10 Great French regional wine festivals to visit

10 Great French regional wine festivals to visit

Celebrate one of France’s finest exports with a trip to one of these traditional wine festivals

Fête de la Saint-Vincent Tournante, Vézelay, Yonne – 26-27 January 2019

The last weekend in January is almost as important as the autumn harvest for villages in Burgundy that honour the patron saint of winemakers. Introduced by the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin in 1938, the Fête de la Saint-Vincent Tournante celebrates all the region’s wines, from the grands crus to lesser-known vintages. As the word tournante suggests, the festival operates ‘in rotation’, taking place in a different location each year. In 2019, it is the turn of Vézelay. Highlights will include a procession led by the brotherhood, a mass, wine tastings and talks by local producers. www.vezelay2019.fr

La Percée du Vin Jaune, Poligny, Jura – 2-3 February 2019

The Percée du Vin Jaune takes place every year in a different location in the Jura department. For 2019, Poligny will be the host town for this celebration of the famous vin jaune (yellow wine), as well as local wines from around the area. The event focuses, of course, on wine and tastings, but also includes local gastronomy and plenty of entertainment too. www.percee-du-vin-jaune.com

Vitiloire, Tours, Indre-et-Loire – 25-26 May 2019

This annual event sees growers from all over the Touraine converging in central Tours to celebrate their produce. Guided walks, tastings, workshops, markets and, of course, food and a bar, are all part of the weekend. www.vitiloire.tours.fr

Festivini, Saumur, Maine-et-Loire – early September 2019

This wine and food festival is a major event every year, consisting of over a week of festivities in Saumur and the surrounding area, in the Loire Valley. There are vineyard walks, a wine market, concerts, rivers cruises, horse riding tours and bike rides to enjoy. The high point of the festival is a sumptuous dinner extravaganza with entertainment at l’Abbaye de Fontevraud. www.festivini.com

Les Muscadetours, Nantes, Loire-Atlantique, 5-7 October 2018

‘Family-friendly’ and ‘wine festival’ may seem an unlikely duo, but Les Muscadetours aims to change that. A programme of wine-tasting and family vineyard visits is peppered with boat trips, quizzes and cooking classes to satisfy all ages. With events taking place across Nantes, it’s also the perfect opportunity to explore the local countryside. www.lesmuscadetours.com

Fête des Vendanges, Barr, Bas-Rhin, 5-7 October 2018

This flower-adorned village is regarded as the wine capital of Alsace, having hosted a wine fair for over 100 years. A highlight of the festivities is the cortège fleuri, a colourful parade with floral floats to celebrate the harvest. Each day a different selection of wines is available for tasting, complemented by traditional Alsatian food specialities. www.barr.fr/loisirs/fete-des-vendanges

Fête des Vendanges Banyuls-sur-Mer, Banyuls-sur-Mer, 10-14 October 2018

The ultimate seaside wine festival takes place in this unassuming port, welcoming around 7,000 visitors a year. A relatively new addition to the wine festival calendar, dating back to 1996, it was set up by local wine enthusiasts who wanted to pass on the viticulture tradition to a new generation. Wine tasting sessions are accompanied by a local produce market with an unsurprising emphasis on seafood. www.banyuls-sur-mer.com

Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre, Paris, 10-14 October 2018

Autumn in France is grape harvest time and Paris joins in the annual vendanges celebrations at the city’s one remaining vineyard, the Clos Montmartre, from 10-14 October. The Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre attracts around 400,000 visitors every year who enjoy the musical performances, parades and, of course, wine tastings. www.fetedesvendangesdemontmartre.com

Fête des Vins Chablis, Chablis, Yonne, 27-28 October 2018

Every fourth weekend in October, thousands of wine connoisseurs and some 40 local producers gather in the ‘Golden Gate of Burgundy’ to raise a glass to the town’s rich wine heritage. Since 1949 visitors have been able to enjoy plentiful tasting opportunities, vineyard wanders, delicious food stands and, most importantly, the baptism of the new vintage. www.chablis-wines.com

Les Sarmentelles de Beaujeu, Baujeau, Rhône, 15 November 2018

At 12.01am on the third Thursday on November (the 15th in 2018) the new vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau wine is released to the public. The largest celebration of this annual event is Les Sarmentelles in the town of Beaujeu in Burgundy and winemakers race to bottle the year’s harvest in time for the festivities. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the five day event, running from 14-18 November, includes tasting tours, a craft market, musical performances, fireworks and a torchlit procession. There is even a wine-tasting contest, with the winner receiving their body weight in wine! www.sarmentelles.com

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