Visitors to Provence are Welcomed to Wineries and Wine Tasting Centers, Châteaux and Art Shows
(New York, NY, July 13, 2015) – Wine tourism has been increasing steadily around the world, as travelers integrate their enjoyment of wines with the total vacation experience. In France, wine tourism is one of the country’s most dynamic industries, drawing 24 million people annually, according to French government statistics. Within the charming region of Provence, the many U.S. visitors to its wineries and wine tasting centers reflect an 11-year meteoric rise in popularity of the region’s iconic pink rosés.
As one of the first American tourists to Provence in 1787, President Thomas Jefferson – then American Minister to France – was seduced by Provence’s rosés that impart a unique vitality and art of living that feed the soul. Personal letters from his journey through the region that year describe his elation when reaching Aix-en-Provence, as he praised the sunshine, the wine and the agriculture, declaring: “What more can man ask of heaven?”
The same can be said of his compatriots today who are combining the pleasures of a vacation here with the enjoyment of its wines – particularly the area’s esteemed dry rosé wines that have been the focus of Provence’s winemaking for centuries and the gold standard for rosé worldwide.
Wine tourists to Provence are drawn to the region for many reasons – to enjoy nature and eco-tourism, for the enjoyment of a Provencal lifestyle focused on food and wine pairings, for the art and architecture prevalent at many of the wineries and throughout the area, and because the region is beautifully rural and romantic. Wine tourism in Provence is also a fun activity that can include wine festivals and events, tours of cellars and vineyards, while informing and educating enthusiasts about how the wines are produced.
Diverse Geography Offering Sightseeing…and Wine!
Within Provence’s diverse terrain stretching nearly 150 miles from coast to côtes, travelers are embraced by warm Provenςal hospitality, enlightened by Impressionist and classical art, and inspired by indoor and outdoor excitement. Located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Alps Mountains, Provence’s allure includes the beautiful French Riviera, fragrant lavender fields, historic hillside villages, and a landscape made famous by renowned artists like Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir and Van Gogh.
Wine Tasting Centers for Educating the Traveler’s Palate
As the birthplace of rosé wine and the largest rosé specialty region, Provence stands proud as the global leader in the research and development of rosé wines. Here, three specialty Tasting Centers – or Maison des Vins – will offer visitors seminars, tastings, wine shops and vineyard visits:
- Maison des Vins Côtes de Provence, in Les Arcs sur Argens (83460, Var) – www.caveaucp.com,
- Vinothèque Sainte Victoire, in Trets (13530, Bouches-du-Rhône) – www.vins-sainte-victoire.com/
- Maison des Vins Coteaux Varois en Provence, in La Celle (83170, Var) – www.coteaux-varois.com
Tasting and Touring Within the Appellations of Provence
Traveling throughout the Provence region, tourists can live the magnifique Provencal lifestyle while staying in chateaux, touring vineyards, tasting wines, taking cooking courses, admiring fine art, riding horses and playing golf.
Côtes de Provence
Charming rooms in the 17th-century castle of Château les Crostes in Lorgues can be rented with staff while enjoying wine tasting, cultural events and picnics in the vineyards. Thematic gastronomy holidays built around wines, truffles, chocolate, cheeses or olive oil are the specialty of several domaines, including Domaine du Clos d’Alari in Saint Antonin-du-Var (five rooms available in a country house), where dinner is taken around the table of host Nathalie Vancoillie; Château Rasque in Taradeau (four guest rooms available in the vineyard);Château de Berne in Lorgues, a 5-star Relais & Châteaux featuring 25 rooms; Château Sainte Roseline in Les Arcs (with a charming guesthouse, vineyard treasure hunts, buggy rides and art expositions) and where the 12th-century cloister displays beautiful half-gothic, half-Roman ribs, and is adorned with a Carignan vine nearly 140 years old. At Château de Bregancon in Bormes-Les-Mimosas, a permanent exhibition of painting and sculpture and vineyard and cave tours are complemented by cooking classes with a well-known local chef. Art lovers are drawn to Domaine de Saint Ser in Puyloubier which hosts annual art expositions from late-June to November, andMaison Fabre in Pierrefeu, where two family-owned cru classé chateaux contain two museum spaces – one dedicated to Queen Victoria, and another to a private collection of more than 2,000 santons (“little saints”) – small hand-painted terracotta nativity scene figurines uniquely produced in Provence.
Coteaux Varois en Provence
Sitting on 1,350 acres of forest surrounding its vineyards, Les Terres de Saint Hilaire in Ollieres features an equestrian center with horseback riding on a 40 km trail through vineyards, a forest golf course and botanical walks. Bring friends and family to the host house of eight bedrooms at Château de l’Escarelle. Carriage rides through the vineyards are offered, along with wine tastings, at Château Fontainebleau du Var in Le Val. Château de la Prégentière offers rooms that have been built out of the restored wine cellars, once used for wine storage and now converted into classic Provencal lodging. Lodging in an 18th century farmhouse is available among an oak grove and the vineyards at Château Trians as well.
Located just a stone’s throw north of Aix-en-Provence, Château la Coste gives a village feel embodying the rhythm of an eternal Provence. Between rows of vines are fragments of amphores used by the Romans to transport wine, and red varnished fragments of the cups from which they drank. Artists and architects from all over the world are invited here to create and examples of their work are on display. Open year round, the Jean Nouvel chai offers visits by reservation to receive an introduction to all the steps of winemaking (red, white, rosé) and learn how organic principles are implemented at Château La Coste. A visit to Château Calissanne is a celebration of wine, with full tours of the vineyard and tastings through the cellar offered Tuesday to Saturday by reservation only. The Chateau reveres not only the vine called Calissanne, but also the olive trees which are the hallmark of this vast property dotted with Mediterranean plants that provide natural shelter for wildlife like partridges and wild boar. Visitors seeking a typical Provencal holiday may rent the Domaine de Sulauze’s lovely cottage – Gite “La Vieille Ferme – a renovated 17th-century building now a comfortable cottage with bedrooms, living rooms, reading room, dining room, fully-equipped semi-professional kitchen, and swimming pool. Upon request, guests are offered introduction to wine tasting classes, visits to the brewery cellar, bread oven, garden and organic crops, as well as special walks, bike rides, guest meals, Wellness Massage and yoga classes.
To assist with trip planning to the wine region of Provence, visitors may consult the wine tourism section of the Wines of Provence website, http://
The Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP), known in the United States as the Provence Wine Council, is an organization representing more than 600 wine producers and 40 trade companies from the Provence region of France. Its mission is to promote and advance the wines of the region’s principal appellations: Côtes de Provence, Coteaux Varois en Provence, and Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence. The organization’s members together produce 96 percent of Provence’s Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) wines. More information can be found online at www.winesofprovence.com or on social media: