Above is a photo of part of the cellars of Chateau Guadet, a Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé. You will enter through an imposing front door of the property, in rue Guadet in Saint Emilion, go through the house and into a courtyard and then descend into the cellars below the town. The vineyards are very close to the town and the grapes are brought here for wine making so that the wine making takes place on the property. It is not a place just for storage which might be expected in the centre of the town. Like all visits, the more questions you ask, the more interesting the visit. There are very few visits like this where a guest enters the private area of the property. This is a very interesting visit to a family run chateau.
Above is a photo of part of Chateau d’Yquem. A fabulous chateau making fabulous wines at increasingly fabulous prices.It is possible to enter into the property and see the chateau, from the outside, without an appointment during the week and on a Saturday. For a formal visit an appointment is necessary. A visit is possible with a guide but otherwise unlikely. You can try with a personal email, it can work, or see the page Wine Tours.
Vineyard Visits - Useful Information On this page are some of the chateaux who will welcome visitors in French or English. Some need considerable notice but some chateau such as Chateau Latour and Chateau Petrus do not accept private individuals. However you can always send a personal email.We especially love to walk around the Saint Emilion vineyards since many of the most famous chateaux are within an easy walk of the centre of the town. Just to walk and see world famous chateaux and their vineyards is amazing for us, even after twenty five years of such walks.Normally there is a nominal charge for a visit for which you will be able to taste two or three wines. The charge for a visit will be between 8 and 15 euros but sometimes the visit is free and sometimes the charge is a little more.Guests should allow up to two hours per visit and be aware that appointment times need to be adhered to as apart from normal politeness there will usually be a group of visitors. The tasting will be at the end of the visit. It is not possible to just ‘stop by’ to taste wines. The style here is to visit by appointment, not always, but generally so.A wine guide, see the page, Wine Tours, will often be able to fit in three or four visits in a day, depending upon requirements. However a guide knows the roads well and visit durations. A guide will ensure that visits are not too similar and focus on different areas. If you are planning for yourself always just plan two visits per day unless you are really sure of the relative geography and visit types and durations. When guests are with us we can try to arrange visits for those chateaux that will accept guests at shorter notice, but this is not always possible. Planning your visits in advance is the best option. You will notice in the information on this page that the method of classification in the Medoc differs to the method in Saint Emilion, which differs to the method in Pomerol which differs to the method in Graves or Sauternes etc. We are in France with all its wonderful and sometimes confusing ways of doing things! Do not worry we can help.We have a separate list of much smaller chateaux, always family run, where normally a charge is not made but these visits are for those who want to purchase some wine. This list is available to our guests and some excellent wines can be purchased at very reasonable prices.On this page we are trying not just to re-produce the information from the chateau’s own publicity so the views, if there are any, are our own.
Above is a photo of Chateau Prieuré-Lichine a fourth growth in Margaux and for us this is probably the most evocative chateau in the world. The chateau was purchased by the late American writer Alexis Lichine in 1951. It was when reading one of his books in 1987 that we decided on our first holiday in Saint Emilion and the start of a love affair with this area where we are now living.
Above is a photo of part of the front of the very beautiful Chateau Beychevelle, a Saint Julian fourth growth. After a very interesting visit with a good explanation on their techniques you will typically taste Chateau Beychevelle and their second wine from the same year which is interesting. Sadly, in general, second wines from top chateaux are no longer at second wine prices!
To the left is a photo of an entrance to Chateau Canon a Saint Emilion premier grand cru classé. When we used to walk around the vineyards close to Saint Emilion on our holidays we always wanted to enter into the grounds of this wonderful chateau. At the time it was privately owned and visits were not possible.There is much gnashing of teeth that chateaux are passing out of private ownership, (other than from those selling), but there can be benefits, for example now that Chateau Canon is no longer family owned, visits are possible.
Above is a photo of Chateau de Sales, Pomerol, which has been in the same family for over 500 years and is family run with passion.A fascinating visit combining passion for the wine making, a visit to the magnificent park, the history of the estate and French charisma.In Pomerol there is just one appellation (classification), which is Pomerol. So in Pomerol one really has to know the wines and this is a wine well worth knowing.
Above is a photo of the chai at Chateau Beau-Séjour Bécot. Another favourite spot for us on walks, very close to the centre of Saint Emilion.It is a Saint Emilion premier grand cru classé, and one of the few that we can occasionally afford. We love the wine and to visit their cellars situated below their vines.
Above is the entrance to The Manoir in Saint Emilion. Here you can taste three wines, two from Saint Emilion and one with the simpler appellation of Bordeaux, without charge. We think that this is the best free visit in Saint Emilion. Appointments are not necessary.Before the tasting you visit the extensive caves below the town.The visit is very interesting and is more focused on the incredible stone quarrying than on the wine making which takes place at the vineyard a little distance from here.
Not all wine tasting need be too serious, as the photos either side hopefully show. These were taken during an afternoon at Chateau Bonhoste, a very serious producer near to us. They hold an annual party with, in this photo, dancers from Brittany on the left and a local Bandas on the right.There was music, food, wine and fun and we met some of our guests there who had rather a good afternoon as we did.You can visit Chateau Bonhoste without charge but normally without entertainment but with the pleasure of tasting their wines.