Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find the most asked questions and our answers to these questions. Click on the blue questions to see the answer.

If you have any questions you cannot find here, please don’t hesitate to contact us! You can use the form on our contact page or send us an email. The mail details are also on the contact page.

  1. What is The Bordeaux Wine Experience?

    The Bordeaux Wine Experience specializes in luxury wine and culinary tours in the Bordeaux region for an English speaking international clientele, and is generally considered as the leading Bordeaux wine tour company. Activities in the Bordeaux region are based at Chateau Coulon Laurensac, just minutes from Bordeaux.

  2. Why choose The Bordeaux Wine Experience?

    The Bordeaux Wine Experience is the only company offering tours like these, which is run by real wine professionals who actually live in Bordeaux. With us you’ll tour with the Bordeaux specialists! You’ll get the personal touch: We love sharing Bordeaux with you: It’s not our job; it is our passion You’ll discover the good stuff, the best Grand Cru Chateaux, and have fun at the same time! Leave your tuxedo, suits and ties at home! A wine tour is a vacation and you are on vacation to have fun! And our wine tours are definitely not stuffy. You’ll be received like welcome friends We love what we do and it shows.

  3. Why is it important to select a local wine tour company?

    Local knowledge is exactly that: local. Some tour company’s operate from other country’s, like the USA or Great Britain. This means they are as much a visitor to the region as you are, with all the inconveniences and extra costs involved. And even if they do come to Bordeaux a few times a year, you can imagine that their contacts and their local knowledge by definition can not be at the same level as those of Bordeaux wine tour specialists who live in the region all year round. With The Bordeaux Wine Experience you tour with Ronald and Margaret and their team, all wine professionals who actually live in the Bordeaux region!

  4. Why select a specialized company for Bordeaux?

    Be careful, some companies try to tour everything. They tour Burgundy, Loire, Champagne, Rhone, Italy, Spain, etc., –and sometimes even Bordeaux.  With The Bordeaux Wine Experience you’ll travel with the Bordeaux specialists. We specialize in Bordeaux and tour only the Bordeaux region, because as wine professionals we believe you can’t be a specialist at everything! Doing one thing right, isn’t that what specializing means? Of course as wine professionals our personal knowledge and experience is broader than Bordeaux alone. We have specialized on Bordeaux but we taste wines from other regions in the world regularly and of course know a lot about them.

  5. Why are non-local companies so much more expensive?

    With a non-local company you are paying more, for two obvious reasons: Firstly, other companies, from the USA for instance, have to fly people in and need hotels for their staff, which you will pay for of course. Secondly, to impress you, they need to book expensive hotels with tennis courts, sauna’s and other facilities you are not going to use, because you will be touring the vineyards most of the time. The Bordeaux Wine Experience is local. We live in the Bordeaux region so there is no travel expenses or hotel accommodation needed for us. You will stay at our own Chateau Coulon Laurensac. This is one of the reasons our prices can be so competitive. Our chateau is just lovely and you’ll have all the comfort and luxury you can possibly need, but you won’t pay for facilities you are not going to use. We think you can better spend that part of your budget on wine…

  6. Are the Bordeaux Wine Experience Tours in English?

    Yes. All of our tours are designed for an international English-speaking clientele.

  7. Do I need to know a lot about wine to take one of your tours?

    Absolutely not! A wine tour is a vacation and you are on vacation to have fun. Ronald and his team will quickly have a feel for the way our guests are interested in wine and can explain things in a way that will be interesting for all “levels” in wine knowledge. Some of our guests are just discovering the basics of the wonderful word of wine where as others already have a more in depth wine knowledge. There is plenty of room for more advanced discussions for those who have more experience or a specialty interest. All guests share a common interest in travel, food and wine and enjoy the good things in life.

  8. Is the tour going to be fun?

    Well, that is the plan of course ;). With The Bordeaux Wine Experience you’ll taste, learn and enjoy in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Leave your tuxedo, suits and ties at home! A wine tour is a vacation and you are on vacation to have fun! With us you visit the good stuff, the best Grand Cru Chateaux. And our wine tours are definitely not stuffy. Some tour companies emphasize on prestige, gala dinners, superlative service and other pretentious and overpriced stuffy blah blah. Our mission on the other hand is to make this wonderful world of Bordeaux and its wines accessible to all levels of wine lovers. And we are a strong believers that a sense of humor keeps us all from taking everything too serious. Click here to see what other guest thought of their experience with us. You’ll see that we tour prestigious estates, not pretentious people.

  9. What can I expect from a wine chateau or winery visit?

    Bordeaux doesn’t offer open tasting rooms.  The most interesting wine chateaux won’t let you in unless you are an established wine professional. Don’t worry, we have the contacts and will get you in. With us you will be received in a very welcoming way. We usually get a personalized tour conducted by the cellar master, the winemaker, the chateau owner or sometimes a guide. Usually they will speak English, if they don’t, we will translate everything for you, including any questions you might have.  Normally, before we taste we will first visit the chateau’s winemaking facilities. Some chateaux have a tasting room at others you will taste in the cellar or in the chateau itself. The tastings vary from chateau to chateau and can be extensive with barrel samples or wines from older vintages.  Maybe you have been to wineries where you choose wines you want to taste from a list pay and then taste. You may have seen the wine busses in California loaded up with a bunch of people who know nothing of wine but simply want to “drink it up”. In France this is very different. Winery visits in Bordeaux are about tasting, not drinking, and are very different from visits in the U.S. and many other country’s.  Each visit has its own charm apart from the wine. Sometimes it will be the spectacular architecture of the chateau, next time it may be the gardens that leave an everlasting impression. Mouton Rothschild for instance has its own private museum, at Chateau Haut Brion you can see a cooper working.

  10. Which meals are included?

    On all Bordeaux Wine Experience week tours all meals and all drinks are included with the exception of one dinner on your free night in the city of Bordeaux.

  11. What kind of meals will we have on your wine tours?

    Our guests usually are delighted with the restaurants and meals we choose on our wine tours. Some will be at Michelin-starred restaurants; others at very fine, typically local establishments that offer finely prepared gourmet dishes; often local specialties. Lunches will be full meals, at least appetizer-main dish-dessert; dinners usually include more courses. Sometimes you’ll have a choice of dishes; other times, everyone will eat the same meal. In that case, Margaret will expertly have selected these dishes to ensure that everyone enjoys their meal. We’ll ask you beforehand about allergies and dislikes.

  12. What kind of wines are included in the meals?

    Well, Bordeaux wines of course…. But seriously, we will make a selection from the best premium wines from appelations such as Pauillac, Margaux, Saint Julien, St. Estèphe, Saint Emilion, Pomerol and Sauternes. Ronald will expertly match these premium wines with the different dishes selected by Margaret. Of course there is plenty of wine included at all meals. At least two different wines generally will accompany lunches. At the dinners it varies from a minimum of three different wines to six at the farewell dinner. You will taste many Classified Growths. Click here for the list of wines that were tasted at previous Bordeaux Wine Tours. You’ll agree that nobody will leave us thirsty; or hungry for that matter.

  13. Will we have enough time to enjoy these incredible meals?

    Yes, of course. The French take food and wine very serious. That’s why in France the evening meal in a restaurant usually takes up the entire evening. No three seatings in French restaurants. The advantage is of course that you can take the time to enjoy the delicious food and wine pairings. The dining experience will start later than you might be used to. Restaurants usually start serving at eight in de evening.  Sometimes guests at first are amazed that waiters in restaurants don’t clear the dishes away as soon as they have eaten their food. In France this is considered impolite and the waiting staff will wait until everybody at the table has finished their course. Then they will usually wait a while before they bring in the next dish. Don’t be surprised to spend a few hours at dinner.

  14. Won't I gain weight eating all those delicious meals?

    Yes, very likely…, but for some reason French women don’t get fat…

  15. Can you have people with special dietary restrictions?

    Yes that’s no problem. We’ll  ask you beforehand about allergies and dislikes. Menu planning is important, complex and arranged well in advance to feature local specialties and to complement the wines. If we are advised on the booking form we can make arrangements for dietary requirements and serious dislikes. We’ve had people that were vegetarian or on a gluten free diet for instance.  So if you have dietary restrictions, dishes you can’t eat or really hate, please let us know in advance. Usually we can accommodate most restrictions. Don’t worry; no one ever leaves our tours feeling hungry; or thirsty for that matter.

  16. What kind of physical shape do I need to be in to enjoy a wine tour?

    Naturally we’ll drop you off as close to the chateaux as possible but there is of course some walking involved. To visit cellars you obviously have to be able to climb stairs and walk around at the wineries, although the distances usually aren’t very far. Often there is no place to sit during the tastings. If you need a hand, we are always more than willing to help you.

  17. What kind of people take your tours and what age groups can I expect?

    That’s one of the most interesting parts of our profession. We receive and get to meet guests from all over the world and of all ages. We have received people from the world of finance, education and the medical professions. We have had guests who were CEO’s, real estate agents, airplane pilots and entrepreneurs, both active and retired. The age of The Bordeaux Wine Experience travellers generally ranges from early to mid-30’s up to mid-60’s. Until now we have had people in an age range from 23 to 88 years. All have a common interest in travel, food and wine.

  18. How many people will there be in a group?

    We want to keep things personal and aim for the highest level of service and quality. That’s why we only organize tours for small groups, limited to six double/twin rooms and one single

  19. What is the minimum number of guest for a tour? What is the risk for a cancellation due to low bookings?

    Our tours usually sell out soon and we haven’t canceled a tour yet due to low bookings

  20. What kind of accommodation will we be staying at?

    During your tour with The Bordeaux Wine Experience you you’ll stay at the beautiful accommodation of Château Coulon Laurensac located just ten minutes from the city of Bordeaux. Guests will stay not in hotels but at this privately owned Chateau. This is one of the reasons our prices can be so competitive. For more information and pictures please click here.

  21. What kind of amenities can I expect at your Chateau?

    All suites are spacious and have king size beds (double or twin) and include private, en suite bathrooms with baths or showers and toilets. Your bed will be made with duvets and crisp well-ironed 100% Egyptian cotton sheets. In your bathroom you will find a hair dryer and nice fluffy towels that will be changed daily on request. Housekeeping will clean your room on a daily basis. Each suite has a fridge, tea and coffee facilities, complementary WIFI Internet access and of course a TV with satellite reception. All (bed)rooms have air-conditioning. Complimentary beverages and snack items are replenished daily. All rooms provide comfort, lovely views and private entrances. Of course they all have their own terraces with garden furniture. There is a central laundry room with a washing machine and a tumble-dryer you can use at no extra charge. For your health and enjoyment, Chateau Coulon Laurensac is a NON SMOKING property.  Click here to read more and see pictures of the rooms at the Chateau.

  22. Will we be changing accommodations on the tour?

    No! There will be no hotel-hopping on our tours. Chateau Coulon Laurensac, where you will be staying, is centrally located for visiting the Bordeaux vineyards. You will stay here from the first wine tasting until the farewell dinner and the final breakfast.

  23. What is double occupancy?

    Two people sharing a room. We mention “couples”, but we offer some twin-bedded rooms at the chateau where we had the pleasure of receiving a number of father/son, mother/daughter, brothers, sisters or just friends sharing a room. Gay and lesbian travelers are of course more than welcome on our wine tours.  We have one single room available (without single supplement!).

  24. What is the single rate? Do you have single rooms available?

    At the Chateau there is just one single room without single supplement of course. Chateau Coulon Laurensac is a relative small property with just 7 guest rooms.  Single travelers fit in very well in the intimate atmosphere of our small group tours. Please click here for a short video about single travelers with The Bordeaux Wine Experience. We do have twin rooms. We never match up’ single travellers; if the single room is no longer available and you are traveling on your own, you could team up with a friend and take a twin room together.

  25. What kind of transportation do you use on your tours?

    We use very comfortable air-conditioned vehicles well adapted to the size of the group, of course these vehicles are loaded with ice-cold bottled water. Along the way, your tour leaders Ronald and his team will offer intriguing insights about the sights we see over the on-board PA system.

  26. Where do your tours start and end? How do I get there?

    All our tours start and end at Chateau Coulon Laurensac just 5 km (3 miles) from down town Bordeaux. The Chateau is conveniently situated at 20 minutes from the airport Bordeaux Mérignac and 10 minutes from the Gare St. Jean train station. At the train station or at the Bordeaux airport you can easily get a taxi. A short ride will bring you to Chateau Coulon Laurensac.

  27. Where and when will the tour begin?

    The Bordeaux Wine Experience tours always start with a check-in in the afternoon at our chateau so you have some time to settle in before your first tasting experience that evening. We usually start the program around 4 pm. No hidden costs of an extra night here. Our tour price also includes all taxes, tips and gratuities. Tipping is neither required nor expected. We hate hidden costs just as much as you do.

  28. What kind of clothes are suitable for your Bordeaux tours?

    Leave your tuxedo, suits and ties at home! You’re on vacation to have fun! Dress code in France is a combination of “casual and smart”. For your day trips to the Bordeaux vineyards, we advise you to bring some skirts and/or pants with tops/light blouses. Men can wear pants with a (polo) shirt.  We wouldn’t recommend t-shirts, sweats, shorts or torn jeans. Nice jeans are OK. The weather in summer usually is nice but a light sweater is a good idea to pack. Evenings can be cooler and the cellars we’ll be visiting are usually around 60 Fahrenheit, so better bring a sweater. Also pack a coat for the occasional shower. For your day trips you’ll need comfortable shoes. The cellar floors can be slippery, so you better avoid high heels.  You can also bring swimwear because we have a lovely swimming pool at Château Coulon Laurensac. The restaurants we will visit vary from casual to modern and more elegant. Men won’t need a jacket for the restaurants we select. You could wear one if you like; however French men don’t wear ties very often, especially in summer. Women could wear dress pants or a skirt with a top or a dress.

  29. What should I bring with me on my trip?

    Bring a copy of your passport’s first page, copies of all your credit card numbers and the phone numbers to call in case you have to report a lost credit card. Keep these in a separate location from your wallet or purse. It’s also a good idea to leave copies of all these numbers with a friend or relative back home. Should you lose your passport or credit cards, having this information will be invaluable. Bring comfortable shoes. Bring two sets of all prescription medicines that you must take and pack them in different locations in case one bag gets lost. Also bring a copy of your written prescriptions, including those for eyeglasses and contacts. Electric current in Europe is 220-240 volt/50 cycles in Europe and 120/110 volt and 60 cycles in North America. Make sure your personal appliances like hair-dryer, electric razor, computer power supply, etc., are multi-voltage compatible or bring a small converter. Bring a small carry-on with an extra set of clothes. Should the worst happen and your bag is lost, you will have a change of clothes until your bag catches up with you. If you must take daily medication, bring a two-day supply with you in the carry-on. You will also want your camera and extra memory cards. Bringing a spare battery for your camera is also a good idea.

  30. What should I prepare for when traveling to France?

    Many things are different in France. That’s of course part of the thrill of traveling abroad.  The French organizational skills are at a different level than their cooking and wine making skills. Although we meticulously prepare every step of our tours, we at times have to improvise which means we sometimes all have to adapt to a new reality. If you have read any of Peter Mayle’s books on living in France, you know what we mean. Functioning in France means we all have to be a little flexible at times. If you’ll come to France with an open mind, a little flexibility and a mild sense of humor, I am sure you will love this French experience as much as we do.

  31. Can I buy wine during the tours? How can we ship it home?

    Of course you can, although you must realize that only a few of the Classified Growth Chateaux sell wine directly. Even if they do, however, the choice of vintages is often limited. We’ll take you to Ronald’s favorite wine shop that has an excellent collection and they ship all over the world. There are other merchants in Bordeaux or Saint Emilion who can ship for you and, of course you can always bring some wine home with you on the plane. Sometimes you might be required to pay some duty on these. As the duty is based on the alcohol content, it is usual only worth your while bringing home some of the better wines.

  32. Do you, The Bordeaux Wine Experience, sell any wine?

    No we don’t. Many of our guests ask us to sell wine to them because of our contacts in Bordeaux. We have chosen not to sell wine because we want to remain independent and objective. If you sell a certain wine you might be tempted to include this chateau in tours or serve these wines at dinners. We want to be able to give our honest opinion on wines and choose chateaux for visits that we think are worth the detour without being commercially involved.

  33. Do you organize wine tours to other wine growing areas than Bordeaux?

    No, we don’t. We specialize on wine tours in the Bordeaux region. We believe you can’t be a specialist on everything.

  34. How do I book one of your tours?

    Just contact us through our contact page and we will send you the reservation forms plus all information on how to proceed further.  Reservations will be accepted on a first come first serve basis (based on the date of receipt of down payment) and are subject to availability. Please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail us about any tour that you are interested in and to check if there are places available.

  35. How far in advance do I need to book my tour?

    Reservations will be accepted on a first come first serve basis (based on the date of receipt of down payment) and are subject to availability. The farther in advance that you book, the greater availability of dates or room preferences you’ll find. Due to the exclusive nature of these tours, the program will sell out, so avoid disappointments and book now.

  36. Can I make a last minute booking for one of your tours?

    Yes you can. Though many people book well in advance, we sometimes have last minute spots available. So it is always worth contacting us as we may have availability. However to be fair to everyone there are no last minute discounts.

  37. Are all taxes and service charges included in the tour price?

    Our quoted tour prices include all taxes, tips and gratuities. Tipping is neither required nor expected. There are NO HIDDEN COSTS like service charges, local taxes or other charges.

  38. How much spending money should I bring?

    We take care of everything, really everything
    Once your Bordeaux Wine Tour begins you can relax knowing that you’ll only need to open your wallet when you go off exploring on your own, have one meal on your own on your free night in Bordeaux or when you decide to buy souvenirs or wine to ship home. The tour rate covers everything during your experience with us: guides, accommodations, all meals but one, all wines, excursions, all entrance fees, tasting fees, tips, taxes and gratuities. Tipping is neither required nor expected.

  39. What about airfare, train tickets etc.?

    Round-trip airfare from your home to the point of departure is not included in our tour packages. Many of our clients use frequent flyer miles or make pre- and post-trip plans that they prefer to control themselves by booking their own air transportation. We do not arrange or reserve any travel (air, land or sea) to any destination. You will have to make all travel arrangements directly yourself. Please contact your local travel agent about airline tickets to Paris and from there to Bordeaux. If you ‘d like to spend a few days in Paris (and who wouldn’t), you can take the high-speed train in Paris and will be in Bordeaux (Gare St. Jean) in just over 2 hours. At the Gare Saint Jean train station or at the Bordeaux Mérignac airport you can easily get a taxi. A short ride will bring you to Chateau Coulon Laurensac.You can reserve you train tickets online.

  40. What do you recommend for accessing money during a tour?

    The easiest (and cheapest) way to get money is by using your bank ATM card or credit card! Traveler’s checks are a nuisance in France.

  41. Do you recommend taking trip and cancellation insurance?

    Yes we do. We strongly recommend taking out travel insurance to cover any cancellations. There is always the risk that you’ll have to cancel so don’t take the risk and purchase it. Your local insurance company can provide you with an insurance against: trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency assistance and medical evacuation, accident and sickness, medical expense and baggage. We of course hope you won’t need it, but if you do, you will be glad you purchased it.

  42. Where are your activities based?

    The tour activities of The Bordeaux Wine Experience have their base at Chateau Coulon Laurensac in Latresne just outside the city of Bordeaux. No hotel hopping on our tours, you will stay in the same room during your entire tour. The location is ideal for visiting Bordeaux and its vineyards. Chateau Coulon Laurensac has a real country feel to it, but is very close to Bordeaux and the surrounding wine growing regions. The Chateau is our home and we live here all year round. Our administrative offices are in the Netherlands. Bookings will take place through these offices.

  43. What is your address?

    The Bordeaux Wine Experience is a Dutch company specializing in wine and culinary tours in the Bordeaux region for an English speaking international clientele. Bookings will take place through our administrative offices in the Netherlands: BXWINEX BV d/b/a The Bordeaux Wine Experience, Postbus 1855, 1200 BW HILVERSUM, The Netherlands. The wine tour activities in the Bordeaux region are based at: Chateau Coulon Laurensac (Click here and you can even see our pool!) 1, chemin de Meydieu, 33360 Latresne (BORDEAUX), France.

  44. Why are your administrative offices in the Netherlands?

    Although we have been living in France for more than 20 years, we are originally from the Netherlands. Cutting through the Dutch red tape was much easier (and cheaper) for us than doing it in France. (And we prefer the Dutch “Uncle Sam” to the French…)

  45. Brochures - Can you send me a brochure?

    No we can’t!  All information about our Bordeaux wine tours is on our site but you can ask us here for a detailed itinerary.

  46. I got an error using the site

    We strive to provide the best possible experience for our site visitors. However, technology isn’t perfect so we need your help in finding and correcting any technical problems. Should you encounter one, please send us an email. Please let us know: The kind of error you got (e.g., any words displayed in your browser to alert you to the error — you may be able to copy and paste these directly into your email); What you were doing when the error occurred and if the occurred when you were doing a search, please tell us what you typed into the search engine before the error occurred. Thank you for your cooperation.

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