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Do Bordeaux Wineries Require Reservations?

How to book your chateau visits in Bordeaux

Bordeaux wineries require reservations to attend guided wine tours and tastings.  While at some Bordeaux chateaux reservations can be made on the date of the visit, others require days, weeks, and months of advance notice.   The top Bordeaux wineries, such as the first growth chateaux require bookings at least 6 to 8 months before your planned tour.

Can I Visit First Growth Bordeaux Chateaux?

Reservations at Bordeaux wineries are necessary as staff numbers are often limited, and tasting rooms can be small.  Also, unlike wineries in some other wine regions of the world, Bordeaux wineries aim to provide you with a very personalized and intimate experience. 

Bordeaux is a popular destination among wine lovers, so visit spots at the chateaux get filled up quickly, especially in the summer months and during the harvest season. I recommend booking your Bordeaux wine experiences well in advance even if you are working with a wine tourism company.

Private visit at Chatea de Ferrand, Grand Cru Classe

How to Make Reservations at Bordeaux Wineries?

1. Decide on the Bordeaux Wine Region You Plan to Visit

Most people choose between the Medoc, Saint- Emilion, Pomerol, Pessac-Leognan, and Sauternes.  Other choices include Entre-Deux-Mers, Cotes de Bordeaux, and others. 

Medoc vs. Saint-Emilion

It is best to focus on one region per day, as driving distances between Bordeaux wine regions can be significant.

Map of Bordeaux Wineries 

Visit chateau in Saint-Emilion Bordeaux wine tour
View on Saint-Emilion from the South

2. Select Wineries You Would Like to Visit

Petrus, Pomerol
Petrus is closed to the public

The most prestigious Bordeaux wineries are in high demand for visits and tastings.  If you still have a long time before your visit, you may be able to receive an appointment at the top wineries.  

On the contrary, if you are contacting Bordeaux chateaux only several days before your visit, do not waste time contacting the top wineries, as they are fully booked months ago.

It is also important to know that not all Bordeaux wineries are open for visits.  Forget Petrus, Le Pin, Ausone, and such.

In my Medoc Wine Tour Guide, I list wineries that accept visitors.  You can also easily find all the contact details of the Medoc chateaux.

3. Contact Your Shortlisted Wineries and Request Appointments

You can contact wineries by email, by phone, or through contact or a booking form on their website.

I recommend contacting wineries by email. This way, you will receive your visit confirmation and avoid misunderstanding.  Emails are answered on the same day or within a few days.

When making a reservation, mention your name, your phone number, the number of adults and kids in your party, the desired date and time, and the type of experience you would like to book.

Receive a confirmation email with the date, time, number of participants, and price.

IMPORTANT:  email the wine tourism department and not the general email of the chateaux.

 

Early spring at Chateau Pichon Baron in Pauillac

4. Create an Itinerary

To build your wine tour itinerary select 2 or 3 winery appointments per day that would work together in terms of start times, tour durations, and distances between chateaux.  Voila, your itinerary is ready!

It is important to not be late for your winery visits.  When making your reservations always ask how long the visit lasts and check the distances between wineries such that you can make it on time to your next chateau.   

If any winery appointments proposed to you do not work with your plan, as a courtesy to the winery, email or call the office to cancel the options.

I know all this may sound like a daunting task.  If you would like a professional to build your wine tour itinerary, the wine tour booking service is your other option.

5. Enjoy Your Bordeaux Wine Tours

Driving around Bordeaux wine regions is a treat.  If you do not have a designated driver, consider hiring a professional local driver.

If you want professionals to organize a tour for you, there is a number of wine tour companies in Bordeaux, that you can rely on, including mine.

Do I Need to Prepay My Bordeaux Wine Tastings?

Most of the time, you can pay for your wine tastings on the spot. Some top wineries may require prepayment, especially for the premium tasting packages.

Cellars at Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion

Can I Drop in for a Wine Tasting at a Bordeaux Chateau?

From my experience, 95% of the time the answer is a no when we are talking about grand cru classe prestigious wineries.  I recommend calling before coming to a winery to save your time.

Recently, some top wineries have started drop-in tastings, for example, Chateau Leoville-Poyferre in Saint-Julien, however, they are still an exception.

Chateau D'Issan, Margaux
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Polina

Polina

A sommelier and a wine tour guide in Bordeaux, France, I travel Europe, collecting the best wineries to visit, best places to stay and eat.

I organize Bordeaux wine tours.

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Before You Go

Personalized travel insurance is always good to have.

Get up to 30% off your car rental in Europe with Rentalcars.com.

If you are looking for a driver or a private transfer in Bordeaux see some options here.

Where to Stay in Bordeaux?

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Medoc/Left Bank stays

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See more tips on visiting Bordeaux wine country in my Blog.  

If you are interested in a private wine tour of Saint-Emilion or Medoc wineries, see our tours at Atlas Bordeaux.

Enjoy your time in Bordeaux!

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