Three Specialty Tasting Centers Offer a Combination of Seminars, Tastings, Grape Conservatory, Shopping and Vineyard Tours
New York, NY – Nowhere are the dual passions of wine and travel so inextricably linked as in the exquisite French region of Provence, celebrated as the birthplace of rosé wine and the largest rosé specialty region in the world. Here, within Provence’s largest appellations are three significant Maisons des Vins –wine tasting centers representing the area’s different domaines and providing an introduction to their unique, individual characteristics. Each of the three Maisons is a gateway to an appellation offering visitors and locals alike the opportunity to taste not only the iconic rosés, but also the reds and whites produced in each distinct area.
As more Americans are drinking Provence rosés than ever before, there is increased interest in experiencing a “wine tourism” vacation that combines education with recreation. Provence’s three Maisons des Vins bring the region’s culture to life through offerings that include – depending on the particular wine center –a combination of educational seminars, wine tastings, wine shops, vineyard tours and grape conservatory.
Côtes de Provence Wine Center (Maison des Vins)
Located near the Argens River in Les Arcs sur Argens, midway between Aix-en-Provence and Nice in the heart of the Provence wine-growing terroir, this regional “house of wine” features a winery with 800 Côtes de Provence AOP wines sold at producer prices; free guided tasting sessions of 16 Côtes de Provence wines, rotating weekly; oenology classes; a shop selling regional produce and gifts; vineyard visits; reception areas for weddings, parties and business events; and a personalized welcome in six languages.
A gourmet Christmas Market will be held at the Maison des Vins all day on Saturday, December 5th from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy regional foods and wines including foie gras, marmalade, truffles, biscuits, artisanal beers, teas, saucisson, cheese, cookies, iced cider, and maple syrup. A Christmas selection of rosé and red wines, including sparkling wines will be presented along with pairing advice. A 10 percent discount on all 800 Côtes de Provence wines will be available. Also on-site will be a special food truck with homemade foods and dessert, as well as a children’s play area.
83460 Les Arcs sur Argens, France
Phone: +33 4 94 99 50 20
Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire Tasting Center (Vinothèque)
Located 20 minutes east of Aix-en-Provence, the Vinothèque Sainte-Victoire in Trets represents 22 member vineyards in nine villages at the foot of the mountains (throughout the Var and Bouches-du-Rhône regions). The mission of the Association des Vignerons de la Sainte-Victoire is to increase awareness and knowledge of the area’s terroir and its specific attributes. To encourage interest and knowledge, an Automobile Rally is held annually in October, in which participating drivers travel a prescribed route to the domaines and cellars of Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire. Along the way, winemakers bestow special welcomes and conduct workshops that include vineyard activities and winemaking, as well as introductions to wine tasting, food pairings, and wine history.
The Association promotes its local wines to visitors through various offerings that include a visitor’s center and wine tasting cellar open Tuesdays through Saturdays beginning at 10:00 AM; a wine shop selling Sainte-Victoire AOP wines; off-site tastings and free guided tours of vineyards and cellars on Saturday mornings (five-person minimum).
1 Boulevard Etienne Boyer BP n°25
13 530 Trets, France
Phone: +33 4 42 61 37 60
Coteaux Varois en Provence Wine Center (Maison des Vins)
This Maison des Vins is housed in the Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle, a 12th-century abbey that is now an Alain Ducasse-managed inn. Nestled adjacent to the Ducasse restaurant garden is a grape conservatory with 88 different varieties of vine, including the precious and rare varieties most important to the Provencal winemaking tradition, all grown and displayed in a French garden style. In summer, a music festival takes place on the grounds. The Maison des Vins offers a visitor center with wine tasting cellar for its collection of Coteaux Varois en Provence wines. Three hundred vineyards spread among 80 private cellars and 10 cooperatives are represented in the region.
83170 La Celle, France
Phone: +33 4 94 69 33 18
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://winesofprovence.com/site/tourism, and search by preferred type of tourism, winery and lodging options. Here travelers will find those estates whose wines are available in the U.S., enabling them to return home and re-live the memory of an experience-rich vacation.
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: