Discover wine in the Languedoc
Look around you, what can you see? Row upon row of vines stretching in every direction and scattered with hundreds of small vignerons, large Château and Domaines and factories known as Cave Co-operatives most of whom are very happy to welcome visitors to taste and buy their wines, look out for welcoming Dégustation signs. The Hérault is a playground for those wanting to taste and buy french wine and learn more about this exciting wine region.
What is the etiquette as regards wine tasting, can you just turn up unannounced or do you need an appointment? The answer is, well it depends. The large establishments will have staff ready to greet you and show you around and produce a tasting all with the expectation that you will buy of course! Very few charge for the experience as there is a clear expectation that you are there to buy wines. The small vigneron however will not always be open. He or she is out caring for the vines, or busy in the cellar or selling the wines so it’s best to make an appointment to be sure of a welcome.
Organised Wine Tourism is perhaps the best option for those of you not wanting to buy but wanting to taste and discover French wine and there are various options to choose from. Some Domaines have chosen to offer Oenotourisme (wine tourism) of some sort and will provide an interesting experience for a small cost of about €15 to €25 per person. The tasting and tour of the winery will last about an hour and you will learn about the history of that domaine and the style of their wines and of course get to taste their range of wine along the way.
Transported Vineyard Tours are a great way to get to see the region whilst not having to do the driving yourself and of course allow you to imbibe a bit too! Vineyard tour companies will have experienced and usually qualified guides who are very entertaining and knowledgeable and will provide you with a more in depth and completely unbiased view. You will learn about the history of the region, and receive an explanation of the terroirs and appellations and an understanding of how french wine is grown and made. They often take you to small producers that you might not find for yourself and arrange a behind the scenes tour. This is the perfect way to get up close to wine making.
Balade du Vigneron are often organised by wineries and you can find out about them from your local tourist information office. They are often a walk around a wine estate a tasting and a delicious picnic. Les Fête le Vins are french wine festivals held in many of the villages and towns in the Hérault during the summer or following the harvest in October. It’s your chance to drink and be merry with the locals and other holiday makers.