A quick reference for answers to questions you may be asking. For detailed tour information please refer to our wine tours.
What level of wine knowledge are tours aimed at?
Our tours are informative, informal and fun. They are for everyone who enjoys wine and want to learn more or experience Burgundy. Our guests have included winegrowers from other countries, wine collectors, WSET students and, most frequently, people who simply have an interest in and enjoy wine and want a personal, informative and informal experience of Burgundy and our wines.
What time do your tours start and end?
All our tours are full day starting between 9.00 and 9.15 and usually finishing around 16.30 to 17.00. We will collect you from your accommodation in the Beaune area and return you at the end of the tour. We are also happy to collect you and return you to Beaune railway station if you are visiting for the day, and to other locations by arrangement, please ask when booking.
When do you run your tours?
We run one of our tours any day of the week except Sundays and French Public Holidays. The family winegrowers we visit close on these days preferring to keep them family days as is common throughout France.
The Winter period, and particularly Christmas and New Year, is a period of recovery for many in Burgundy with many winegrowers, restaurants and some hotels closed. Consequently we generally do not run our tours from the end of November to the end of February. If you have a special requirement within this period please ask us.
Do I need to book in advance ?
Because we work generally with smaller winegrowers it is often necessary for them to return from the vines to attend the tasting room. We therefore make all our arrangements with winegrowers approximately 1 week in advance of any tour and we never arrive without appointment. This means that the winegrower is expecting the visit and the experience for the client is considerably enhanced. Unfortunately this means that sometimes we cannot run new tours at very short notice, but we can often accommodate an increase size in the group within our maximum tour group sizes.
For all tour dates, but in particular for tours in the Spring and Summer months we strongly recommend early booking as we have limited group sizes and often become full on a number of days a few months in advance.
Do you run half day tours?
We do not run half day tours. We believe to truly experience Burgundy and its wonderful terroir wines, and to understand the complexity of the region it is necessary to take a full day so as not to be rushed.
What should I wear? Is it cold in the cellars?
We visit, and often taste in, centuries old cellars. These can be chilly even in summer so we suggest that you bring a sweater in summer and a coat at other times of the year. We visit working cellars and the business of winemaking goes on around us. For your comfort and safety we recommend casual trousers and trainers or strong shoes as the floors are often uneven, cold, and can sometimes be damp and conditions humid. Weather-permitting we also stop in, and where possible, walk into the vineyards. Casual wear is the norm in Burgundy and is quite acceptable in the restaurants we visit for lunch.
I have special dietary requirements, is this a problem?
All restaurants we visit can accommodate special dietary requirements relating to allergies but we ideally need to inform them in advance. All the restaurants we visit can offer a vegetarian meal. Please let us know at time of booking so that we can select the best restaurant option for your tour.
Are there any mobility restrictions for people wishing to take a tour?
Many of the cellars we visit are centuries-old and have, naturally, been built to the conditions of the time and with the materials of the era. Many have steep steps, low beams, uneven floors and are humid even in summer. Visiting these cellars is part of the ambiance and charm of Burgundy and we ask all guests to take extra care when moving through or tasting in these ancient, but working cellars. We trust our guests understand that neither Burgundy Discovery nor the winegrower can be held responsible for any mishap while in the cellars.We try to be flexible in creating an enjoyable day for people who do have some difficulty in getting around but unfortunately, as in much of France, old buildings have not been built with wheel-chair access in mind.
Are your tours suitable for children?
We have found from experience that our days are really adult wine-tasting days. We are visiting working wineries often attached to the winegrowers private family home and wine cellars tend to be old and can be chilly. We stand for most of our tastings. Whilst the day is interesting for adults, children can get bored. It is difficult for both parents and children to enjoy the day.
Can I bring my dog on your tour?
As animal lovers ourselves we are sorry to say no. We have to consider our other guests who may not be comfortable sharing the car with a dog. We often visit winegrowers that have a dog themselves who may be reluctant to let another dog into their cellars.
How many people will be on the tour?
We like to keep our groups to a maximum of 6 to 8 on any day. We generally visit small family growers who are limited in space and we find that this works well as a number for an intimate experience and provides good interaction with the growers and between the group. For larger groups refer to the section on our web site for Special events and occasions under our wine tours.
Can we pick up a coffee or breakfast during the tour?
Due to our full itinerary and the locations of the wineries we visit, we are unable to stop for refreshments until lunchtime. We strongly advise you to have breakfast before the tour.
Can I have a private tour?
In general our tours are for limited size groups of a maximum of 6 to 8. We find that this works well as a group size and for interaction within the group and with the winegrowers. At certain times of the year it may be possible to have a private wine tour, but generally this is unlikely to be possible between the months of May and September. However please ask about availability when you enquire and if possible we will provide a private tour itinerary and proposal.
How do you select which winegrowers to visit?
There are around 4,000 winegrowers in Burgundy and we specialise in visiting the small, independent family growers typical to the region.
Since Burgundy Discovery started in 2003 we have built a network, and strong relationships, with around 20 growers each different, but making excellent wine with great passion. The growers we visit are working wineries and the business of winemaking often goes on around us and many rarely receive the casual visitor. We make advance appointments with all the growers, and our choice is based on the type of tour we are running, the opportunity to taste as many different Appellations as possible, the different characters and style of cellars along with the availability of particular growers on any given day.
It is our business ethos not to receive any commissions from the growers we visit as we believe the strong, friendly relationships we have with our winegrowers and the restaurants we collaborate with is an integral part of our tour. We are proud to call many of the growers we visit our friends.
Can I buy the wine tasted?
Yes. Some of the Domaines we visit sell direct, while others sell their wines through a wine merchant in Meursault whom we visit. Shipping can be arranged from many of the Domaines or through the merchant to most countries in the world including USA, Australia and all of Europe.
Travel & Accommodation:
Do your tours include accommodation?
Accommodation is not included in our wine tours in Burgundy. We have found that our guests prefer to make their own arrangements to fit in with their schedule and budget. We are very happy to email suggested places to stay in and around Beaune and there are a large number of options on the Accommodation page of our web site.
Can you recommend somewhere to stay?
We can recommend hotels, B&B, and self catering apartments within Beaune and the surrounding area. Please see About Burgundy, Accommodation, ... read more
Should I stay in Beaune or Dijon?
Beaune is the wine capital of Burgundy and a beautiful medieval small town. It is an ideal base for a stay of a few days and the world-famous Hospice de Beaune is a “must-see”. Dijon is a larger city and the historic capital of Burgundy. However, Burgundy offers so much more than just wine! We have links to many hotels, B&B's and self catering accommodation detailed in our Accommodation page within About Burgundy. You can also visit www.burgundyeye.com and www.burgundytoday.com for full information on what to do, where to stay and where to eat.
Can I be collected from my accommodation?
Our tours are centred around Beaune which is in the heart, and is the “capital” of the Burgundy wine area. We are pleased to pick up guests free of charge from any hotel, B&B or other accommodation in or within 15km (10 miles) of Beaune.
It may be possible to pick up guests staying further afield but this does depend on our routing for the day, and where other guests are staying. We may have to make an extra charge for this, but please check when reserving your tour. We are also pleased to pick up guests from Beaune station who are travelling down from Paris on the early morning train to take our tour.
We can also meet guests, who have their own car and are travelling from further afield, at a suitable parking area on the edge of Beaune where they can leave their car safely all day. However we do not recommend driving after a tour. Guests sometimes spend the early evening exploring Beaune or maybe having a meal before collecting their car.
Do you pick up from Dijon?
During our quieter season collection from Dijon may be possible but this depend upon our itinerary and if we have others to collect in Beaune on the same day. However there is an excellent train service linking Beaune and Dijon and the journey is quicker by train. Taking the train to Beaune does also give flexibility in the evening after the tour to say a while in Beaune and explore the town before returning to Dijon.
How far is Beaune train station from the centre and hotels?
Beaune train station is approximately ten minutes walk from the centre of Beaune. It is possible to walk to most of the central hotels however, with cobbled streets this can be tricky with luggage.
Taxi’s are rarely at the station in the early morning or the evening. If you require a taxi upon arrival our advice would be to discuss this with your hotel prior to your arrival.
Can I travel by train from Paris for a day tour?
We frequently receive guests who travel down from Paris for the day to take our tour. Mondays to Fridays there is a direct, fast TGV train from Paris Gare de Lyon at 6.53 am arriving in Beaune at 9.06am. We will meet you at Beaune station to start your tour. The best web sites to review train times and book tickets are www.sncf.com and www.tgv.com and both have English-language versions. Usually, reservations open 90 days in advance of travel.
We strongly recommend if you need to collect your tickets from the Gare de Lyon station before boarding the train that you do this the night before. If your credit card does not have a chip/pin system it may not be accepted by the automatic machines that print out the tickets. It would be very disappointing if you missed your train and wine tour due to being limited on time in the early morning and trying to get your tickets! We would also advise you to take breakfast supplies with you on the train as the buffet car is often not open and due to our full itinerary and location of the wineries we visit we are unable to stop for refreshments until lunchtime.
Our tours usually finish around 16.30/17.00 (4.30pm,/5.00pm) and we will drop you back at Beaune station or in the centre of town if you prefer. The station is ten minutes walk from the centre of Beaune and there are frequent return trains to Paris; most require a straightforward change in Dijon but please allow no less than 10 minutes for this change. Or, if you prefer, you may like to stay in Beaune the night before or after your tour. If you would like some recommendations for accommodation please let us know.
What are the travel options to get to Burgundy?
Burgundy is well served by the fast TGV train network and is also at the centre of many autoroutes serving much of Europe. Regular TGV trains to and from Dijon serve many French, Italian, Swiss and Belgium cities with connections to many other European cities including London via Eurostar. Other TGV stations in Burgundy include Beaune, Chalon-sur-Saone and Le Creusot. TGV train reservations can be made via the English-language web sites www.sncf.com and www.tgv.com. There is an early morning train from Paris most days direct to Beaune if you plan to take our tour as a day trip.The A6 autoroute serves Beaune directly and is a fast connection with the south of France, Paris, northern France and Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. Beaune is about 625km (390 miles) 5 ½ hour drive from Calais. The driving time from Paris is about 3 ½ hours. The nearest international airports to Beaune are Paris Charles de Gaulle, Lyon and Geneva.
Is driving in France straightforward?
Yes. The autoroutes offer fast and direct, well-signposted access to Burgundy and all of Europe.Autoroutes are toll roads and they have numerous “Aires” or stopping places to rest and the quality of food and value for money is high. Trucks / lorries are banned from travelling on autoroutes on Sundays and French public holidays. Be careful that petrol stations in France (even on autoroutes) are rarely open 24 hours and although there is always an automatic pump in operation, these do require a credit/debit card PIN number and not all will accept non-French credit cards. The Michelin series of maps are excellent – visit www.ViaMichelin.com. Speed limits on autoroutes are 130kmh (approx. 80mph) and 110kmh (approx. 70mph) in bad weather. Speed and drink driving laws are rigorously enforced on all roads in France. Please do not drink and drive!
What is the weather like in Burgundy?
Burgundy has a continental climate with summer temperatures rising to the mid-30s centigrade and in winter falling to –10/-15 centigrade. The area has four distinct seasons with spring and autumn usually providing warm weather. In winter it can snow anytime from December to March and it can rain at anytime of year.
Is it necessary to book restaurants in Beaune?
Despite the fact that Beaune has more than 80 restaurants it can often be difficult to find a table, especially in a restaurant of your choice. Also many restaurants close on a Sunday or Monday evening or at least one evening in the week. We therefore strongly advise booking in advance.
If you have not booked our advice would be to go to the restaurants early. In France people eat earlier in the evening and many restaurants are closed to new customers by 21.00.
Can you recommend some restaurants in Beaune?
Burgundy in general, and Beaune in particular, is a gastronomic paradise. In Beaune there are three one star Michelin restaurants, Loiseau des Vignes, Le Benaton and the restaurant at the hotel Le Cedre and within a few kilometres three more, La Chassagne in Chassagne Montrachet, La Charlemagne in Pernand-Vergelesses and Hostellerie Levernois in Levernois. Just 12km south is the magnificent three star Michelin, Lameloise, in Chagny.
In Beaune Les Petit Paradis, Le Fleury, Auberge du Cheval Noir and Caveau des Arches are all excellent. The restaurants Ma Cuisine and L'ecusson have also been popular with guests. For simple bistro food at lunch or dinner, Au Grand Café in Place Carnot is a good option. Most restaurants close at least one day per week which is often Sunday or Monday. We would recommend making a reservation in good time.
Can I take my own wine to a restaurant and pay corkage?
As Burgundy is world renowned for its wines and Beaune being the wine capital of Burgundy, restaurants pride themselves on their extensive wine lists. It is therefore not generally acceptable to bring your own wine to a restaurant – only if you are very good friends with the owner and probably a Burgundy winemaker.