tour you will explore a large portion of the Loire Valley. You will enjoy elegant wines that pair well with the region’s graceful Renaissance chateaux.

Program    |    Travel facts    |    Book    |    More on the tour

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Next wine tour to the Loire Valley:

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This is a sample program, an example. Every wine and food tour that we organise is different and specially adapted for the season and the circumstances. Details in the program, e.g. which producers we visit, will be different each time.

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The journey starts from Paris where we meet on Wednesday afternoon at the Gare de Lyon in central Paris. Our waiting bus will take us to Sancerre, our first stop on the trip. Here in Sancerre you get intimate with the crispy and high-class wines of Sancerre. This is where sauvignon blanc is at its best.

We stay one night in the small town of Sancerre. We then go on to the Touraine and the slightly larger town of Tours, where we’ll stay for three nights. Tours has a very nice old town centre with well-preserved houses from the 14th and 15th century. In the evenings you can enjoy a large selection of excellent restaurants.

The Touraine region is often called the “The Garden of France” thanks to its mild climate, the lush green valleys and the flower plantations. During our time here we will visit the nearby wine regions, such as Vouvray and Montlouis-sur-Loire with their fantastic chenin blanc wines and Chinon, with its stylish, red wines made from cabernet franc, which is now finally starting to get the recognition they so richly deserve.

Loire is France’s longest river; from its source in the Massif Central to the Atlantic coast it flows nearly one thousand kilometres. After the first 500 km, roughly at the bend where the river takes to the left, the wine villages start to appear and we are in the part that one usually think of when talking about the Loire Valley. It has a quiet charm and a mild climate. Here you will find sumptuous chateaux, built by nobles and kings, for themselves or for their mistresses.

During our days in the Loire Valley wine is of course in the centre of our attention. But we will not be able to avoid seeing some of the famous chateaux that tells so much about French history. In addition, the local gastronomy, one of the most respected classic gastronomy in France, also gets a lot of our attention. We will talk about food and wine parings and we will be treated to some surprising ones.

Sunday morning after breakfast we return to Paris where we arrive no later than 13.00 (1 PM).

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

Vineyards along the Loire River
Vineyards along the Loire River, copyright BKWine Photography

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More travel information

Here are some useful pages and guides about this travel destination:

Even more info

We have written a lot about the Loire and about wine touring in the region, what to do and what to expect.

Here you can find more about travelling in the Loire wine region.

You can also find more information on the wines from Loire on BKWine Magazine.

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Program — wine tour in the Loire Valley

This is a sample program, an example. Every wine and food tour that we organise is different and specially adapted for the season and the circumstances. Details in the program, e.g. which producers we visit, will be different each time.

Preliminary programme.

Contact BKWine for more details.

Program overview

  • Day 1, Wednesday — The journey begins in Paris
  • Day 2, Thursday — Sancerre
  • Day 3, Friday — Vouvray
  • Day 4, Saturday — Chinon and Bourgueil
  • Day 5, Sunday — Drop off in Paris

Wednesday, day 1 — The tour begins in Paris

At 15.00 (3 PM) our bus departs from the Gare de Lyon, one of the main train stations, in the 12th arrondissement of Paris.

We go south and after about two and a half hours we arrive in Sancerre, a charming little hilltop town, completely imbued in character by its location in this world famous wine region.

The hilltop location made it easier to defend. There were settlements here already during Roman times.

We check into our three-star Hotel Panoramic, which lives up to its name with stunning views of the vineyards.

There is time for a stroll in town, maybe a coffee or a glass of wine.

A little later in the evening we meet for a welcome dinner at the Restaurant La Tour, a short walk from the hotel. La Tour is a well-known gastronomic restaurant with a Michelin star.

The roof-tops and vineyards of Sancerre
The roof-tops and vineyards of Sancerre, Loire, copyright BKWine Photography

Thursday, day 2 — Sancerre

We load our luggage in the bus and begin our exploration of the vineyards of Sancerre.

The Sancerre appellation has 3,000 hectares of vineyards. Most are white, but there are also some red and rosé wine. Today’s visits will illustrate the many aspects of the sauvignon blanc grape. It can for example sometimes be surprisingly long-lived, which one tends to forget. We will also have the opportunity to taste the rare red wines made from pinot noir.

We will also go for a walk out in the vineyards and take a closer look at the vines. The harvest is perhaps underway or maybe just completed. That means a lot of activities in the vineyards and in the cellars.

We will visit, among others, a small grower in the heart of the Sancerre appellation. Eric, the current winemaker continues the traditions that go back generations. He has built a new cellar and invested in new technology but maintains many old traditions.

For lunch we will stay here at the winery and eat a simple but delicious “winemaker lunch” with of salads, cheeses and charcuteries.

After one more visit in the afternoon we board the bus and head off towards Tours. The trip goes through a beautiful open landscape. This is where you find some of the chateaux that the Loire Valley is so famous for, but also small villages that produce excellent goat cheeses, a great Loire speciality. The journey to Tours will take approximately two and a half hours.

At around 7 PM we check in at our hotel in the centre of Tours. It is very centrally located, a stone’s throw from the old town and the Cathedral.

The evening is free to explore Tours and go in search for a good restaurant. We have great tips!

Scallops in cream sauce, Loire
Scallops in cream sauce, Loire, copyright BKWine Photography

Friday, day 3 — Vouvray

Today we will visit the two famous white wine districts of Vouvray and Montlouis-sur-Loire. They are located just east of Tours, on each side of the river.

We take a small detour to our morning visit to take a look at the Chateau d’Amboise. It was in Amboise that Leonardo da Vinci lived his last years and also where he died.

Our morning visit will be at the organic Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau. Like most producers here in Vouvray they make both razor sharp dry wines, semi-sweet wines, very sweet and even sparkling wines. All are made from the same grape, Chenin Blanc, one of the wine world’s most original and exciting grape varieties.

The sweet Chenin wines are fantastic but it is the dry ones which is really fascinating. And the production of dry chenin is increasing every year.

We return down to the river again. We will have lunch at the elegant Restaurant Les Hautes Roches with great views of the river. The chef is from Bretagne, but is also fond of the local Loire-products. We eat a sumptuous four-course lunch.

We end the day with a visit to a winery in the same village. This will be at one of the more well-known producers, a property which was founded in the late 1800s. Their troglodyte cellars – a grotto – are well worth exploring. Some part of it dates back to the 11th century and is one of the biggest in Vouvray.

We will learn more about the production and we get an exciting tasting. The character of the wines varies depending on whether the vines grow on limestone soil or in a more sandy and gravelly soil.

Late afternoon we are back in Tours. The evening is free. Before dinner you may want to go and have a look at the magnificent cathedral of Saint Gatien, a short walk from the hotel. If instead you walk in the other direction you will come to the Vieux Tours, the old town with beautiful medieval houses and the charming square Place Plumerau with half-timbered houses and a host of outdoor cafes.

An old grotto wine cellar in Vouvray, Loire
An old grotto wine cellar in Vouvray, Loire, copyright BKWine Photography

Saturday, day 4 — Chinon, Bourgueil

Touraine’s great red grape is cabernet franc and today we will inspect it in detail. The soil varies from place to place but in this part of the Loire Valley you find a lot of the region’s special limestone called tuffeau.

Some of the best producers of Touraine have shown the world the excellent quality you can get from cabernet franc, this grape that is sometimes rather unfairly treated. Many believe that it is not able to achieve really fine wines. But yes, it can. And the grape’s popularity has grown tremendously in recent years, in many countries.

After breakfast we go to the small village of Saint-Germain-sur-Vienne.

On the way there, we take a small detour and pass the town of Chinon. We make a stop to admire the 14th century castle that looks down over the city. Chinon is located on the Vienne River, one of the many tributaries to the Loire. The castle is now a ruin but still impressive. Both Henry II of England and his son Richard the Lionheart lived here.

Our first visit of the day will be at a magnificent (wine) castle today run with great enterprising spirit by a new generation. The estate makes reds from cabernet franc and whites from chenin blanc and also sparkling and rosé. With his three different cabernet franc wines the winemaker wants to demonstrate how soil and vinification affects the grape characteristics. A cabernet franc can be easy-drinking fruity but also age-worthy and complex.

We stay at this chateau for lunch. It will be a multi-course menu with some local specialities. The chateau’s range of wines will of course be the perfect pairing.

In the afternoon we cross the Loire and come to the Bourgueil appellation. Here we will visit a family property of around 18 hectares that has a pretty old cellar. Their old vines, some over 100 years old, guarantees a fine quality.

Late afternoon we are back in Tours. The evening is free to further soak up the atmosphere of the old town and perhaps one or two glasses of wine. There is an impressive variety of different restaurants, ranging from simple brasserie to high-class starred classic French restaurants with chefs of best international class.

A chateau in the vineyards in the Loire Valley
A chateau in the vineyards in the Loire Valley, copyright BKWine Photography

Sunday, day 5 — Heading back home

After breakfast we return back to Paris. The journey takes around three hours and we arrive no later than 13.00 (1 PM).

The program may be subject to minor modifications.

One of the majestic Loire Valley chateaux
One of the majestic Loire Valley chateaux, copyright BKWine Photography

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Tour Details — Loire Valley wine tour

Dates: This is a sample program. Look in the menu “Our Tours > Scheduled Tours” to check what scheduled tours are currently on the program or contact us to discuss a custom made private wine tour.

Price per person: This is a sample program. Look in the menu “Our Tours > Scheduled Tours” to check what scheduled tours are currently on the program or contact us to discuss a custom made private wine tour.

Included in the price:

  • 4 hotel nights, double occupancy, including breakfast:
    • 1 nights in Sancerre
    • 3 nights in Tours
  • Meals as described in the program above (*):
    • 1 gastronomic and exclusive multi-course dinner, with several wines, at a Michelin star restaurant
    • 1 “winemaker lunch” with several different wines at a wine producer’s
    • 2 gastronomic multi-course lunches with local specialities, including tasting of several wines, one as guests at a winery and one in a restaurant
  • Start and end point: Paris
  • Bus transport during the whole trip, Paris-Sancerre-Tours-Paris
  • 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) to the destination and back from your home location.

You organise your travel to Paris 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: 8.

Book This Tour

Book before: [this is a sample programme]

Booking is confirmed by paying the booking fee of [sample programme, this varies by trip]. Full payment should be received at the latest [sample programme, usually one month or 60 days, depending on the trip] 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.”

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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.

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

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