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Reflecting On Our First Wine Tour to Avignon, France

Image of a Wine Tours by Design tour group smiling at the camera and holding up their wine glasses in Avignon, France.

At the beginning of May 2024, Wine Tous by Design visited Avignon, France for an unforgettable international wine tour. Our founder Orson Hall led the 8-day wine tour with Ted Field from Domaine Wine Distributors. It was a wonderful experience exploring the Côtes du Rhône with nine tour guests from Georgia and New York.

We experienced some of the most prestigious and fascinating wineries in the region and enjoyed wonderful culinary experiences. The sightseeing curiosities were also some of the best moments of the trip. Here’s a recap of our 8-day wine tour in Avignon:

Everything We Did on Our 8-Day Wine Tour in Avignon

Image of Wine Tours by Design founder, Orson Hall, and Domaine Wine Distributors founder, Ted Field, raising a glass in Avignon, France.

Day 1: We hit the ground running on our first full day. Our tour group took a fascinating tour of the ancient city, and we had lunch at a restaurant with a canal underneath it. After that, we had a captivating presentation and tasting of the wines of the region then capped it off with a dinner cruise on the Rhone River. Quite a first day!

Day 2: Our group visited the Grignan-Les Adhema region, the northernmost wine growing region in the Southern Rhone Valley. We met with one of Ted’s future wine producers, Domaine de Montine, established in 1987. They rolled out the red carpet for us. They gave us a tour of their impressive campus and treated us to a wonderful 4-course lunch, a wine tasting, and a class on making wine. We felt like royalty. Dinner was casual, with food and wine from the region in the hotel where our guests stayed.

Day 3: To start the day, we visited the Roman Aqueduct known as The Pont du Gard. It is an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge built in the first century AD, and it’s the tallest of all Roman aqueduct bridges. This aqueduct is one of France's most popular tourist attractions and has attracted the attention of a succession of literary and artistic visitors. Most of us climbed all the way to the top and it was tough. But it was an exhilarating experience!

We then had lunch at Les Terrasses Café on one of the most beautiful terraces in the South of France, in the shade of hundred-year-old plane trees with a cooling fog system and a breathtaking view of the Pont du Gard. A great experience for anyone who would like to visit Avignon.

Image of the Pont du Gard.

Day 4: This was a free day to see or do whatever our tour guests pleased. Most of our group took a day trip to Marseille and then had a surprise birthday party and dinner for one of our guests.

Day 5: We visited Domaine de La Verde in the Vacqueyras region. The region is known as the little brother to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, where the wine is nearly as prestigious. 97% of the wine produced here is red. These wines are known for their power rather than their elegance, and Syrah tends to make up more of the blend than in other Southern Rhone wines.

Nicolas, the owner and winemaker, has vineyards with Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Clairette, and Bourboulenc grapes. The wines are blended together with the aim of striking the perfect balance. He provided us with a wonderful tour of his property.

We went to the Côteaux & Fourchettes Restaurant for a wine and food pairing. Later that evening, we had dinner in Avignon at La Fourchette Restaurant and again were treated with red-carpet service. The food was delicious, and it was another memorable day in Avignon.

Image of a wine tour group standing in a cellar surrounded by wine barrels.

Day 6: On this day, we took a private bus to the Tavel/Lirac region. Another one of Ted’s wineries again that rolled out the red carpet for us. We visited Domaine Carabiniers Winery, and they took us on a tour of their Tavel and Lirac vineyards. After the tour, they held a cookout for us with beef, lamb, cheese, and a salad. We also had a vat tasting before they opened all their wine types for us to taste, and the wine didn’t stop pouring until the time we left. A great vineyard and winery presentation. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Day 7: We took a short break from tasting wine (or so we thought), and we took a cooking class with Chef Jonathan Chiri at Cuisine Centr'Halles. Johnathan is a native Californian who has worked in numerous well-known restaurants throughout America, Germany & France. The class was fun, and we made some wonderful dishes, of course under the guidance of the famous chef.

In the afternoon, we traveled to Domaine Saint Pierre D'escarvaillac, another one of Ted’s producers. Here we toured the property, tasted the wines, and ate dinner, which was cooked by the owner himself and his staff. Domaine Saint-Pierre d'Escarvaillac, a fourth-generation winery, is the only private winery in Avignon, located east of the city walls. We had a wonderful tour of the property, and we especially enjoyed seeing the 400-year-old vats they use for fermentation.

Image of a wine tour group in an industrial kitchen, watching a professional chef in Avignon, France.

Day 8: This was the last day of our Avignon wine tour. We traveled to the most renowned appellation of Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhone area. We began the day with a brief tour of Moulin Tacussel, then a visit to a tasting room before sitting down to a long lunch at Les C Bar à Vins & Tapas in the heart of downtown Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It was a stylish place, and our table was located over a glass floor where you could see the wine cellar below.

Our last stop in town was VinaDea House of Wine & Wine Education. It’s owned by a consortium of Chateauneuf du Pape winemakers, and we had a wonderful and impressive presentation on the different wines of the region by our hosts who were experts on the appellation. We had a tasting of 7 delicious wines. More than 250 different wines are offered for sale here.

We had our last dinner together at Le Gout du Jour Restaurant. The food presentation was magnificent, and Orson recalled the meal as the most refreshing and delightful of the tour.

Image of the storefront of VinaDea House of Wine & Wine Education in Avignon, France.

Wine Tours Make for Great Adventures

Our wine tour to Avignon, France was a trip that we will never forget. By jumping into this international adventure and making friends along the way, we discovered new joys to life accompanied by new wines that we can now call our favorites.

Are you interested in traveling to experience the world’s greatest wine regions? Though we occasionally travel internationally, Wine Tours by Design travels to fantastic wine regions in the U.S. year-round like various areas in Georgia, California, Oregon, and Washington. Contact us for more information on our wine tours and follow us on social media to stay up to date with future wine tours and wine event information!


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