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May 7, 2005
Even if you're not a wine connoisseur, the scenery and history wrapped up in the chateaux and vineyards are worth taking the tour. Or, if you really enjoy yourself, take another tour to a different region or a full-day tour and keep on swirling and swishing that wine.
From journal Bordeaux = Wine Mecca
by funny anglo
January 14, 2003
A ticket for the office’s tour costs $26 and includes transportation by air-conditioned bus to one designated area in the region, a five-hour guided afternoon tour in English and French of a winery and local village (depending on what area you are visiting), and taste testings at the winery. The tour operates seven days a week form April 15-November 15, and Wednesday and Sunday only from November 16-April 14. They visit a different area each day. The tourist office’s web site is not only multilingual but informative and well designed, so if you are planning to visit in advance you should see where they are going on the day you plan to go. I highly recommend reserving your tickets at least on the morning you plan to attend or before, as there are only 50 spaces available. We went in mid-June and called for tickets three hours before, and the tour was sold out an hour later.
We took the wine tour on a Wednesday, which meant we were off to the town of Saint-Émilion. Our tour guide was a colourful woman well versed on wine making techniques and the geography and grapes of the Bordeaux region. We both speak French so we were able to understand her original text; her translations into English were fairly good, but there were some things she did not translate well or at all. We tried three of the winery’s brands, and all were very good.
The second part of the tour was a visit to Saint-Émilion. The town has the largest monolithic cathedral in Europe, built completely underground in the 9th century. Also built underground is the house/cave of Saint-Émilion, the man who founded the town. Note to females looking to conceive: apparently if you sit on his chair (there’s only one in the house) you will conceive shortly after; I didn’t take any chances and stood up the whole time!
Overall the tour is an excellent way to visit the famous Bordeaux wineries without having to book your own transportation or make the reservations yourself. The only problem with the tour was the wordiness of the guide: we were supposed to have a half hour of free time to explore the town, but she spoke so much that we had no time left and had to board the bus back to Bordeaux.
From journal Bordeaux - The Grapes of Construction