- Old friends are best. John Selden
Attend to Wine Festival in France
Again, there are so many wine festivals in France it’s hard to know which ones to mention and the best source of information is the tourism board for the wine region you plan to visit but here are some examples.
The usual form is to purchase an engraved wineglass as you enter the event for about €5 (which acts as a sort of informal event pass and souvenir) then taste all the wines for free (bearing in mind some events have over 100 wines to taste, you might need to pace yourself!).
The annual Fête de la Pressée or Wine Press Festival, celebrates more than six centuries of wine making in the region, and that includes red, rosé, sparkling, and white wines. There are also traditional arts and crafts, jazz, educational films and tours of wine presses. Local treats such as smoked sausage, grilled port and Burgundy snails fill your mouth between sips of wine.
The Chablis wine festival celebrates the wine of Chablis and surrounding villages. It take’s place in October in the pretty wine making village of Chablis. A visit to this charming village is a delight at any time but especially during the Festival with a host of events to satisfy the thirsty traveller.
At the stroke of midnight on the third Thursday of every November, France erupts in massive celebration in honour of the unveiling (or should we say uncorking) of the Beaujolais Nouveau wine. Beaujolais Nouveau, which is a young wine (only 6 weeks old), comes from a region south of Burgundy in France. The arrival of the new Beaujolais is warmly welcomed in France. All over the country, grand traditions have developed in honour of the release of the Beaujolais, with the biggest festival taking place in Beaujeu, the historic capital of the Beaujolais region. After the grand midnights unveiling the huge barrels are opened to much fanfare and party-goers indulge in the new wine for the festival’s 3 day duration. In Paris, restaurants and bistros host Beaujolais Nouveau parties, staying open through the night and uncorking hundreds of bottles after midnight. Wherever you may be travelling in France, this is a great night to celebrate life, wine, and a grand French tradition.
The Loire Valley
In the heart of chateaux country in May, a hundred wine growers from Touraine leave the hillsides of both banks of the Loire to converge under a tree canopy in the heart of downtown Tours for the Vitiloire festival. In August the little town of Vouvray is host to one of the more unusual wine festivals where forty wine makers gather in an enormous troglodyte cave!
Sancerre is not only host to arguably The Loire Valley’s top wine, they also know how to put on a great event and The Sancerre Wine Festival in June is very big celebration of wine.
The biggest of the region’s festivals is held in late June/early July in the city of Bordeaux. It’s a huge event spanning 12 acres along the banks of the city’s stunning Garonne River. The famous wines of Bordeaux are represented along with other local wine producers and all manner of interesting cultural and gastromic attractions.
The Rhone Valley
In early August, the famous village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape is transformed into a medieval village for the annual wine festival. You can wander and taste at will or join one of the guided cellar tours, tasting as you go. Medieval music, street performers and even a medieval market all enhance the nostalgic atmosphere.
The world’s foremost pig festival event is ready to welcome you in the lovely mountainous French region of the Hautes-Pyrennees! Ask for something bizarre and you have it here: people dressed as pigs, pork-sausage contest, black pudding eating competition, a piglet race, or the national pig imitation competition. Funnily enough, among these crazy and fun events, there is also a fancy dress competition as well as wine drinking events. If you are up for something different, extreme, and immensely fun, you must try this!