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A life in vines and an invitation

"The best way to learn about wine is to visit vineyards"


JUN 06, 2024

Today's post is bit of personal history in travel, and an invitation to join me for an exclusive tour to the vineyards of Burgundy and Beaujolais. Insider's special: 7 days - 6 nights of glorious gastronomic indulgence, incomparable wines & hidden scenic wonders. 

When I first arrived in France, I worked in an organic vineyard in the Côte de Castillon, 11 kilometres from Saint-Emilion. That experience lead to a brief stint in Bath as assistant manager in a wine shop, which for me, was less fun than working in a vineyard. I wasn’t happy working in a shop and yearned to be outdoors again. A bit like Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh, who didn’t much mind what the weather was doing, as long as they were out in it. So I returned to France to work on Hotel Barges, navigating the inland waterways of Burgundy and discovering the lesser known vineyards of the Auxerrois along with the glories of the Côte d’Or. That in turn lead to the creation of my first activity in tourism, which was called ‘Finch Travel Service’.

The very first tour I organised and operated was a three-week wine and gastronomic tour for forty Australians through the vineyards of Germany, Alsace, Champagne, Burgundy, the Loire, ending in Paris that included four three-star Michelin restaurants and a generous number of one and two-star Michelins. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner with visits to famous bakeries, chocolate makers, cheese makers, markets and specialty shops along the way. We averaged two vineyard visits and tastings per day, some days managing as many as four. Exhausting, satiating, but exhilarating. That was in 1987.

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A historic overview of my travel activities

Following the ambitious beginnings of Finch Travel Service, there were a number of professional permutations involving barges, balloons, bicycles (couldn’t find my Blue Marble card) private châteaux, incentive travel, the creation of Taste Tours and ultimately, Paris Wine Walks.

I have since organised wine & gastronomic tours to every region of France and in 2010, adopted Taste Tours as the umbrella name for all my travel activities. The name was, and still is, based in the conviction that taste is the impetus for all we pursue in our search for the summits of organoleptic experience.

The world of travel has evolved with the Internet, and group travel has become much less of a thing. But there is still no better way to access the vineyards of France than with someone who has, through direct exchange and careful consideration, developed a vast range of personal contacts.

I therefore invite you to join us for an unforgettable journey through the picturesque vineyards of Burgundy & Beaujolais, where each sip unveils the rich history and exquisite craftsmanship of these regions' renowned wines.

The Hospices de Beaune

Starting in Paris, we journey to northern Burgundy with a tasting in Chablis before spending 3 nights in Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy. Exclusive private tastings, vineyard lunches and gourmet meals succeed one another in a relaxed flow of sensual delights. From Burgundy, we travel through the Maconnais to Beaujolais, passing through some of the most beautiful vineyard-scapes in the world. We explore the origins of natural wine, tasting our way through an iconic range of Gamay wines while lodging for 3 nights in a 13th century fortified castle. The tour includes a visit to Perouges and ends in the gastronomic capital of France, Lyon. 

Vintage wines

The wines of Burgundy are among the most celebrated in the world, sought after by amateurs and collectors alike. Being primarily small family domains, they are also notoriously inaccessible, lacking dedicated tasting staff.

With years of personal contact with wine-makers, we open doors to a range of first-tier producers, offering you tasting experiences that one can only enjoy with a professionally-guided tour. 

Limited to a maximum of 8 participants, we are small and discreet and therefore able to partake of the best of the best. Particular attention is given to the choice of restaurants with two vineyard meals specially catered by Top Chef winner Romain Tischenko.

Contact us for a list of the included visits and tastings!

There are but a few spots left and time is running out. So book now!

Thank you for letting me into your world and for reading the Paris Wine WalksSubstack. Your support is invaluable as are your comments, suggestions, critiques, dreams, thoughts and remembrances. A little encouragement goes a long way, so please consider a paid subscription, which need cost no more than (a cheap) glass of wine per week. Or, book a wine walk!

My book, ‘The Hidden Vineyards of Paris’ (reviewed in Jancis Robinson’s wine blog, the Wine Economist, National Geographic Traveler UK, UK Telegraph) is available at ‘The Red Wheelbarrow Bookshop’ at 11 rue de Medicis, 75006 Paris. If you haven’t yet discovered this gem of a bookshop, now’s your chance. Open every day!

Wine Walks!

For more information, click on the underlined links:

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Drink responsibly, drink sustainably, in moderation

Paris Wine Walks is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

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