In the air, underground, it’s fun, unconventional and surprising. What if wine tourism was still full of surprises? When the wine is discovered through an unusual experience, it combines with unforgettable shared moments. Winalist has prepared a small selection of such experiences for unusual tourists who want to be challenge!
Raphael Pommier is the owner of Notre-Dame de Cousignac vineyard, in Ardèche. He has a specific technique to refine its wine: he makes his bottles aging in a cave. It is 80 meters underground, in the cave of Saint-Marcel-d’Ardèche that it leaves his precious wine. The underground cave actually offers optimal aging conditions that are an absolute black, a constant temperature of 14°C and humidity of 90%. On his own under the earth, Raphael Pommier came up with a crazy idea. Bringing wine lovers to taste his wine directly in the cave! In the intimacy of limestone subsoils, at the crossroads of the Rhône and Vivarais, Raphaël Pommier proposes SpéléŒnologie to its visitors! The later go down into the cave to taste his “Vinolithic” wine. This organic côtes-du-rhône wine has been refined for 6 months to a year in this cave. Special mention for those looking for unique tasting sensations, access a site with unusual silence and humidity and visit a terroir from the inside! Obviously, each visitor is equipped with specific suits, headlamps, harness, ropes and all the necessary safety equipment. For the less adventurous ones, the Notre-Dame de Cousignac vineyard also offer “traditional” surface tastings.
Art and Vine, a pretty 2-in-1 experience
Winalist has already told you about the Smith Haut Lafitte domain in a previous article about wine Spas. The owners keep on developing their wine tourism offer with this “Art et Vigne” visit. In the middle of the vineyards of Bordeaux, the route begins. You find yourself in a similar world as the one of Alice in Wonderland, facing the giant bunny you just ran into. A small sign tells you the story of the statue and why it was placed there. Well, it’s not a rabbit, it’s a hare. The winegrowers fear the rabbit’s appetite on their vines, preferring the hare over, because rabbits fear hares. Thus, the surreal walk in the middle of the rows of cabernets begins, from the secrets of one monumental statue to another. The walk ends up with a well-deserved tasting in the castle cellar.
The ballooning vineyard
Without believing you’re above the others, it can happen that you get tired of walking tours. Well, then just go for a heavenly break in Saint-Émilion.
In order to fly, a hot air balloon needs a stable air, when the earth does not send the hot air back to the sky, creating turbulences. Thus, the flights take place at dawn or two hours before sunset, which gives you magnificent views, to be enjoyed with a glass of wine! For 2 to 4 people, La Ferme du Ciel offers such tours above the Bordeaux vineyards, guaranteeing a unique and poetic view of the castles underneath. According to the formulas “vineyard” and “Grand Cru”, the driver will pick you up at your place where you stay and you can attend the inflation of the balloon. With the first option, you enjoy a picnic in the countryside with local products afterwards, coupled with a glass of Saint-Émilion wine. With the second option, the tasting is to be enjoyed during the flight!
Sleeping in a barrel
The Chai du Vignoble Marchais will make you feel like a fermenting wine. In the heart of this Loire region vineyard, you’re invited to understand the winemaker practices enjoying avisit ending with a night on the spot? And not just anywhere, because it’s all about sleeping in a barrel! The barrel is a symbol of tradition and winemaking know-how. Inside, you feel its particular smell and hear the atypical sounds, for an evening as close to the vineyard as you could ever be. Find here Phillipe’s 4 barrels in Thouaré-Sur-Loire.
This total wine experience can also be found further South. At the Château Bonhoste, in Saint-Jean-de-Blaignac in Gironde, you can enjoy the night in another type of barrels. Find here the Fournier family’s 2 wine tuns to sleep in.
Fall back to childhood or just enjoy in wonder as you experience a challenging type of wine tourism! If you’re looking for more winemakers to meet, more of their wine to discover, let’s meet on Winalist to book activities and nights on site!
Also published on Medium.