In 2006, when Kathy and I began Wine Trail Traveler, we thought we had to visit California. We did that year and have visited wine regions in that state several times since. Slowly we began to visit wineries outside of the United States, starting with Ontario, Canada. Then there was an opportunity to visit Tuscany in Italy. For the next several years we added to the list of states in the United States as well as other countries including New Zealand, Croatia and two more visits to Italy including Umbria, Campania and Friulu Venezia Giulia. However, for years France seamed to elude us.
Our opportunity to travel to some of the wine regions in France has finally happened. We are part of a tour of France by Washington State University. We took some online winemaking courses through WSU and are familiar with their trips to wine regions. Our 2010 trip to New Zealand was with a group tour assembled through WSU. The tour of France begins in Paris, then onto Champagne, Burgundy and back to Paris. Then we will take a train to Bordeaux. Finally we will return to Paris.
Now that we have finished the articles we wrote about Quebec wineries we visited recently, we can concentrate on researching our French wine region trip. Unfortunately, the tour operator that set up the itinerary is being rather obtuse. Over a month ago we received the final itinerary. Throughout the itinerary there are mentions to visit a champagne and wine store or visit a local winemaker. There is a group lunch at an independent winery. Throughout the entire itinerary, there are only a handful of wineries/vineyards mentioned by name. The rest is up in the air. As writers we find this extremely frustrating. We like to do some pre-writing and at least know some important information about a place so we can ask questions.
Perhaps itineraries are fluid and change. This didn’t stop In Vino Veritas Travel Agency in setting up our itinerary for the Istria wine region of Croatia. We received an itinerary for the area. When their was a change in the itinerary we were informed right away. This company followed the same practice for our itinerary to Quebec. If one tour operator company can tell you where you are going, why can’t another? In the meantime, there is still plenty for our to research about France. Armed with books by Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson, we can get a general overview of the country and wine regions.
We are excited about our tour of French wine regions. We do wish we had a better idea of the actual wineries or vineyards that we will visit.