France is home to some of the world’s finest wines. With some eight billion bottles made each year, France is also one of the world’s largest producers. Its winemaking history goes back centuries and as such, has some fascinating regions to explore. None more compact and impressive than Saint Emilion. Come along on this French wine tour as we explore how to tour the vineyards of Saint Emilion, France.
Where is Saint Emilion?
The small commune of Saint Emilion is located in south-western France, 45 km east of Bordeaux. It is world-renowned for its wine and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its Roman ruins, churches, and vines. Although it’s close proximity and being one of Bordeaux’s primary red wine regions, it’s not a part of Bordeaux’s wine classification established in 1855. Instead, Saint Emilion has its own classification which was established in 1955.
Getting to Saint Emilion
Saint Emilion is a short 47-minute drive from Bordeaux. If you are not driving, there are eight trains between Bordeaux and Saint Emilion per day and a ride takes less than 40-minutes. Even better, there are excellent Saint Emilion wine tour options from Bordeaux.
What Makes Saint Emilion Unique?
Saint Emilion has been making wine with vines planted in the second century thanks to roaming Romans. Let that sink in. Those are some old vines! The Romans planted vineyards in and around what is now Saint Emilion. The compact medieval townsite is worth a day trip and stroll on its own. The narrow cobblestone lanes, quaint shops, and churches certainly draw people in.
That all said, the surrounding vineyards and wineries are the true draw. Here are a few of the highlights and how to tour the vineyards of Saint Emilion.
Located a short 20 minutes’ walk from the town centre, this 400-year old winery is perfect for those looking to stay close to town. Château Coutet has been family-run since the 17thcentury and today, the 14th generation is running the show.
Tours are available and include wine tasting and the option of visiting the family cellar. Be sure to book ahead.
Another accessible winery from the town centre is Château Villemaurine. This historic winery is best known for its underground quarries which you can explore on a Heritage Tour.
This beautiful 18th-century château is also close to town and is a very walkable 10-minutes stroll away. On top of it being a stunning manor, the Château offers unique activities such as biking through the vineyards, a workshop on blending wines, and picnic baskets to go.
Heading out of town now, Château Guibeau is one of the biggest wineries in Saint-Émilion. With over 35 hectares of grapes, Château Guibeau produces roughly 120,000 bottles a year. Here you can wander the grounds with a picnic basket or take a guided tour for just 5€ per person.
How to Tour the Vineyards of Saint Emilion
Although you can explore many of these wineries on foot from the city centre, hiring a guide is the best way to tour the vineyards of Saint Emilion. Not only will you get a guide with knowledge and insight on the many years of winemaking history but also a driver for the day! This means you are free to enjoy your tour (and all the wine that comes with it!) without having to worry about how you are getting from place to place.
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