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The Vezelay wine festival offers and early new year chance to sample some great Burgundy wine

Enjoy the wine festivals of France

December 12, 2018

Wine tourism in France is huge and thousands of French wine enthusiasts visit our region of Burgundy every year to follow the many wine trails, meet the winemakers and taste the wine.

The Vezelay wine festival offers and early new year chance to sample some great Burgundy wine

The Vezelay wine festival offers and early new year chance to sample some great Burgundy wine © Heko Köster

Driving through vineyards and staying in winemaking villages is fun at any time because in years gone by, wine created great wealth so wine regions always offer abundant, historical architecture from chateaux to ancient abbeys as well as interesting countryside and of course, vineyards covering rolling hills. However, if you are a hard core wine enthusiast who wants to cut to the chase, there is a very quick way to get acquainted with any given wine in France and not many people know about it so we thought we’d share it with you. We are talking about the many wine festivals of France.

The concept is simple. All the wine makers of the appellation get together on one or two days and invite you to taste their wines. Typically there is no entry fee to access these events, you simply buy a glass for around €5 and visit each winemaker’s stall, trying their wines for free. As these festivals are a celebration of wine, they typically include all sorts of other gourmet tastings to enjoy and entertainment ranging from carnival processions to marching percussion bands.

The wine festivals of France are a great way to taste all the wines from a village in one place

The wine festivals of France are a great way to taste all the wines from a village in one place

These events may not be your first instinct to entertain children but being French (where families are always welcome), the wine festivals usually have activities for kids to enjoy from traditional games to face painting and we have even seen a mini petting zoo in the middle of one village!

A mother and her baby alpaca were the star attraction of the childrens zoo at the Tonnerre Wine Festival which takes place each Easter

A mother and her baby alpaca were the star attraction of the childrens zoo at the Tonnerre Wine Festival which takes place each Easter

The atmosphere is always great and the venues interesting (The Vouvray festival is in a vast troglodyte cave!) so there is no better, quicker or cheaper way to discover all the wines of a particular appellation and meet the people who make them.

Vezelay has a fun atmosphere and on our last visit we enjoyed  being serenaded whilst dining in Relais de Morvan Restaurant

Vezelay has a fun atmosphere and on our last visit we enjoyed being serenaded whilst dining in Relais de Morvan Restaurant

The main wine festival season is from Easter to October but there is a particularly good early event here in Burgundy this coming January. The Fete de St Vincent is held annually and moves to a different wine village each year. In 2019 it has the added bonus of being in one of “The Prettiest Villages in France”

We highly recommend a visit to Vezelay to anyone who comes to Burgundy and if you happen to be nearby in January, why not combine a trip to explore this beautiful, medieval village with a visit to one of the great wine festivals. There is a campsite and an “Aire de Service” in Vezelay so you have a choice of places to stay and you can find more information about the options plus heaps of useful tourist information here.

You can park at the aire de service in Vezelay overnight in a motorhome

You can park at the aire de service in Vezelay overnight in a motorhome

You can see the programme for the St Fete de St Vincent here (website in French).

To discover more Burgundy wine events and see the calendar of festivals, head to this site.

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