World's Top Wine Tours
Courtesy of French Wine Explorers
French Wine Explorers: Best for Access to Top Producers
French Wine Explorers (one-day itineraries for up to four people from $1,100) will take you to many of the wineries responsible for the bottles in collectors’ cellars. The company operates throughout France and Italy, but the shining jewel is the Bordeaux Prestige Tour. This year it included stops at the five first growths of the Médoc and the difficult-to-access Château d’Yquem, which makes some of the world’s most important sweet wine, coupled with accommodations at Pauillac’s Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron, a popular Bordeaux second growth. (Wineries of similar caliber are included in trips to Burgundy, Champagne, and Tuscany.) The Bordeaux Prestige Tour is offered three times annually, usually in May and June.
The Caveat: The cultural components of these trips are limited. “Our days are centered around the most exclusive wine estates in each region,” says owner Pascale Bernasse. That doesn’t leave time for cooking classes or art museums.