Sept 17: Welcome to Bubbles Nirvana
Morning: Our tour begins in the town of Epernay, one of the epicenters of the Champagne region. (Note: Epernay can be reached in 90 minutes by train service from Paris. It is highly recommended that participants arrive the day before and WineKnows can arrange early arrival hotel space.) Our first stop will be a private seminar & tasting hosted by the Director of the Champagne wine association.
Afternoon: Next, will be a visit to one of Champagne’s most regaled wineries. Located on Epernay’s illustrious “Avenue of Champagne,” this iconic winery owns fifteen miles of wine cellars under the city. It is also the owner of the famous brand Dom Perignon.
Evening: Dinner will be a private event on the winery-lined Avenue of Champagne. At night this iconic street is flood-lit with dazzling works of art.
Sept 18: A Royal Cathedral & Regal Champagne
Morning: Today we’re off through the Champagne countryside to the city of Reims. Home to some of the top producers of Champagne, Reims also boasts one of the country’s most notable cathedrals—site of coronations for Kings & Queens since the 5th century. In route we’ll stop at a special small Champagne producer for a tasting of the highly rated bubbles with the owner.
Afternoon: After lunch there will be time to visit the cathedral, but don’t dally as we’ll have a private event at one of the super-star celebrities of Champagne, Veuve Clicquot. Their underground cellars are some of the most impressive in all of Champagne.
Evening: Dinner tonight will be a gala event back in Epernay in one of the town’s extraordinary Champagne cellars.
Sept 19: Beautiful Burgundy
Morning: It will be difficult to say adieu to Champagne but today we travel to nearby Burgundy, where Pinot Noir & Chardonnay are the two official grapes allowed by law.
Afternoon: Our first taste of Burgundy will be at a highly regarded estate where we’ll enjoy a private tour of their impressive state- of-the-art winery. Then, we’ll check into our deluxe hotel located in the quintessential medieval walled-town of Beaune, Burgundy’s epicenter.
Evening: Tonight we’ll dine in a tres charming restaurant located within the city walls of Beaune—the meal will be classical Burgundian.
Sept 20: Barrel Maker & Dijon Mustard
Morning: We’ll kick off the day with a fascinating visit to a barrel-maker whose clients are some of the world’s most distinguished wineries. Next, we’ll tour one of the most renowned producers of the area’s famous Dijon mustard.
Afternoon: Finally, a visit to the most celebrated building in all of Burgundy: the Hospice de Beaune is a must-see for any history, architecture or wine buff. Site of the world’s most renowned wine auction, the Hospice is equally known for charity over many centuries.
Evening: This will be the only night of the tour in which dinner will be on your own. The town of Beaune is filled with a plethora of wonderful restauants….all walkable from our hotel.
Sept 21: Outdoor Market & Premier Cru
Morning: On the central square just outside the Hospice de Beaune is the town’s celebrated weekly outdoor market. Expect perfumed berries grown in the nearby hills (used to make the famous Cassis liquor), a cornucopia of artisanal cheeses, a plethora of mustard from nearby Dijon, as well as an assortment of antiques and local crafts.
Afternoon: Next, we’ll visit one of Burgundy’s most famous wineries located in the heart of Beaune. Their underground cellars are one of most stunning settings in all of wine country. Thousands of bottles of Premier Cru were hidden here from the Nazi’s during World War II. This is likely to be an experience you will never forget.
Evening: For dinner tonight we will dine in the private chateau of a winery with its winemaker. His family, one of the most famous in the district, has been producing well-regarded Burgundy for > 10 generations.
Sept 22: Bonjour Cote Rotie & Hermitage!
Morning: Today we’re off to the northern district of the Rhone Valley. Our first stop we’ll be in the riverside town of Ampuis at one of the Rhone’s most esteemed producers. Prepare to have your socks knocked off by their Syrah, Grenache & Viognier varietals.
Afternoon: Next, we’ll drive downriver & check into our hotel which is located in the heart of the Rhone River wine district.
Evening: We’ll dine at the restaurant of one of the Rhone’s mover-and-shaker wineries located just across the river in Tain Hermitage.
Sept 23: Chocolate & Wine
Morning: What a way to start off a day: a tour of the Valrhona chocolate factory! Yes, there will be plenty of samples.
Afternoon: Today’s wine tasting will be at one of the rock-stars of the Rhone Valley. Get ready to rock-out!
Evening: Dinner will be at one of the area’s culinary gems which prides itself in featuring all local products.
Sept 24: Provence & Chateauneuf du Pape!
Morning: Our next adventure awaits us as we travel for the last two nights to the Southern Rhone’s district of Provence. We’ll begin in the town of historical town of Vaison La Romaine, one of the Roman Empire’s satellite gems. Today the city boasts one of Provence’s most popular outdoor markets brimming with a tantalizing array of colorful Provencal fabrics, dishes, linens, soaps along with olives in every shape & size, olive oil, a hard to resist selection of olive wood platters, bowls and kitchen utensils.
Afternoon: One of the iconic wine districts of France is Chateauneuf du Pape. When the Papalcy was changed in the 14th century from the Vatican to southern France, this district was planted with grape vines brought by the Pope. Chateauneuf du Pape (“new chateau of the Pope’) remains to this day one of the wine jewels of the country. The producer we’ll visit is an extraordinary example of what vines can do in this coveted area.
Evening: Tonight we’ll dine at the 17th century Provençal farm estate that Wine-Knows has leased. Located on an island surrounded on both sides by the Rhone River, this is a special property for our last two nights on the trip.
Sept 25: A Gem in Provence
Morning: If you weren’t blown away by yesterday’s outdoor market in Vaison La Romaine, then today’s market in the tony town of St. Remy de Provence ought to do the trick. St. Remy has been described as the “Martha’s Vineyard” or “Hamptom’s of Provence.” Yes, the town has become gentrified, however, walk a few blocks from the center and a more authentic Provence of yesteryear awaits.
Afternoon: There are two reasons for visiting this area of Provence. The first is the market above. The second is the oh-so-special award-winning winery that will be our last stop of this trip.
Evening: Tonight, depending upon how early people will be departing tomorrow morning, we’ll either have a dinner purchased from ingredients at today’s market (think rotisserie free range chicken, potatoes laced with tapenade and shallots, the last of the summer’s luscious vine-ripened tomatoes with local goat cheese….finished with perfect figs topped with local honey and a eye-catching pastry from the market), OR we’ll have a private chef cook an early dinner for our farewell feast.
Sept 26: Au Revior
Morning: Our tour officially ends after breakfast. Avignon is <5miles away and if you haven’t seen Avignon an extra night is highly recommended. The city’s 14th century Palace of the Popes is an unforgettable site. Avignon also offers high-speed train service to both Paris and Nice on the French Riviera for connections to international flights.
The tour begins at 9am on September 17, 2024 in the Champagne district’s city of Epernay (located 90 minutes by frequent rail service from Paris). It is strongly advised that participants arrive in Epernay the day before the tour begins to avoid any possibility of missed connections with the group. Wine-Knows will be happy to obtain early arrival hotel space for you.
Group airfare has purposefully not been included to allow maximum flexibility in arrival & departure options. You may go early or stay over after the trip concludes. Wine-Knows Travel, Inc. provides land only arrangements and does not provide airfare.
Our groups are composed of people from diverse occupations, singles & couples, men & women, a mix of young & old, well- seasoned international travelers as well as novices. All have a common interest in food & wine. Most participants on our tours are repeat clients and many others are referrals.
In addition to clients from >20 states in the US, we have had several clients from Europe, Canada, Asia & even New Zealand. Our groups are composed of people from diverse occupations, singles & couples, men & women, a mix of young & old, well-seasoned international travelers as well as a few novices. All have a common interest in food & wine. The majority of participants on our tours are repeat clients or their referrals. In addition, each tour participant is a non-smoker.
One of the hallmarks of the Wine-Knows’ brand is seeking out those oh-so-special spots to stay. We typically look for historical accommodations that ooze old-world European charm, but yet offer the latest in 21st century creature comforts such as air-conditioning, luxury linens, an on premises spa, and of course WIFI . Furthermore, we avoid large “tour group” hotels, favoring the smaller boutique properties. This trip will feature the following properties:
- In Champagne, the group will be divided among two different hotels, both former private villas of Champagne-making families. The two properties are located nearly next door to one another on the famous Avenue of Champagne. Each one offers 5 upmarket rooms with all the bells and whistles of a small exclusive hotel.
The following 3 accommodations are slated for the remainder of this trip:
- Elegant 16th century Burgundian mansion with Spa. Lavishly furnished with beautiful antiques, this 4 star hotel has even hosted King Louis XIV. Complete with an impressive tower, the stylish wine country hotel has named each of its bedrooms after a Grand Cru wine. Situated in the epicenter of Beaune, its ideal for easy access to the city’s sights, shopping & sipping.
- Boutique hotel originally built in the 18th century as a private mansion, it now features 16 rooms overlooking the Hermitage vineyards of the Rhone. While it is sophisticated (think guilded chandeliers, marble fireplaces, a stone staircase, & gorgeous molding), there’s nothing over the top—it’s the epitome of good taste in one of France’s loveliest wine regions.
- Located on an island surrounded by the Rhone on all sides, this 17th century Provençal “farmhouse” combines understated elegance with countryside authenticity. Featuring 7 acres of gardens and a 20ft x 45 foot pool, the unique accommodation offers 10 bedrooms, each one simply but carefully decorated.
Dining experiences have been mindfully selected. Meals will be special culinary events ranging from sophisticated world-class restaurants, to simpler family owned places or wine bars. There will also be at least one dinner in a family home of a wine producer.
In addition to carefully chosen restaurants, this tour will feature excursions to outdoor food markets, a premier producer of Dijon mustard, and a visit to France’s highly regarded Valrhona chocolate factory.
The tour will be business casual dress during the day. As the French have a more formal dress standard, there will be no shorts allowed during our winery visits. It is strongly suggested that men bring a sport coat (tie optional) for dining at the more sophisticated restaurants & in the formal dining rooms of private chateaux. Women should bring a similar level of attire for these high-end dinners. Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit our first hotel has a pool.
Consider the following 3 rules of thumb to minimize the amount of clothing required: (1) Bring layers. (2) Use the mix-and-match principal (i.e. if it doesn’t mix or match, leave it at home.) (3) Use accessories to change the look versus bringing additional clothing.
Daytime temperatures can vary from 65 degrees in Champagne & Burgundy, to 75 degrees in the Rhone & Provence so pack accordingly. While rain is unusual at this time of year, it never hurts to pack a small umbrella.
The price is based upon double occupancy. Should you wish to share a room, every attempt will be made to find you a roommate (most of the time we have been quite successful in doing so, however if we are unable to find you a roommate, you will need to pay the single supplement of $1720 US.
We have provided free time as detailed in the itinerary. Furthermore, it is not mandatory that you attend all of the planned experiences, although most of our clients do! This is your trip—if you would rather sleep in, shop, or simply chill at a sidewalk café, then do it!
The tour ends in Provence just outside the town of Avignon which offers high-speed rail service to Paris or to Nice on the French Riviera. We can arrange transport for you to any part of Europe, either by train, rental car, or with a private driver.
YES. Cancellation insurance is highly recommended.
Yes. We accept payment through PayPal (PayPal.com). Since PayPal charges us a fee, this fee must added to the cost of the trip.
Sept 17-26, 2024
*based upon a minimum of 12 participants
- All activities listed in the itinerary
- Double occupancy in air-conditioned rooms with ensuite bathrooms
- Daily full breakfasts
- 8 Dinners with 2.5 glasses of wine per person per dinner