Selecting which combination of houses and vineyards is the second part of your bespoke Champagne tour. We break this into 3 general tour options, and then the final selections are a combination of your preferred houses and possibly a vineyard in order to meet your overall expectations.
Q. What are our tour options?
A. On a private day tour from Reims or Épernay as an example:
• Discovery - 1 prestige cellar + 2 vineyard/tastings + 1 visit Reims Cathedral or Hautvillers
• Classic - 2 prestige cellars + 1 cultural visit like Reims Cathedral + short tasting visit.
• Vineyard - 3 to 4 small family producer visits
Q. What is a Champagne House?
A. Champagne Houses (also known as Grandes Maisons or Prestige Houses ) are famous Brands with an international reputation. Several Houses offer cellar visits in English followed by a single tasting of their Brut (an assemblage of all 3 main grape varieties) plus additional tasting options. During the visit you will learn about the history of the brand and about the basics of how Champagne is made. You will not visit production or vineyards with the exception of Veuve which offers this at 200€pp. Champagne Houses offer visits to their cellars to build long term brand awareness because they know you can find and order their Champagne anywhere in the world.
Open to the public : Moet, Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, Taittinger Mumm, Mercier, Billecart Salmon, Canard Duchene, Nicolas Feuillatte
Closed to the public : Laurent Perrier, Perrier Jouet, Pol Roger, Piper Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck, Bruno Paillard, Krug, Louis Roederer, Cristal, Salon.
Q. What is a Family Vineyard?
A. Grower vineyards are generally small family domains, many of who you may probably not have heard of.
Visits take place on the family estate and generally includes a visit of the cellars, press room, production, bottling area, and ends with a triple tasting, which might include the Brut, a Rosé and a vintage but varies depending on what is open. The tastings are usually made in the family home or in a few cases a purpose built formal tasting room. You are able to see how the Champagne is made and learn all about the Champagne making process. These are usually very interactive visits where you will discover many styles of Champagne! We can sometimes arrange these tours with the owners themselves and with food pairings.
Q. Can we visit both Moet et Chandon and Dom Perignon?
A. No. Dom Perignon Cellars is a brand owned by LVMH and located inside the Moet et Chandon Cellar complex so you must choose one or the other. Dom Perignon is only available as a private guided tour followed by a single tasting, or if you refer an additional Rose Tasting or a tasting of P2. Moet is available as a public tour with 3 tasting options. Please ask us.
Q. Can we visit Champagne House of Krug?
A. Yes, it is possible but you must book a minimum of 3 months in advance and have an invitation from a Krug importer or sommelier or with a very expensive overnight package. MORE DETAILS
Q. Can we walk through the vines?
A. Visits into the vines are generally not offered because most parcels of land owned by the winemakers are often not located next to the family estate. If your interested in visiting the vines please let us know. We know several vineyards where this is possible on request, in most cases this will add about 30 minutes to the tour time.
Q. Are vineyard tastings free?
A. Rarely. Some small vineyards welcome tourists only to sell Champagne. We work with about 80 vineyards who have at least one employee who can speak English and are set up to offer visits. The cost, generally just covers the cost of the Champagne but not the time spent for the visit. Keep in mind they are running businesses and their main objective is to sell Champagne.
Q. Can I choose which vineyards to visit?
A. Not really. That's our job to select those vineyards we feel best match your budget and preference profile. If there is one vineyard in particular you wish to visit we will try to reserve a visit if they are open to the public. Creating itineraries is very time consuming work because we have to match your preferences with vineyard availability and logistics. Smaller producers, mentioned in the wine press with growing reputations for quality among chefs, restaurants, connisseurs and the wine press internationally, tend not to want to open to the general public as wine-tourism is not their focus. They also sell on allotment to existing clients due to the low production and high quality so they have no need or interest for visits from new customers. These include: Selosse, Mousse, Mouzon, and Bonville.
Q. Are there Vegetarian or Vegan restaurants in Champagne?
A. Very few. We prefer to select a restaurant, which has enough choice so you can pick what you can eat otherwise consider Japanese and Italian options. Please let us know in advance especially if you have allergies or need gluten free, lactose intolerant or the like so we can arrange accordingly.