Wine and Viticulture

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2022 European Wine Tour

By WVIT Department Head Benoît Lecat

The physical European Wine Tour, scheduled for 2022  — providing travel restrictions are lifted  —  will provide access to more than 20 unforgettable experiences, including:

  1. Access to historical sites and ancient castles. 
  2. A night in a monastery.
  3. Tasting of local food such as Chavignol goat cheese or visiting Halles Paul Bocuse in Lyons.  
  4. Dining in amazing places like Saint-Emilion with a panoramic view on Château Cheval blanc and Château L’Evangile, or Châteauneuf-du-Pape on top of the village.
  5. Introduction to distillation in Calvados (apple-based brandy); Cognac, with a visit to the largest producer and a small producer; Armagnac, with a study of 50 years of aging, with tasting.
  6. Visiting an oak forest in the Loire Valley and a cooperage in Cognac. 
  7. Visiting the largest cork producer in the world (Amorim Cork) and a smaller producer.
  8. In depth study of varieties:
  • Melon de Bourgogne in Muscadet
  • Chenin blanc in Anjou
  • Cabernet franc in Chinon
  • Sauvignon blanc in Sancerre
  • Chardonnay in Chablis
  • Pinot noir in Irancy
  • Cabernet Sauvignon on the left bank of Bordeaux
  • Merlot and Cabernet franc on the right bank
  • Tannat in Madiran
  • Petit manseng and Gros Manseng in Jurançon
  • GSM blends in Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Syrah in Tain l’Hermitage
  1. Learning about Champagne styles (dosage and special cuvées).
  2. A one-day visit with a producer in Montlouis in the Loire Valley. 
  3. A walk in the steep vineyard of Tain l’Hermitage, and in the Douro vineyards and in the Grands Crus of Burgundy.
  4. Visiting iconic and inaccessible Bordeaux estates, such as Château L’Evangile in Pomerol, Château Cos d’Estournel in Saint-Estèphe, Château de Fargues in Sauternes, Château Mouton-Rothschild in Pauillac, Château Margaux in Margaux, or Vega Sicilia in Ribera del Duero.
  5. Visiting two large producers in Rioja (Marqués de Riscal and Viña Real).
  6. Introduction to different Spanish regions: Priorat, Penedes, Cava, Ribera del Duero and Rueda.
  7. Attending technical seminars and learning about production techniques for sparkling wine production.
  8. Comparing large-scale versus small-scale producers.
  9. Studying the chemistry of natural closure.
  10. Studying the supply chain in barrel production.
  11. Analyzing the complexity of soil (Chablis, Côte d’Or, etc).
  12. Exposure to marketing techniques in the wine industry.


FROM JUNE 14-JULY 5, 2022

Day 1: Calvados

Before starting the European Wine Tour, the students will visit Omaha Beach and honor the memory of American soldiers who died to liberate Europe.

  • Visit Landing Beach (Omaha Beach): Homage to the American soldiers who passed away in Normandy
  • Welcome dinner with introduction to cider and Calvados
  • Night in Nantes

Day 2: Muscadet, Anjou, Chinon

  • Muscadet: study of the Melon de Bourgogne variety on different soils
  • Anjou: Chenin blanc styles (dry, sweet (noble rot) and sparkling)
  • Chinon: Study of different blocks of Cabernet franc    
  • Night in Tours

Day 3: Montlouis

  • A day as an importer: learning to sell wines as a winegrower to distributors 
  • Dinner with a focus on library wines
  • Night in Tours

Day 4: Sancerre

In Chavignol, next to Sancerre, the students will study the complexity of Sauvignon blanc and Pinot noir with the support of the Bourgeois Family.

  • Visit Oak Forest
  • Sancerre: Study of Sauvignon blanc with a Bourgeois Négociant
  • Night in Sancerre

Day 5: Chablis

  • Study of Premiers Crus of Chablis
  • Irancy: the unknown Pinot noir 
  • Night in Auxerre

Day 6: Cognac

  • Cognac: Study of VS-VSOP-XO styles of Cognac at the largest négociant
  • Night in Cognac 

Day 7: Cognac

  • Visit of a cooperage
  • Typical lunch in Segonzac    
  • Cognac: Visit a small producer and study of aging process (Napoleon- XO- Extra XO and Hors d’âge)
  • Night in Bordeaux

Day 8: Bordeaux, Right Bank

  • Pomerol: Visit Château L’Evangile
  • Lunch at La Terrasse Rouge and visit La Dominique, Saint-Emilion 
  • Touring around St-Emilion
  • Night in Bordeaux

Day 9: Bordeaux, Left Bank

  • Margaux: Visit Château Margaux     
  • Saint-Estèphe: Visit Cos d’Estourrnel 
  • Pauillac: Visit Mouton-Rothschild
  • Night in Bordeaux

Day 10: Sauternes, Armagnac

In Fargues, next to Sauternes, the students will visit Château de Fargues, owned by internationally renowned Count Alexandre de Lur Saluces.

  • Sauternes: Visit Château de Fargues and study how to pair Sauternes with food 
  • Armagnac: Visit of a small producer and study  vintages 10 years to 50 years old
  • Night in Pau

Day 11: Madiran, Jurancon

  • Madiran: Study the Tannat grape variety
  • Jurançon: Study Petit manseng and Gros Manseng grape varieties    
  • Night in San Sebastian

Day 12: Rioja

  • Visit Marqués de Riscal and study of aging classification: Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva    
  • Visit Viña Real-CVNE and study local varieties: Viura, Graciano and Garnacha
  • Night in Valladolid

    Day 13: Douro Valley

    • Visit a small Quinta and learn about the different styles of fortified wines
    • Night in Vila Nova De Gaia (Porto)

    Day 14: Porto

    In Portugal, the students will visit the natural closure world leader, Amorim Cork. Many thanks to Antonio Amorim and his team for facilitating this visit.

    • Visit the largest natural closures company: Amorim Cork with a technical seminar 
    • Visit a Port house with a focus on techniques of production
    • Night in Vila Nova de Gaia

    Day 15: Porto, Ribera del Duero

    • Free morning in Porto
    • Night in Valbuena del Duero

    Day 16: Ribera del Duero

    In Ribera del Duero, the students will visit Vega Sicilia to talk about winemaking in the region and be exposed to Tokaji wines. Many thanks to Paul Woolls, proprietor of Progeny Winery, and Sean Capiaux, president/winemaker of O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery, for their hard work to set up this visit.

    • Visit of Vega Sicilia    
    • Meeting with students and faculty of the University of Tarragona    
    • Night in Tarragona

    Day 17: Priorat, Penedes, Cava

    In Priorat, the students will visit Perinet, sister company of San Luis Obispo-based winery Tolosa. Many thanks to Robin Baggett and June McIvor for their support and arranging this visit.

    • Priorat: Visit of San Luis Obispo Tolosa’s Sister Company “Perinet”: landscape reading 
    • Penedes: Visit of Maison Miguel Torres      
    • Cava: Visit of Freixenet and study of the sparkling production techniques    
    • Night in Barcelona

    Day 18: Barcelona, Avignon

    • Free morning in Barcelona
    • Night in Avignon

    Day 19: Rhone Valley

    • Visit a small producer in Châteauneuf-du-Pape 
    • Lunch in a typical restaurant
    • Tain L’Hermitage: visit a négociant 
    • Night in Lyon

    Day 20: Burgundy

    In Chambolle-Musigny, the students will visit the iconic Domaine Amiot-Servelle and study in depth the premier crus of Chambolle-Musigny — first in the vineyard and then in the winery!

    • Free morning in Lyon (visit of Halle Paul Bocuse)
    • Chambolle-Musigny: Visit a traditional vigneron: Domaine Amiot-Servelle    
    • Aloxe-Corton: Study of the appellation with Professor Chapuis
    • Night in Beaune

    Day 21: Champagne

    • Visit Moet & Chandon
    • Visit Maison Laurent Perrier
    • Farewell dinner
    • Night in Epernay

    Day 22: Paris

    • Departure for Paris Airport
    If you are interested in sponsoring the tour and/or funding scholarships for the students, please send an email to Benoît Lecat at or Allyson Dela Cruz at

    Visit Vines to Wines Fall 2020 to read more stories.

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