July 3, 2014

Pinot Noir grapes maturing on the vine

My family and I like to take every opportunity we can to travel together and explore the world, and one of the best ways to enjoy a new culture is by sampling the local food and wine. A day trip to a vineyard is a great way to learn more about the science of winemaking and the art of tasting, which you can use later to impress your friends, and it's also just a great excuse for a bit of indulgence and relaxation. Here are three gorgeous vineyards across Europe, which are great examples of some of the most famous wine regions, and really do make for a great day out.

Moët & Chandon, France

With its prime location along the Avenue de Champagne in the centre of Épernay, the famous house of Moët & Chandon is right in the heart of the Champagne region. Moët & Chandon boast the largest cellars in the whole region, which amount to about 28km, and they offer guided hour-long tours, with a tasting session at the end. The tours are open to all ages, but the tastings are strictly for over 18s only.

 Take a tour of the beautiful Moët & Chandon vineyard
Take a tour of the beautiful Moët & Chandon vineyard

There are plenty of other great Champagne houses located within the Épernay commune, and it is also just a short drive from the city of Reims, which is definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. To get to Épernay from our Calais terminal, simply follow the A26 as far as Reims, and then take the bypass and head along the D951, which should only take you a little over two and a half hours in total.

Weingut Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler, Germany

One of Germany's most renowned wine regions is the beautiful Mosel region, famous for its light and crisp Riesling, grown on the steep banks leading down to the Moselle River, after which the region is named. One of the finest vineyards in the Middle Mosel is Weingut Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler, which offers one of the highest-quality Rieslings in the area and a reasonably priced tasting tour.

 The Mosel wine region of Germany
The Mosel wine region of Germany

The drive from Calais to Mosel will take you about eight and a half hours, so you may want to plan a couple of breaks along the way. The quickest route will take you through Belgium, past Brussels, and onwards over the German border and past Cologne, either of which would provide a welcome rest to stretch your legs.

Weingut Donatsch Malans, Switzerland

The Weingut Donatsch Malans vineyard has been in the Donatsch family for five generations, over 100 years, so it's safe to say they have definitely learned a thing or two along the way. Their 4.5 hectare estate lies in the Malans region Switzerland, and provides the perfect conditions for a variety of grapes in the Pinot family, with a particular focus on the deep red Pinot Noir. They offer wine tastings in either their barrel cellar, or old vaults, which are not to be missed!

Malans is located on the eastern side of Switzerland, which means it will take you a little over eight and a half hours to get there. However, there are plenty of great rest stops en route, including the Reims in France and Zurich in Switzerland, where you will have no trouble finding something to do or somewhere to eat.

Getting there with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

Driving to Europe is made easy with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. It takes just 35 minutes to cross the Channel, and with services running 24 hours a day, up to four times and hour, you're guaranteed to find a time that suits you. Plus, with none of the baggage restrictions you face at the airport, you don't have to worry about bringing back a couple of bottles of wine as a souvenir from your trip to the vineyard!

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