There’s a lot to discover in France’s Rhône Valley, a region with nearly 1,500 wine producers and 61 wine producing cooperatives. But as anyone who has taken wine trips before knows, you can only do so many tastings before each winery starts blending into the next. Wine producers in the Rhône Valley have wizened up to that fact, and embraced oenotourisme with gusto. Many of the region’s independent, family-owned wineries go above and beyond the ordinary tourist package, offering unique activities with a personal touch.
The six activities selected here represent some of the best wine excursions you’ll find in the Rhône Valley. Whether it’s educational, like the “make your own wine” workshop at Maison Lavau, or experiential, like the moped vineyard tour at Cave Terra Ventoux, these are excursions that offer you a view of the wine world beyond what you’ll find at a standard tasting. In most cases, you’ll also get the opportunity to interact with the winemakers themselves. At Domaine de Provensol, a bed and breakfast on a vineyard, the hosts make a point to create a first-hand experience of the winemaking process for their guests, even encouraging visitors to participate in the harvest and dine with the winemakers.
For many travelers, the goal of a voyage is to uncover the authentic character of a place, and we’ve chosen activities that provide a glimpse of the true nature of the Rhône Valley. It’s not uncommon to find wineries like Domaine de Marotte, where the husband and wife owners create an experience for visitors that feels akin to being welcomed into a winemaker’s home. These are tours that let the passion of the wine producers shine through. At the end of your trip, you’ll leave with more than just a suitcase full of wine bottles; you’ll have a memorable story to go along with each one.