Southern Rhone Valley and Châteauneuf-du-Pape Wine Tour

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

— The Rhône River makes its way past many wine regions before it reaches the Mediterranean. In the southernmost part of the Rhône region, we are in Provence and the wines are warm, spicy and fruity. The southern Rhône Valley is today one of France’s most dynamic wine regions with a wealth of interesting winemakers and wineries of top quality. World-famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape has become a mover and shaker thanks to a new generation of winegrowers. Pair this with the delicious food from southern France and Provence and it becomes the perfect combination and the perfect wine tour.

Tour Highlights

  • 4 nights
  • Private tastings, ~10
  • Stay in Avignon
  • Spectacular landscape
  • Price: [this is a sample programme]
  • New stars of the Côtes-du-Rhône
  • Classic Châteauneuf
  • Gastronomic Provence
  • Organics and biodynamics

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Please Note: This Is A Sample Programme

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

Next Wine Tour To Southern Rhone Valley with Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • This tour is currently not on our tour schedule. Contact us for information about future dates or to discuss a custom tour.

The southern Rhone Valley is a dynamic wine region today. New producers emerge and are brought to fame. 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 of 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 and 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.

Vineyards and hills in the Rhone Valley
Vineyards and hills in the Rhone Valley, copyright BKWine Photography
A road winding through the vineyard in the Rhone Valley
A road winding through the vineyard in the Rhone Valley, copyright BKWine Photography

We will, of course, visit Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of the most prestigious wine regions in France. In recent decades there is a new energy and dynamism here thanks to a new generation of very ambitious winemakers. The Popes in Avignon built a summer palace in a small village 20 kilometres north of the city 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.

We will also visit the area near the beautiful mountain range called Les Dentelles de Montmirail with its lacework-looking summits (dentelle means 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 a relatively “humble” appellation such as Côtes du Rhône can produce when in the right hands.

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

There is also a lot of interest here for organic wines and winemaking that is caring about the environment. This 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, and delicious fruits of all kinds. On the tour you will enjoy three lunches which will be truly gastronomic highlights. Sometimes it may be as guests at the home of a wine producer, sometimes at a restaurant with regional typical cuisine. There will be plenty of opportunities to explore how the Rhone wines pair with the various southern French specialities.

Avignon is easily reached with the TGV high-speed train from Paris or from the airport Charles de Gaulle or from Marseilles.

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

Vineyards with galets roulés in the Rhone Valley
Vineyards with galets roulés in the Rhone Valley, copyright BKWine Photography
Ripe grapes in a vineyard in the Rhone Valley
Ripe grapes in a vineyard in the Rhone Valley, copyright BKWine Photography

Programme — Southern Rhône Valley and Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine tour

Preliminary programme.

Contact BKWine for more details.

Sample programme

This is a sample programme, an example. You can find the wine tours currently on the schedule here, or you can explore a custom designed wine tour by contacting us.

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 Avignon
  • Day 2, Thursday — Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Day 3, Friday — Vacqueyras, Massif d’Uchaux, Beaumes-de-Venise
  • 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 four-star hotel just a short walk from the historic city centre and from the railway station. The hotel is located just outside the old city walls. 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 give you the impression nothing has changed for hundreds of years. The town is full of life and has a very active nightlife; 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, Pont d’Avignon. 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 in the south of France. Free evening to start discovering the city.

The Pope's Palace in Avignon on the Rhone River
The Pope's Palace in Avignon on the Rhone River, copyright BKWine Photography
The Pope's Palace in Avignon on the Rhone River
The Pope's Palace in Avignon on the Rhone River, 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 roulés, that are so characteristic for these vineyards. They accumulate heat in the day and release it to the vines at night.

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 Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines of excellent quality. The winemaker will show us the cellar and explain the whole vinification process. We will also pay a visit to Domaine Duseigneur where Bernard Duseigneur makes outstanding wines in Châteauneuf since a few years back, as well as in Lirac across the river. The estate is certified biodynamic.

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

During the day we will also have a closer look at what is left of the papal summer palace. It is located at the top of the village and it has a beautiful view over the vineyards and the Rhône River. On clear days you can see all the way to Avignon, 20 kilometres away.

Late afternoon we are back in Avignon. The evening is free.

Vineyards in Chateauneuf-du-Pape with galets roulés
Vineyards in Chateauneuf-du-Pape with galets roulés, copyright BKWine Photography
Vineyards in Chateauneuf-du-Pape with galets roulés
Vineyards in Chateauneuf-du-Pape with galets roulés, copyright BKWine Photography

Friday, day 3 — Vacqueyras, Massif d’Uchaux, Beaumes-de-Venise

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 their range of wines, Vacqueyras, Gigondas and Côtes du Rhône appellations.

We then continue to Beaumes-de-Venise. We will have lunch at the cooperative’s new and innovative restaurant and taste their wines for lunch. The cooperative recently merged with the small high-quality cooperative in Vacqueyras. The wines are now excellent and on top of that, they recruited a very talented chef for the restaurant.

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. Eric is the winemaker and he will explain about organic and biodynamic farming.

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.

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

Saturday, day 4 — The Montmirail Mountains

Today we get closer to the beautiful Montmirail Mountains, Les Dentelles de Montmirail. 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 with a visit to Domaine Vaillot in Vinsorbres. The village is at a high altitude which means that the vines are always cooled by a fresh wind during the hot summers. François Vaillot and his daughter Anaïs have 30 hectares of vineyards, all of which are certified organic. Anaïs is the winemaker and a very ambitious one too.

We head to the picturesque village of Séguret for our lunch at Domaine de Mourchon. The estate is beautifully situated. It was founded in 1998 by the British McKinlay family. The family makes a very interesting range of wines, white and red. They also make their own olive oil. The lunch will be in their garden if the weather is beautiful, as it usually is.

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 halfway) to see the spectacular view of the illuminated Papal Palace.

The Dentelles de Montmirail mountains in the Rhone Valley
The Dentelles de Montmirail mountains in the Rhone Valley, copyright BKWine Photography
The Dentelles de Montmirail mountains in the Rhone Valley
The Dentelles de Montmirail mountains in the Rhone Valley, copyright BKWine Photography

Sunday, day 5 — 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.

A wine cellar with old oak barrels in the Rhone Valley
A wine cellar with old oak barrels in the Rhone Valley, copyright BKWine Photography
A wine cellar with old oak barrels in the Rhone Valley
A wine cellar with old oak barrels in the Rhone Valley, 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 the Rhone Valley and about wine touring in the region, what to do and what to expect.

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 — Southern Rhone Valley Wine Tour

Dates: [this is a sample programme]

Price per person: [this is a sample programme]

Single room supplement: [this is a sample programme]

Sample programme

This is a sample programme, an example. You can find the wine tours currently on the schedule here, or you can explore a custom designed wine tour by contacting us.

ADJUST TOUR DETAILS AS NEEDED, LUNCHES DINNERS ETC ETC ETC

Included in the price:

  • 4 hotel nights, double occupancy, including breakfast, good quality mid-range European style hotel
    • The elegant four-star Novotel Avignon Centre
  • Meals as described in the programme 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, though 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 Avignon yourself.

You can go to Avignon by the fast train, TGV, from Paris or from Charles de Gaulle Airport. You can also fly to Marseille and from there take the train up to Avignon. Train tickets are normally released three months before departure. It is easy to book tickets on the internet.

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: 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”

* = 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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