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Last updated: 22 July, 2023
Expert travel writer: Anna Brooke

The Loire Valley is a remarkable and vast wine region, including several wine regions situated along the Loire River.

It encompasses a mind-boggling 63 appellations (47 in the core Tours, Saumur, Anjou area) and more than 7,000 wine growers, producing all types of wine from sweet white Coteaux de Layon, dry white Savennières and sparkling Vouvray, to hearty red Borgueil, Saumur and Chinon. Loire wines tend to exhibit a characteristic fruitiness with fresh, crisp flavours.

Vineyards dominate the landscape, troglodyte wine cellars are dug into the soft tufa rock, and there are signposted routes and welcome signs to help you, making this a fascinating – and easy – wine region to explore.

Time it for the festivals

Vignes, Vins et Randos, on the first weekend in September, is a convivial way to discover vineyards on a weekend of walks in the company of winemakers and enthusiasts. Or time your visit for Vitiloire’, an annual wine fair in Tours, held at the start of June, that celebrates local wines.

Recommendations

5

Bouvet-Ladubay cellars

Saumur, Pays de la Loire, France

Close up of a rack of wine bottles in a cellar

These sculpted troglodyte caves offer an interesting blend of wine tasting, culture and history. The cellars here, open daily for tastings, are part of a historic 5-mile-long complex of underground galleries, which include an unusual ‘underground cathedral’.

Adult price: £5

Min age 18

Best for ages 18+

Duration: 2 hours

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Langlois-Chateau

Saumur, Pays de la Loire, France

modern wine factory with new large tanks for the fermentation

This winery and vineyard offers a complete immersion into the world of wine, starting with a short introduction to the principles of oenologie (wine-making), followed by a tour of the production facility, a visit to the cellars, and ending with a wine tasting.

Min age 18

Best for ages -218+

Duration: 1-2 hours

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Vignes, Vins et Randos

Centre-Val de Loire, France

Group of a young friends tasting grapes on the vineyard, having fun while hanging out together at the winery on a sunny morning

Usually held on the first weekend in September, this convivial weekend of walks allows you to discover vineyards in the company of winemakers and enthusiasts. At last count, there were 18 different walks on offer throughout the Loire Valley over the two days.

Best for ages 18+

Duration: One weekend

When: 1st weekend Sept

Frequency: annually

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Vitiloire

Tours, Centre-Val de Loire, France

Vitiloire

This annual wine fair in Tours, held at the start of June, celebrates local wines with wine workshops, music, fireworks and countless opportunities to taste and buy direct from producers.

Best for ages 18+

Duration: One weekend

When: Start of June

Frequency: annually

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More details >

Vouvray Wine Cooperative

Vouvray, Centre-Val de Loire, France

Wine merchant sign hanging from a lamp post

This wine appellation to the east of Tours offers guided tours of its ancient stone cellars, modern production unit, and small barrel-making museum – ending with tastings of its famed sparkling wines.

Best for ages 18+

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More details >

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 18
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

With countless individual producers and vineyards, organised wine tours and tastings are recommended to discover the best vineyards and actually meet winemakers. Otherwise, crisscrossing the valley are waymarked self-drive wine routes for tasting and/or buying as you go. This one is gorgeous because it takes you through the valley of chateaux as you taste red, whites and sparkling wines that rival champagne.

Or take the casual approach and simply drive along the River Loire; you’ll pass numerous wine producers and caves (cellars). Look for the sign Cave Touristique for those that welcome visitors.

When to do it

Vineyards are open all year round, but small vineyards often don’t welcome visitors at harvest time (generally late September-early October).

Who to go with: organised tours

5

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Morning - Loire Valley Wine Tour in Vouvray and Montlouis

Tours

Morning - Loire Valley Wine Tour in Vouvray and Montlouis
An excellent introduction tour to discover Loire Valley vineyard and his diversity with a passionate guide (wine professional for over 15 years) As a small group (maximum 8) live a true and complete experience: > A short stroll in the vineyard to understand "Terroir" and the vine-grower work > Two different cellar visits in a family own business and an other company > Two extensive tastings (minimum of ten wines in total) > Paired with local cheeses and other delicacies. > Transport in a comfy Mercedes minivan Adapted to every level of knowledge from beginners to expert : your professional guide will adapt to everyone

Price: €125

Min age: 3

Rating 4.99 / 5 [147 ratings]

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Picnic in the Vines - A Unique Loire Wine Experience

Chinon

Picnic in the Vines - A Unique Loire Wine Experience
Located 10 minutes from Chinon at our family-run château in the Loire Valley, enjoy a tour of our Cabernet Franc and Chenin blanc AOC CHINON vineyard, leading to a visit of the cellar, then a wine tasting in a historic tasting room. After which you will be escorted to your private picnic spot to enjoy a lovely lunch at a beautifully dressed table overlooking the vines with 1 bottle. In winter time, you will be seated in an vaulted indoor location with cozy candles and sheepskins to warm your chair. An unforgettable Loire Valley experience from an award-winning family-run winery. Please note that the tour and tasting can be combined with other groups. However the picnic portion is always in a private location for you and your group alone.

Price: €76

Min age: 0

Rating 4.82 / 5 [129 ratings]

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Tour of a Vineyard, Winery & Cellar with Wine Tasting in Vouvray, Loire Valley

Tours

Tour of a Vineyard, Winery & Cellar with Wine Tasting in Vouvray, Loire Valley
Discover the whole wine-making process, from grape to wine, with Myriam, the granddaughter and wife of winegrowers from the Vouvray vineyard in the Loire Valley. 3-hour tour including a guided walk in the vines, a tour of the winery and rock-hewn cellar, and a tasting of 6 Loire wines with local finger food. Discover the Vouvray wines and deepen your knowledge of Loire vineyard while enjoying a personalized attention from your local guide on this small-group tour limited to 12 people.

Price: €54

Min age: 18

Rating 5 / 5 [67 ratings]

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Loire Valley Half Day Wine Tour from Tours : Vouvray Wine Tasting

Tours

Loire Valley Half Day Wine Tour from Tours : Vouvray Wine Tasting
Explore the beautiful Loire Valley vineyards of the Vouvray Appellation. Visit one superb estate, meet the producer and learn how to taste these elegant wines from this well-known terroir of the Loire Valley area. Don't forget to enjoy stunning views on the Loire river !

Price: €99

Min age: 4

Rating 4.77 / 5 [48 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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English Speaking Loire Winery Tours originating from Chinon

Chinon

English Speaking Loire Winery Tours originating from Chinon
Let us take you to some of the best vineyards in the area - Chinon, Saumur, Bourgueil - and discover the amazing wines - whites, rosés, reds, and sparkling. Walk the vineyards, tour the caves, and taste wines (10+ wines) with the winemakers. Full-day tours include 3 wineries and a homemade picnic lunch served at a vineyard. The lunch or snacks can be added to a half-day tour (for an additional fee) to make a truly French experience. You'll have the opportunity to buy wines at each vineyard and we can arrange shipping services for the wine to be delivered to your home! NOTE: Pickup originating from a 10km radius of Chinon. If it's a one-person, private tour, there is a 60 euro surcharge. For pickup locations in Saumur, an additional fee will be added.

Price: €205

Min age: 18

Rating 5 / 5 [28 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

1

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Loire Valley

Loire Valley, France

Exterior of the front of the chateau, with a tree-lined driveway in foreground

Northern France’s beautiful UNESCO-listed valley, home to heart-stoppingly beautiful historic chateaux, authentic village life, world-class wines and fascinating troglodytes.

Round-ups

1

Round-ups that include this experience

13 Best wine regions

Multiple countries

A bucket full of grapes placed underneath a vineyard plant

The world’s greatest wine regions – where you can sip the world’s greatest wines at source, and tour the vineyards to learn how they’re made.