The region of Bourgogne, known as Burgundy in English, is a place of rich history, charming villages, and tasty French culinary delicacies. But most of all, Burgundy is appreciated by wine lovers around the world for the fine wines its vineyards produce.
This French region of wine production is relatively small compared to others around the country, stretching along a corridor in central-eastern France between the cities of Dijon and Mâcon, as well as around the city of Auxerre. The Sâone and Yonne Rivers, their tributaries, and many canals provide the water that the rich soil needs to grow excellent grapes. Centuries of tradition have perfected the cultivation and winemaking that follows.
While the small cities and picturesque villages that dot Burgundy’s countryside are enough to warrant a visit, the real draws to this region are wine tastings and tours. Even if you’re not a “wine person”, the history, heritage, and art behind its production are fascinating, and it’s fun to try real Burgundy wines right where they were made.
If you’re planning a Burgundy wine trip, we’re jealous. Be sure to make the most out of your trip by choosing at least one, if not several, wine tours in Burgundy. Take a look at our favorites below – happy wine tasting!
What to Know About the Burgundy Wine Region
Before embarking on a Burgundy wine tour, you might want to learn the basics of its history and qualities – although the passionate winemakers and cellar guides will surely teach you far more than we know! But a bit of background can help guide you to the right tour or tasting, too.
The region that is now Burgundy was once a vast sea, millions of years ago, until time changed the earth’s surface, leaving rich minerals and limestone rock among its soil from the decomposed and compressed carcasses of millions of prehistoric sea creatures. That’s what sets the region apart for its grape-growing capabilities. The Romans brought the plants over around the 1st Century, and the area’s quality products kept the Dukes and aristocrats very pleased.
Both red and white wine is produced here. The two prized varieties from Burgundy are Pinot Noir for reds and Chardonnay for whites, along with some smaller-scale production of Gamay and Sauvignon Blanc, for example. A special sparkling wine called Crémant de Bourgogne is also an important icon. There are four (or five) sub-regions that you’ll certainly hear reference to during your visit:
- Chablis or Côte d’Auxerre – Northwest of the rest of the region and around the cities of Auxerre and Chablis, the Yonne and Serein Rivers allow the soils here to make very good Chardonnay
- Côte d’Or – From Dijon to Beaune, especially well-regarded for Pinot Noir and often broken down into two additional regions:
- Côte des Nuits – The northern part, famous for full-bodied Pinot Noirs
- Côte de Beaune – The southern part, known for softer-flavored Pinot Noirs and some excellent Chardonnays
- Côte Chalonnaise – South of Beaune, these vineyards work with several types of grapes, making both reds and whites
- Mâconnais – The southernmost portion of the region, known for Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, and some Gamays
Burgundy is home to 33 vineyards that produce Grand Cru wines – a classification in France that is given to the best of the best. The region has a reputation for producing some very expensive wines, adding an element of prestige to visiting, but you’ll certainly find some budget-friendly bottles to enjoy with dinner, too.
The Best Wine Tours in Burgundy
Now that you know the lay of the land, use this list of the best wine tastings and tours to plan the perfect Burgundy escape. We’ve included both big names and hidden gems, many of which welcome visitors year-round.
1. Château de Pommard Estate Tour & Wine Tasting
One of the most famous wineries in Burgundy is the Château de Pommard, founded in 1726. Seven walled vineyards with different soil compositions have been meticulously maintained over the centuries and generations, accumulating the savoir-faire to make really good wine.
Sitting just minutes south of Beaune, this is a convenient winery to visit, too. The hour-long guided visit will take you around the property and reveal its interesting history, and your stop in the tasting room includes an expert instructor to help you maximize your enjoyment of four different glasses. A private tour is also available and includes six glasses.
Château de Pommard specializes in the famous Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from the region and produces several certified-organic wines as well. You’ll have the opportunity to purchase a bottle or two for the hotel directly from the producer before leaving.
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2. La Cave du Palais Burgundy Wine Tasting Experience in Dijon
If you’re just looking to taste wines in the city and don’t necessarily need to head out to the vineyards, La Cave du Palais is the experience for you. This tasting experience is located in the wine cellar of the Hôtel du Palais, right in the center of Dijon, which is also a great place to stay in the city.
You’ll head down to the traditional vault of the hotel in a group of a maximum of 8 people, keeping it casual with the expert guide. The tour includes six different wines to try, ranging from regional to that prestigious Grand Cru, while you listen to commentary and learn how to truly enjoy the experience. You’ll also learn why the year of production, climate, and even the direction that the vineyard’s slope faces matter.
This is an excellent addition to any wine trip based in Dijon, especially for groups of friends who want to indulge in the regional tastes as much as possible. It’s also a quick and easy add-on for those passing through the area, as the hotel is just a short walk from the Dijon train station.
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3. Route des Grands Crus Tour from Beaune
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Alsace Wine Route or the Chianti Classico in Italy – routes that reveal the best of a wine-producing region. Burgundy’s version is the Route des Grands Crus and is one of the most prestigious in the world.
A tour like this one of the route is one of the best ways to taste wine and see the best sights without having to plan and worry about transport. A knowledgeable guide will take you and a small group in an air-conditioned vehicle from Beaune to several wineries in the Côte de Beaune and Côte des Nuits regions, with 10 tastings along the way, plus cellar tours. There’s even a stop at a famous château that you’ll get to explore.
While it’s a long day at around 8 hours’ duration, a tour of this famous wine route is a must-do for true wine lovers who want to see the best of Burgundy. If you’re comfortable doing the research yourself and driving, renting a car is a great alternative, too. It’s best to stay in Beaune for this – there’s a great Ibis Styles hotel in the city center that won’t break the bank.
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4. Côte de Beaune Vineyards by Bicycle
Like the idea of being guided around the best wineries of the Côte de Beaune but need something more active? Set off through the countryside vineyards by bicycle on this guided tour from Beaune.
After departing Beaune, you’ll pedal by a centuries-old castle, admiring the history and heritage of Burgundy that remains strong today. You’ll then embark on a series of wine tastings, cellar tours, and spectacular scenery among a mix of big-name and boutique, family-run wineries. Your lunch stop is in the village of Puligny-Montrachet, home to the Montrachet vineyard, one of the most famous in the world.
After your day of pedaling and sipping, you won’t even need to worry about getting back – pickup from the Château de Pommard, your last stop, is included. The total trek is about 25 kilometers (15 miles), though, so participants on this tour should be moderately fit.
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5. Côte des Nuits Vineyards by Bicycle
You can also enjoy the northern portion of the Côte d’Or by bike on this wine tour from the Dijon area. At just three hours, this Burgundy vineyard tour is much shorter than the previous option and requires a lower level of physical fitness.
Beginning in Chênove, just south of Dijon, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Côte des Nuits vineyards while cruising down country roads and bike paths. Besides the lovely wines you’ll get to taste at stops along the way, the tour also includes a bit of snacking on local food specialties such as parsley ham and cheeses.
This tour covers a shorter distance than the one from Beaune and lasts about half the time, making it a great alternative for the less adventurous. However, it can also be a great addition to the very adventurous, who might like to do both! Note that this tour begins in a location that necessitates renting a car or taking a taxi.
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6. Cheese and Wine Pairing Workshop in Dijon
Have you ever wondered how they determine what wine goes with what cheese? Or are you skeptical that the combination even matters? There’s no better place to learn than Burgundy, the land of wines and cheeses, where a local guide will set up a cellar picnic workshop to show you.
You’ll meet close to the center of the city, making this Dijon wine and cheese workshop a great option for those who don’t want to venture too far away. A variety of bread and cheeses, most of which you’ve probably never heard of, but are a staple here, will be ready with some bottles of Burgundy reds and whites. You’ll sip and taste your way through an orientation of what pairs and why for about an hour.
Afterward, you’ll surely feel like an expert Burgundy sommelier and cheese connoisseur, eager to impress your friends back home and order obscure charcuteries for dinner later. Visitors who have tried this tour were also very happy to have an interesting chat with a local.
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7. Vosne-Romanée Tour & Tasting
If you’re looking for something exclusive and really special, it’s best to get out of the cities and enjoy the vineyards on a private tour – like in the small village of Vosne-Romanée, about halfway between Beaune and Dijon. This is a walking tour with a personal guide of the village’s most prestigious producers, lasting about two-and-a-half hours.
After meeting in the village center, you’ll set off to explore its iconic estates. There’s a high concentration of family wineries in Vosne-Romanée.
This includes the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, which is known for producing some of the most expensive Pinot Noirs in the world. Your guide will explain what is so special about it and then lead you up a trail and into the vineyards, admiring panoramic views of the countryside.
The last stop is at the Vosne Tasting Club, where five varieties of local wines are waiting to be enjoyed while your guide walks you through their flavors. Note that you’ll either need to drive or take a taxi to the village, as the train stations of its neighboring towns aren’t close enough to walk. Alternatively, you can stay a night or two in Le Richebourg Hôtel, Restaurant, & Spa for a luxurious escape to the countryside.
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8. Chablis & Northern Burgundy Guided Tour
Let’s not forget about the vast sub-region set apart from the others, Chablis, also known as Côte d’Auxerre. While a bit separated, the wine and scenery here are certainly just as spectacular, and you can see it on a full-day tour even if you aren’t staying in the area.
The tour can begin with pickup in Chablis, Auxerre, or even in some of the villages surrounding them. Your guide will take you to local wineries producing Chablis whites like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as reds from its famous Pinot Noir. The tastings include some organic wines and Premiers Crus of very high quality, as well as visits to their cellars.
There’s also a stop at a beautiful viewpoint over the fields, and on Sundays, you’ll also stop at a local street market. You can make this a day trip from another city by taking the train to and from Auxerre for the tour, or stay locally – there’s a great Best Western-affiliated property called Hôtel le Maxime in Auxerre.
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9. Dutch Barge River Cruise & Chablis Wine Tasting from Auxerre
There’s another fantastic way to see the Chablis portion of Burgundy – by boat on the Yonne! And not just any boat. This tour traverses the river between Auxerre and Migennes on an 80-ton Dutch barge that has just centimeters to spare on some turns.
Your tour may start from either terminus city, depending on the day, and includes a brief walking tour around that town before departure. Then, you’ll try glasses of Chablis whites, reds, and sparkling wines while snacking on regional treats during the cruise. There is even an option to get off and walk or cycle a portion of the route, but it’s fascinating to see the navigation of this iconic-looking boat through the narrow waterway.
In the end, you’ll get another walking tour of the destination town. Then, it’s a train back to your departure point or wherever you’re headed next.
10. Domaine de Montmain Cellar Tour & Wine Tasting
One of the interesting aspects of many wines is the prestige that comes with aging them. To learn more about this process and visit a winery known for its exceptional 30-year-old bottles, visit the Domaine de Montmain in the tiny village of Villars-Fontaine in the hills between Dijon and Beaune.
The tour of this winery includes descending into the underground cellars storing 600 oak barrels of wine as old as 30 years. You’ll learn all about long-keeping wines and what the process does, and have the chance to sample six different bottles ranging in age. Decide which age is your favorite, and take a bottle or two for your enjoyment back at your hotel!
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11. Maison Veuve Ambal Crémant de Bourgogne Cellar Tour & Wine Tasting
Don’t forget about the special bubbly version of wine produced in Burgundy – Crémant de Bourgogne. And don’t forget to call it sparkling wine, not champagne – because it’s not from Champagne! You can visit one of the most well-known producers of Crémant de Bourgogne, Veuve Ambal, right there on the outskirts of Beaune.
The two-hour visit and tasting is a unique one, as you’ll get an up-close look at the highly-automated, robotic bottling process at Veuve Ambal. It’s amazing to see age-old barrel-maturing processes happening alongside futuristic machines that conserve tradition. This winery makes it a point to show you how the process has evolved over the years.
Best of all, you’ll get to sample three different types of the final bubbly product at the end of your tour. Note that the winery is in an area that’s a bit too far to walk to from central Beaune, so plan to call a taxi or drive here.
See Related: Dom Pérignon Tour: History & Experience of the Champagne House
12. Maison Champy Cellar Tour & Wine Tasting
We discussed aged wine, but history buffs might like to discuss an aged winery – like the oldest in Burgundy, Maison Champy. Located in the heart of Beaune, it’s been in operation since 1720, counting over 300 years of winemaking expertise.
History buffs will be thrilled with the tour here, as its wine cellars are even older, dating back to the 15th century. Your guide will tell you all about the concept of a terroir – the combination of a vineyard plot, a grape variety, and winemaking know-how that contributes to an excellent bottle. This 90-minute tour finishes with a tasting of five different wines ranging in quality before you head out to explore more of Beaune and beyond.
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13. Full-Day Burgundy Winery Tour from Paris
Finally, it could be that you just don’t have the time to add a Burgundy extension to your France itinerary. But if you can manage to find a free day during your time in Paris, you can still take a Burgundy day trip that will have you back on the Champs-Elysées for dinner!
Your day starts near the Arc de Triomphe, where you’ll meet your guide and embark on the two-hour train ride to the Chablis area. You’ll taste a number of wines at your first winery and learn about Burgundy soil and farming before you enjoy lunch in town. Then, it’s two more wineries, including one that produces Crémant de Bourgogne.
You head back to Paris by train with a souvenir flute glass, too. At 12 hours, this is a long tour, but a great option for those who don’t want to spend more than a day in the Burgundy countryside.
Are there places for wine tasting in Burgundy, France?
There are a ton of Burgundy wine tasting tours that can guide you from start to finish with round-trip transportation, as well as shorter winery visits with tastings if you can get to the cellar yourself. You don’t even necessarily have to leave the city you’re staying in – Dijon and Beaune are home to several cellars with tours, too.
What is Burgundy known for?
Most visitors tour Burgundy for wine, and the varieties particularly famous here are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gamay. Burgundy wines are known around the world for being of very high quality, highly aromatic, and rather complex in flavor. Besides being a wine capital of France, the Dijon area is well-known for its mustard, and various cheeses and meats are produced around the region.
Where is the Burgundy wine region in France?
The wine region of Bourgogne runs from the area around Mâcon in the south to the area around Dijon just north, as well as the area around Auxerre a bit northwest of this corridor. The small city of Beaune is central within the region and a great place to base yourself to do some Burgundy wine tasting.
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