A photo of The Best Wine & Champagne Tasting Tours in Champagne

wine tasting tours and winery visits

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Best wine tours in Champagne

Why Visit Champagne?

Bollinger, Veuve Clicquot, Taittinger, Moët & Chandon. The sparkling wines of Champagne are some of the most famous wines in the entire world. Could there be a better place for a wine tasting holiday? Champagne produces around 360 million bottles of iconic bubbles each year! A staggering 50 million of which find their way to the UK and USA alone! This legendary sparkling wine is one of the most instantly recognisable symbols of celebration and joy, elegance and opulence, and for centuries it has been our go-to drink for celebrating life's special moments. If you’re planning a wine tasting holiday, Champagne needs to be top of your list! 

The heart of the region, surrounding the charming towns of Reims and Epernay, produces more than two-thirds of all champagne and this is where you’ll find the big-name Champagne houses of Moët & Chandon, Pol Roger and Perrier Jouêt; Veuve Clicquot, Lanson and Roederer to name just a few. Take a stroll along the famous Avenue De Champagne, stopping to visit one (or more) of these iconic producers and sample some of the finest champagne on a guided wine tasting tour.  
If you have more time, explore further afield to the less-well known areas of Vallee de La Marne where the Pinot Meunier grapes reign supreme, and La Cote des Bar (also known as the Aube region) where you can cycle between the wineries

We understand that most visitors (us included!) are lured to Champagne by the world-famous wine, however the region is rich in history. Reims is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame where 25 French Kings were crowned. Below ground is equally impressive and historically fascinating: hundreds of kilometres of centuries-old tunnels link chalk-walled cellars that sheltered locals during the two World Wars. Winerist can arrange private and small group tours that combine wine tasting with historical highlights.  

A few tips to consider when planning your champagne house visits. Most champagne houses and growers don’t accept visitors without an appointment, and only receive visitors on week days. Avoid making appointments between 12 & 2pm and allow plenty of time for each appointment. We suggest two champagne houses in a day or visits to three growers.  

Plan Your Visit

Best Known Grapes

Champagne, like most other regions in France, is subject to regional restrictions in terms of which grapes can be grown and included in the wines of that area. In Champagne, there are three grape varieties which are permitted: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Chardonnay brings freshness, acidity and light, fruity aromas to the wine, whilst the two Pinots add depth, complexity, and red fruit flavours.  Pinot Noir is the most widely grown variety, accounting for nearly 40% of the total vineyard area of Champagne. The volume of Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay vines is fairly equal, although Chardonnay is slowly becoming more popular, perhaps because it is a relatively easy variety to cultivate in comparison with the more sensitive Pinot Noir. Most non-vintage Champagne will be a blend of all three grapes. The term 'cuvée' denotes a mixture of all three grapes, whilst Blanc de Blancs is made exclusively from Chardonnay, and Blanc de Noirs exclusively from dark-skinned grapes. 
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Best time to visit

There’s beauty in the Champagne countryside at any time of year, but the vineyards are at their most attractive, and the weather at its most favourable between May and October.  For real champagne lovers, April is becoming the month to head to Champagne for some serious tasting. Not only are the vines beginning to awaken from winter dormancy, several separate tasting events, featuring close to a hundred champagne makers, take place in mid-April and are the perfect opportunity to discover some lesser-known brands and taste for yourself how wonderful they can be. Harvest time in September and October is also an excellent time of year to visit Champagne, with the last of the summer warmth combined with a feverish atmosphere of excitement and activity. Do be aware though that this is the busiest time of year for many growers, and it is always advisable to check that wineries are still receiving visitors when you plan your visit. If you’re looking for a special Christmas celebration, one of Champagne's most magical events of the year is the Habits de Lumières which takes place in Epernay in early December. The name means ‘Dressed in Lights’ and this wonderful festival of illumination sees all the champagne houses on each side of the Avenue de Champagne in Reims lit up with candles and fairy lights. 
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How long to stay

Champagne is an excellent destination for a weekend break. A stay of 2 or 3 nights will give you enough time to visit a selection of the well-known Champagne houses in Reims and Epernay. If you have a little more time you can explore further afield, visiting the smaller wine growers along the River Marne, or taking a cycle ride around the vineyards in Aube. With over 30,000 hectares of vineyards to explore and quite literally hundreds of winegrowers and Champagne houses waiting to welcome you, rest assured there is plenty to see, do and taste for any length of stay! 
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How to get there

The city of Reims is the gateway to the Champagne region. Although Reims has its own airport, flights here are limited and so the easiest way to travel to Champagne by air is via either Paris Charles de Gaulle or Paris Orly airports. Frequent, fast trains connect Paris with the Champagne region: it’s a speedy 45-minute TGV journey from central Paris to Reims and 80-minutes to Epernay.  If you're travelling from the UK, Champagne is approximately 2.5 hour’s drive from Calais. A more comfortable and environmentally friendly alternative is the Eurostar, which takes just over two hours from London St Pancras to Paris. Leave London at breakfast time and you can be sipping a glass of bubbles in Champagne at lunch! 
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