Spontaneously, I would say “The best time to book a visit of a French winery is now!” Especially if you have never experienced a wine tour 🙂 Realistically, it all depends on the type of holidays you are looking for.
The most important factor that makes the whole difference in the French vineyards is the season. Not only the scenery will drastically change, but also your experience during the winery tour and the wine tastings.
Mid-August to October is the busiest time of the year for a french winemaker. Harvesting is happening, followed by the wine production in the cellars. Autumn is when there is less chance for the winemaker or the owner him×herself to spend some time with you. Everyone is in full action! Don’t worry though, there should be someone to welcome you at least for a wine tasting. But it’s best you call in advance. Some wineries in France close their doors to the public for a few days.
On the vineyard side, it is my personal best time of the year. The orange yellowish colour the vine leaves offer is simply stunning! Make sure you have full batteries on your camera because you are about to take hundreds of pictures!
From November to March expect peace, bared vines, cold weather, and a much more intimate wine touring. It’s the low season. Wines are maturing in barrels or tanks and the vines are at rest. Meaning the winemakers have more time to have a chat about their winemaking process with you while enjoying a nice glass of wine. As for the vegetation, if you are lucky enough you will live through snow fall in the vineyard… and that is most definitely instagrammable!
An overlooked season by wine travellers. Things are still quite calm, weather is nice and relatively cool, winemakers will have some time to spare for a visit and a tasting. As for the vines, buds are coming out and the flowers are blooming. If you happen to be there during a night frost, I strongly encourage you to omit the tour and tasting part in smaller wineries. There is a big chance everyone was up all night to try and save the buds. But you should get in the vineyards at night or very early in the morning. Vineyards in France during a frost have several approaches that are a treat to the eye!
Most dynamic time of the year, and the most crowded for the wineries in France. Winemakers tend to organise events during the summer. The weather is hot and the sun is out until late. The landscape is full bloom with lush vineyards. Make sure to book a tour in advance as it gets full quickly, especially in bigger wineries. It’s not for no reason that it’s busy. Imagine yourself visiting a cool underground cellar while it’s hot outside, tasting wonderful wines in great company, and bringing a few bottles home to enjoy on the terrace before diner. Sounds terrible 😉 !
All in all, the best time to book a wine tour will depend on what you would like to experience. Take recommendations from your friends. If you have no one around who can give you tips, book with wine tourism experts such as My Winedays. Spare yourself the tiresome task of finding the right winery in France and calling them!! You’ll thank me later!!
À la votre!