Southern Rhone Valley and Châteauneuf-du-Pape Wine Tour

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The wine tour to the great classic Châteauneuf-du-Pape and with the new stars of Côtes-du-Rhône in Provence

— The Rhône River flows past many wine regions before it reaches the Mediterranean. In the southernmost part of the Rhône region we are in Provence, with wines that are just as warm and welcoming as the region and that are full of fruit and spices. In October the sun is still warm here and the grapes have just been harvested.
The southern Rhône Valley is today one of France’s most dynamic wine regions with a wealth of interesting wine makers and wineries of top quality. Even Châteauneuf-du-Pape one of the most historical regions in France have become a mover and shaker thanks to a new generation of winegrower. Pair this with the delicious food from southern France and Provence and it becomes the perfect combination. and the perfect wine tour.

Program    |    Travel facts    |    Book    |    More on the tour


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Next tour to the Rhone Valley:

  • Contact us!

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 southern Rhone Valley is a wine district where “things happen” today. New producers are discovered and brought to fame by the specialised press. In France southern Rhone is traditionally considered as the source for bistro jug wines. You can still find those and they can be excellent value. But today this is a region where more and more producers make wine with very high ambitions. Wines that are top quality and full of personality.

The southern Rhone is a big region. The production is 25 times bigger than in the northern part of the Rhone Valley. You find vineyards along the river but also up in the mountains, on steep slopes, and on the plains in the Rhone delta.

We stay four nights in Avignon, a lively city full of historic sites to explore and with a rich cultural life. Here you find France’s most famous bridge; perhaps you are familiar with the song Sur le Pont d’Avignon on y danse, on y danse… There is also the very impressive Papal Palace where the popes resided during a big part of the 14th century.

There are many excellent restaurants to explore in the evenings when you want to relax after a day visiting vineyards.

We will of course visit Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of the most prestigious wine regions in France. For some time it was resting on its laurels but in recent decades there is a new energy and dynamism thanks to a new generation of very ambitious winemakers.

Vineyards around the Chateauneuf-du-Pape village
Vineyards around the Chateauneuf-du-Pape village, copyright BKWine Photography

The summer palace of the Popes in Avignon was 20 kilometres north of the city, in a small village that later got the name Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Today this is a small town with some 2000 inhabitants, totally surrounded by the 3000 hectares of vineyards that make up the appellation.

From what is left of the summer palace, a ruin on a hilltop, you have a beautiful view over the vineyards and the Rhone River. On clear days you can see all the way to Avignon, 20 kilometres away, with the Pope’s permanent residence, and to the Alpilles (the limestone rock formations close to the Mediterranean), the Luberon and the impressive Mont de Ventoux.

We will also visit the area near the beautiful mountain range called Les Dentelles de Montmirail, with its lacework looking summits (dentelles is lace in French). This is where you find the wine villages of Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Séguret, Beaumes-de-Venise, Cairanne and Rasteau. The ambitious producers of this region are a good illustration of what relatively the “humble” appellations of Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages can produce when in the right hands!

There is also a lot of interest here for organic wines and winemaking that is caring about the environment. That is a very interesting trend and we will visit some wineries where the winemakers will explain the details of organic wines and what it means in the vineyards and in the wine cellar. We can promise you some interesting discussions!

The food and gastronomy will have a prominent place on this tour. Provençal recipes and the gourmet food of the south of France bring to mind juicy tomatoes, fresh vegetables, succulent barbecues, delicious fruits of all kinds.

We will enjoy three lunches during the trip that will be gastronomic experiences. Sometimes as guests at a winery or the home of a winemaker, sometimes in a restaurant with local specialities. You will have plenty of opportunities to savour the cuisine and to see for yourself how the Rhône wines are best paired with the gourmet cuisine of the south of France.

Avignon is easily reached with the TGV high speed train from Paris of from the Marseilles airport.

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

Time for lunch among the vineyards in the Rhone Valley
Time for lunch among the vineyards in the Rhone Valley, copyright BKWine Photography

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The book about French wines

We have written a prize-winning book on French wines. It gives a thorough introduction to this wine region and its wines as well as a good insight into all wine regions in France, the wine producers and the vineyards. The book is called “France, the country of wine”. Unfortunately it is not available in English currently, only in Swedish with the title “Vinlandet Frankrike”. It covers in detail the French appellations, grape varieties, the rules and regulations, the geography, the gastronomy, history and much else too. It has been given several honours, for example the prestigious “Noble Prize of Wine Literature” by the OIV. Read more on the book here: France, the Country of Wine; Trends and Tradition.

It is one of the few books to cover France in depth so you can feel assured that you will have a difficult time to find a wine tour organiser more knowledgable about the subject.

Vinlandet Frankrike by Britt & Per Karlsson
Vinlandet Frankrike by Britt & Per Karlsson

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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 Rhone Valley and about wine touring in the region, what to do and what to expect.

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

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


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Program — Wine Tour to the Southern Rhone Valley and Châteauneuf-du-Pape

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.

Contact BKWine for more details.

Program overview

  • Day 1, Wednesday — Arrival in Avignon
  • Day 2, Thursday — Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Day 3, Friday — Vacqueyras, Massif d’Uchaux, Cairanne
  • Day 4, Saturday — The Montmirail Mountains
  • Day 5, Sunday — Heading back home

Wednesday, Day 1 — Arrival in Avignon

You arrive in Avignon and check in at our centrally located hotel, the four-star Hotel Novotel Avignon Centre, just a short walk from the historic city centre and from the railway station.

The hotel is located just outside the old city walls (so that our bus can pick us up at the door of the hotel; buses are not allowed inside the city wall). It is brand new, elegantly designed and very comfortable.

Avignon is a typical Provençal town. It has wide avenues lined with plane trees and narrow winding streets that feel as if nothing has changed for several hundred years. The town is full of life and has a very active night life; there are cafés on all the town squares, restaurants ranging from friendly neighbourhood bistros to luxury, wine bars etc.

You must not miss, cannot miss, the immense and impressive Papal Palace from the 14th century, the city wall that surrounds the whole central part of the city, and the famous bridge. It is actually called Pont Saint Bénézet and ends abruptly in the middle of the river.

You will have plenty of time to explore this charming city, a gem of the south of France.

Free evening to explore the city and the night life.

Palais de Papes in Avignon
Palais de Papes in Avignon, copyright BKWine Photography

Thursday, Day 2 — Châteauneuf-du-Pape

After breakfast we head out to our waiting bus. Today will be spent on getting to know Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the most famous wine of the southern Rhône Valley.

You will become intimately familiar with the wonderfully warm and spicy aromas with cinnamon, cloves, freshly roasted coffee. We will have a close look at the amazing round stones, les galets, that are so characteristic for these vineyards. They accumulate heat in the day and give it to the vines at night.

There are actually three types of soil in Châteauneuf, the famous galets roulés, sand, and clay. Each type of soil produces wines of their own specific character.

We will visit Chateau de Vaudieu, a magnificent 18th century chateau in the heart of the appellation, surrounded by 70 hectares of vineyards. They make both red and white Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines of excellent quality.

We will also pay a visit to Domaine Duseigneur that has had a fantastic commercial success with their Cotes du Rhone wine called Mas Louise but who also make outstanding wines in Chateauneuf since a few years back, as well as in Lirac across the river.

We will have lunch at one of the wineries we visit or in a regional restaurant with a view over the vineyards. This will be the perfect occasion to try out how these powerful wines match the local food. It will be a multi-course meal with local gastronomic specialities.

Late afternoon we are back in Avignon. The evening is free. We will be happy to give you some of our best recommendations for an evening restaurant.

Vineyards with galets roulés in the Rhone Valley
Vineyards with galets roulés in the Rhone Valley, copyright BKWine Photography

Friday, Day 3 — Vacqueyras, Massif d’Uchaux, Cairanne

Today we will visit two organic and biodynamic properties. Which also make amazing wines. We will get a good insight into how to manage the vineyards organically.

At Domaine Montirius in Vacqueyras, we will get a good view of everything in the vineyard as well as in the wine cellar. We will get know why the soil is so important and why Montirius does not want to use oak barrels. We will taste through all their range wines, Vacqueyras, Gigondas and Côtes du Rhône appellations.

We then continue on to Cairanne, a small village. Here we will have lunch at a wine restaurant and enjoy a menu specially composed by their very creative chef.

We will end the day in the beautiful Massif d’Uchaux. There are several vineyards here, including Domaine de la Cabotte, making wines with the Côtes du Rhône-Massif d’Uchaux appellation.

Marie-Pierre d’Ardhuy owns and runs the Domaine La Cabotte together with her husband Eric Plumet. It was a more or less deserted property when Marie-Pierre’s father bought it. When Marie-Pierre took over she planted new vines on the vineyards and she also reconstructed old terraces. She has 30 hectares of vines in one single plot, which is unusual in the Rhône Valley, but a great advantage when you are biodynamic, says Eric.

Late afternoon we are back in Avignon. The evening is free. Perhaps you are not so hungry after the extensive lunch? Then we can recommend one of the wine bars in the town. They are not always easy to find, but we have the addresses.

Vineyards and hills in the Rhone Valley
Vineyards and hills in the Rhone Valley, copyright BKWine Photography

Saturday, Day 4 — The Montmirail Mountains

Today we get closer to the beautiful Montmirail Mountains. This is where you can find many of the famous Côtes-du-Rhône villages. They are often high up on the mountain slopes with the vineyards just below.

We start the day with a visit to a small family winery in Sablet. We will have a very interesting tasting showing the different types and styles of wines they make in the southern Rhone Valley.

After that visit, we will continue further, in a north-easterly direction, towards a town called Valréas. We arrive at a beautiful wine estate with vineyards at 400-500 meters altitude with magnificent views of the Mont Ventoux, Provence’s highest mountain, and the spiky Dentelles de Montmirail mountain range.

We will visit their vineyards and then stay on the beautiful property to have a delicious Provençal lunch with local produce and vegetables from the garden. And we will, of course, drink their wines with the meal.

After lunch we will visit another winery near the Montmirail mountains. This is the opportunity to ask any question that you have not yet had an answer to since it is the last winery visit on the tour.

Late afternoon we are back in Avignon.

The evening is free to enjoy Avignon. If it is a warm evening we can recommend a walk across the bridge (the new one, not the old that only goes half way!) to see the spectacular view of the illuminated Papal Palace.

Time for lunch among the vineyards in the Rhone Valley
Time for lunch among the vineyards in the Rhone Valley, copyright BKWine Photography

Sunday, Day 5 — Heading back home

The tour ends after breakfast. Departure.

Program may be subject to minor modifications.

Palais de Papes in Avignon
Palais de Papes in Avignon, copyright BKWine Photography

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Tour Details — wine tour to the Southern Rhone Valley and Châteauneuf-du-Pape

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, good quality mid-range European style hotel:
    • Four nights in four-star hotel in Avignon
  • Meals as described in the program above (*):
    • 3 gastronomic multi-course lunches including prestigious wines, at wineries or local typical restaurants
  • Start and end point: Avignon
  • 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

(*) 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 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: 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, 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.”

(*) = 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 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 previous 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
  • “Wine Personality of the Year 2011” (an honour bestowed on Britt Karlsson by Munskänkarna, 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 these 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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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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