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Burgundy Wine Tours


Burgundy Wine History

Historically, Monks and monasteries of the Roman Catholic Church have had an important influence on the history of Burgundy wine. The first known donation of a vineyard to the church was by king Guntram in 587, but the influence of the church became important in Charlemagne's era. The Benedictines, through their Abbey of Cluny founded in 910, became the first truly big Burgundy vineyard owner over the following centuries. Another order which exerted influence was the Cistercians, founded in 1098 and named after Citeaux, their first monastery, situated in Burgundy. The Cistercians created Burgundy's largest wall-surrounded vineyard, the Clos de Vougeot, in 1336. More importantly, the Cistercians, extensive vineyard owners as they were, were the first to notice that different vineyard plots gave consistently different wines. They therefore laid the earliest foundation for the naming of Burgundy crus and the region's terroir thinking.

Wine Areas

For a small overview of Burgundy, the region is divided into four different and very distinct sections. With at its head, Chablis made from 100% Chardonnay, therefore we are looking at only white wines. The heart of the region is the Cote-d'Or between Dijon and Beaune, where the most expensive and prized red and white Burgundies are found. Full-bodied wines can be found in southern burgundy between the Cote Chalonnaise and Macon. And last be not the least we find the misfit of the region, Beaujolais where the red wines are 100% Gamay, instead of Pinot noir.

The Chardonnay-dominated Chablis and Gamay-dominated Beaujolais are formally part of Burgundy wine region, but wines from those sub-regions are usually referred to by their own names rather than as 'Burgundy wines'.

Regional Highlights

Burgundy is an area of gently rolling hills on the eastern periphery of the Massif Central. It is here that the central plateau meets with the gentle slopes of the Jura. The fertile soil of the valley in between has been planted with vines since the Romans' conquest.

Many of the names wine drinkers associate with France come from Burgundy. - Chablis, Beaujolais, Macon, Cote de Beaune, Cote d'Or and here are the famous wine centers of Dijon, Beaune, Macon and the Cote-d'Or.

The northern portions, known as Lower Burgundy, produce little wine but have ornate Renaissance chateaux, spectacular monastic architecture and charming medieval towns.

Wine Primer & Terroir

Very few of the wines from this area are white, but they are some of the finest examples of dry white wine produced in the world and are considered a benchmark for winemakers everywhere. Here the primary difference is the location of the vineyards, i.e. the soil and the slope of the land, making the difference between a Village wine and a Grand Cru wine. Below is a list of the most important villages and vineyards in the Cote de Beaune that produce white wines:

Village Premier Cru Grand Cru



















Clos des Mouches

Les Perrieres
Les Genevrieres
La Goutte d’Or
Les Charmes

Les Combettes
Les Pucelles
Les Folatieres
Les Referts

Les Ruchottes













* Corton-Charlemagne – there is a sweet story associated with this white wine. Emperor Charlelmagne’s wife demanded that the Emperor start producing the white wine for the red Corton kept staining his imperial bead and clothing!

* The vineyards of Batard-Montrachet and Montrachet overlap between the villages of Puligny Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet.

* Montrachet is a small vineyard with 15 owners that produces perhaps the best dry white wine in the world.

Early Religious Sites

In the 10th Century the most influential centers of monastic reform throughout Christian Europe, Cluny and Citeaux, were located in Burgundy. Cluny abbey, not far from Macon, was founded in 910. In the following century Vezelay in northern Burgundy became a major meeting point for leaders of the most important movements of the time, especially the crusades and was the official starting point of one of the four routes of pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella.

Abbey at Fontenay
Abbey at Fontenay - this magnificent Cistercian abbey together with the village it is in is classified as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. "This stark Burgundian monastery was founded by St Bernard in 1119. With its church, cloister, refectory, sleeping quarters, bakery and ironworks, it is an excellent illustration of the ideal of self-sufficiency as practised by the earliest communities of Cistercian monks". It is the oldest surviving Cistercian foundation in France, situated deep in the forest, it offered the peace and seclusion the Cistercians sought which is reflected in the austere elegance of its architecture.

One of the most beautiful and unforgettable villages in France, built on a steep hill topped by the Basilica and overlooking vineyards.. The Benedictine Abbey at Vezelay dates from the 9th century when it acquired the relics of St. Mary Magdalene and became an important place of pilgrimage. The Basilica of St. Madeleine is “a masterpiece of Burgundian Romanesque art and architecture” (Inscription UNESCO World Heritage Site). It is where the Second Crusade was launched by Saint Bernard in 1146 and where the king of France, Philippe Auguste, and Richard the Lionheart met before setting off on the Third Crusade in 1190.

Contains the ruins of what was once the greatest abbey in France. In 910 Bernon founded a Benedictine abbey on the banks of the Grosne, and Cluny became the center of mediaeval Catholicism. Its abbots enjoyed an influence greater than that of popes and kings. Peter Abelard (of Abelard and Eloise fame) died at Cluny.

Abbey at Citeaux
Dates from 12th century. Mother-abbey of the Order of the Cistercians, which was an offshoot of Cluny for those who wanted to live strictly by the rules of St. Benedict. Much of it was destroyed during the French Revolutions, as was Cluny, except for the library. However, The monks of Cîteaux also founded the local vineyards of Clos-Vougeot and Romanée, two of the best wines of Burgundy. Today Cîteaux is famous for its Brie like cheese.

Abbey Saint-Seine-L-Abbaye
Dates from 13th century.

The Cathedrale of Saint-Benigne
Little remains of The 11th century Benedictine abbey founded in honor of Saint-Benigne in Dijon which was rebuilt in the Gothic style in 1272. Beneath the church is a Romanesque crypt, one of the oldest Christian sanctuaries still to be seen in France. In the old dormitory of the Abbey is the Museum of Archeology with a collection of Gallo-Roman sculpture.

Customer Reviews

"Once again, thank you very much! We had a wonderfull day! If you ever plan to come to Puerto Rico, do not hesitate to contact me." PT

"Larry, thank you for organising the wine tasting, it was most enjoyable. Please pass on our thanks to Francesca." IR




Dijon Grapes
Take the Tour

The wine villages of Marsannay la Cote, Fixin, Brochon and Gevrey Chambertin open the way to what is known as the "Champs Elysees" of the Cote de Nuits on account of its red Grand Cru wines of world repute. Your guide will explain the special features of the winegrowing area. After visiting the Chateau du Clos de Vougeot, former wine storehouse of Cistercian monks of Citeaux and present-day headquarters of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin (Brotherhood of the Knights of the Tastevin), you will round off a pleasant trip with a visit to a wine cellar with a tasting session.

Burgundy wine

Burgundy Wine Tours, Tastings and Adventures

This small region with a very big reputation for producing full yet elegant whites, and soft, yet silky reds, is one of France's main wine producing areas for high quality wines. The wine is mostly made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes , although other grape varieties can be found including Gamay, Aligote, and Sauvignon Blanc are often used to make easy to drink fruity wines.

So if you like Pinot noir and Chardonnay grapes, this is the region you need to visit! It is here where one can find many famous wines of distinction using only these two grapes and understand that mysterious jargon about the notion of 'Terroir'

No matter where you go in Burgundy it is only an hour and a half TGV ride from Paris!

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Loire Chateaux

Wine Tours from Beaune

Visiting the largest Burgundy wine cellar in Beaune, the Maison Patriarche, - 16 wines to drink located in the former Carmelite Convent, whose cellars are linked to those of the 14th Century Chartreux Monastery.

Burgundy Barge

Grand Cru Barge Vacations

A boat ride along Burgundy's waterways makes a truly delightful way to float through wine history. Join us on a 6-night tour aboard The Amaryllis barge and an unmissable opportunity for the wine connoisseur to taste the 33 Grand Crus of Burgundy, including Bonne Mares, Montrachet and Romanée Conti.

Burguny Countryside

Burgundy Wine, Walk & Cycle

Burgundy : the area that you have to taste ! From the most prestigious vineyards to remarkable chateaux, you will walk or cycle in the heart of a French region with incomparable treasures.

Chateau de Sully

Wine Tours from Dijon

You will leave Paris for Auxerre : "Burgundy's golden gate". First, a little snack in the shopping area to taste the famous "nonettes" (gingerbread with jam) and take a sip of the local spirit. A walk from the place St Nicolas, a charming square with its Middle-age half-timbered houses, to St Etienne cathedral, beautiful Gothic building with its 1500 years' old crypt. Off to the hills of St Bris le Vineux, a small valley covered with fruit trees. Visit "Domaine de La Grand Roche" for a white wine tasting.

Custom Trips to Burgundy

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