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How to Visit Wineries in Bordeaux?
Bordeaux is in the southwest of France, approximately 600 kilometers (360 miles) from the capital, Paris.
It is easy to reach Bordeaux by train from Paris Gare de Montparnasse in just over 2 hours. If you arrive to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, take a quick flight to Bordeaux or hop on the SNCF train to Bordeaux right at CDG.
More on other options to get to Bordeaux from Paris in my article How to Get from Paris to Bordeaux.
Bordeaux Merignac airport is about 25 minutes away from the city center. Here is more information on How to get to Bordeaux from Bordeaux airport.
- All year round
- April to October is a high season
- Harvest lasts from mid-September to mid-October
- January and February are a low season with some restaurants closed, however wineries are open and there is more chance to visit the best ones.
- June – fête le fleuve festival in Bordeaux
Where to Stay in Bordeaux?
I recommend that you stay in the center of the city in the areas near the Grand Theatre, the Golden Triangle or the quarter of Saint-Pierre, which is the heart of a vibrant social life of Bordeaux.
Most Bordeaux winery tours depart from around the Office of Tourism right in the center at 12 Cours du 30 juliet.
You can also choose to stay in the wine country, which would be about 30 minutes to 1 hour drive from the city center. The choice is quite wide including luxury spa hotels, rooms at chateaux, country house stays (gite). I have listed some Bordeaux winery stays suggestions below.
If you stay outside of Bordeaux, you might look into renting a car. However, driving in the city of Bordeaux can be challenging due to narrow roads and hectic traffic, especially during rush hour. Here is my article on whether you need to rent a car in Bordeaux.
Things to do in Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a capital of vast wine country and home to thousands of wineries – from prestigious chateaux to small charming family estates.
A wine tour is a “must-do” when in Bordeaux. You will see spectacular vineyards, historic castles and learn how famous Bordeaux wines are made, and taste them of course.
There is a modern Wine Museum (La Cite Du Vin), as well as Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary Arts Museum, Decorative Art Museum, farmers’ markets, wine bars, boat tours to take. You can learn more about various city tours and things to do in Bordeaux on my Bordeaux website.
There isn’t a bad time to visit Bordeaux. In my blog article about the best time to visit wineries in Bordeaux, I cover pros and cons of the different seasons.
- Visit word-renowned wineries in Medoc, Saint-Emilion and Pomerol
- Taste famous reds from Left Bank and Right Bank
- Visit the Medieval town of Saint-Emilion
- Climb the sand Dune du Pyla
- Have oysters with Bordeaux white
- Visit La Cite du Vin
- Taste foods of southwestern France
Bordeaux Wine Tour Destinations
The 10,000 vineyards of Bordeaux are spotted everywhere across the region, however the most prestigious wine growing areas and wine tour destinations in Bordeaux are Medoc and Pessac-Leognan, Graves, and Sauternes on the Left Bank of the Gironde Estuary, Saint-Emilion and Pomerol on the Right Bank.
The Medoc is on the Left Bank (west bank of the Garonne river). The region is famous for prestigious first-growth chateaux classified back in 1855 and the historic castles. Did you know that Thomas Jefferson was one of the first to create a classification of wines of the Medoc?
The Medoc wine tours will take you to Margaux, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Saint-Estephe, or Haut-Medoc, which are home to the top chateaux in Bordeaux.
Here, you will taste wines of famous grand cru classe names and visit massive cellars. At one of the cellars at Chateau Mouton Rothschild there are 1,000 barrels, all in one room. Baron Rothschild asked an architect to build a cellar in a way that he could see all his barrels at once.
The landscapes of the Medoc are flat. Most of the land is covered by vines and marshlands. In the Medoc, you will mainly find Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends.
The farther north you move in the Medoc, the more Cabernet Sauvignon will likely be in the blend, thanks to the high gravel content in the soils.
Saint-Emilion and Pomerol
On the Right Bank (the east bank of the Dordogne river) the rolling hills, landscapes and the Medieval town of Saint-Emilion, included into the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, attract many visitors.
Saint-Emilion wines are elegant and smooth. Merlot is king here. Merlot is often blended with Cabernet Franc in approximately 70/ 30 proportion. Saint-Emilion’s wineries are smaller and more homey. You often get to talk to winemakers themselves.
Pomerol winemakers are famous for one of the best Merlots in the world. Petrus of Pomerol remains one of the top wines in France.
Closest to the city of Bordeaux, this wine-making region is a cradle of Bordeaux wine fame and a truly unique terroir with excellent reds as well as whites.
Pessac-Leognan produces some very good value-for-money wines and is favoured by Bordeaux locals (les Bordelais).
Map of Bordeaux Wine Country
How to Go on a Wine Tour in Bordeaux?
Map of Top Wineries in Bordeaux
I plotted best wineries in the Medoc based on the 1855 classification. You can see them colour-coded by the “cru” they belong to, from the 1st grand cru classe to the 5th.
The best wineries of Saint-Emilion are classified as Premier Grand Cru Classe A and Premier Grand Cru Classe B.
You may find my Interactive Map of Bordeaux Wine Estates helpful as well.
All winery visits are by appointment. Thy last approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. Do not plan any visits between 12 pm and 2 pm.
Between November and March, wineries can be open Monday through Friday only. Wine tours still run on the weekends to visit select wineries.
Visit La Cité du Vin
Here is my video from La Cite du Vin and my thoughts about whether the Bordeaux wine museum is worth visiting.
Stat at a Winery in Bordeaux
To help you choose your stay in Bordeaux, see my my article Where to Stay in Bordeaux Wine Country?
Below I have listed a few options of vineyards to stay in Bordeaux.
The Right Bank: Saint-Emilion, Pomerol and Fronsac
The Left Bank: The Medoc
The Left Bank: Pessac-Leognan
The Left Bank: Sauternes
- Black: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Carmenere
- White: Sauvingnon Blanc, Semillion, Muscadelle
- Left bank reds: beaf, steaks, lamb
- Right bank reds: duck, chicken, veal, turkey
Whites: oysters, shell fish, fish of all types, clams, mussels, sushi, veal, chicken, pork
Best vintages for Bordeaux reds
- 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2018