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TRAVEL INTO THE WORLD’S WINERIES AND BEYOND (THE CELLAR DOOR)
Into the Vineyard is a travel company built around sending wine enthusiasts to all the major wine regions of the world... France, Italy, Spain, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, Napa Valley and many more. We call it “Wine Inspired Travel”.
It’s about getting our guests away from the bus-tour crowds and behind closed doors with our unparalleled access. Our wine trips are about the experience of meeting with the winemakers and creating genuine connections to a different way of life.
Wine is an important part, but certainly not the only part. Our knowledge of the wine regions stretches far beyond wine. We know there are attractions to visit, truffles to hunt, cooking lessons totake, biking routes to pedal and much much more… Although the regions are united through their wine production, they each have their own personality and we ensurethis personality shines through in each and every trip. We offer custom-made private trips, scheduled group trips and select supplier trips.
Can you explain how Into the Vineyard would be different from an average tour? Even those that are customizable?
What sets us apart is that we are offer custom designed private trips to all the major wine regions of the world, working with a much larger breadth of regions than many companies that may only represent one. We are able to offer truly unique wine experiences to our guests due to our strong supplier partnerships in these regions forged over years in the industry. We maintain these relationships by ensuring we travel there regularly. However, we continuously meet with new people and forge new relationships that allow us to offer unparalleled access to our guests. These are winemakers, private tour guides, sommeliers, chefs, hoteliers, restauranteurs and more.
We cater to a variety of wine level enthusiasm and want to create unique experiences that match peoples’ interests - from professional trade tastings to educational tastings. We want to ensure that our guests have fun and connect on a deeper level with the community of the regions they visit and depart for home feeling they truly had a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
HIGHLIGHT TOUR: THE EXCLUSIVE HOSPICES DE BEAUNE VENTE DES VINS
What are the Hospice de Beaune and the Vente des Vins?
One of the most famous and recognizable buildings in the world of wine is The Hospices de Beaune, or Hôtel-Dieu, It was founded on August 4, 1443, when Burgundy was ruled by Duke Philip the Good. When the Hundred Years’ War ended in 1435 the majority of the people of Beaune were destitute. Nicolas Rolin, the Duke's Chancellor, and his wife Guigone de Salins, reacted by deciding to create a hospital and refuge for the poor.The Hospices de Beaune received its first patient on January 1, 1452. Sick and disabled people, orphans, elderly and the destitute were all welcomed and have been offered refuge until today.
Hospice de Beaune, or Hôtel-Dieu
Hospices de Beaune & its wine
Over the centuriesgrateful families and generous benefactors made donations to the hospital consisting of property,works of art and, of course, vineyards. The Domaine des Hospices de Beaune now owns around 61 hectares (150 acres) of donated vineyard land, much of whichis classified Grand and Premier cru, in the Côte de Beaune, Côte de Nuits and Pouilly-Fuissé.
The ‘Vente des Vins,’ translated literally as ‘Sale of Wine,’ takes place annually on the third Sunday of November, when the vintages owned by theHospices de Beaune are offered at auction. According to Christie’s, which has run the charity auction since 2005, this is the world’s oldest charity wine auction, having taken place every year since 1851.The Vente des Vins is the highlight and at the centre of a three-day celebration that coincides with ‘Les TroisGlorieuses,’ the three great feasts that begin with a black tie dinner at Château de Clos de Vougeoton Saturday evening and end with La Paulée de Meursaultlunch on the Monday, which celebrates the end of the grape harvest in Burgundy.
Clos Blanc De Vougeot Castle, Burgundy, France.
Clos de Vougeot, also known as Clos Vougeot, is a wall-enclosed vineyard, a clos, in the Burgundy wine region, and an Appellation d'originecontrôlée (AOC) for red wine from this vineyard. Clos de Vougeot is the largest single vineyard in Côte de Nuits entitled to the grand cru designation, while Corton in Côte de Beaune is the largest grand cru in Burgundy as a whole.
The wine from the Hospices de Beaune used to be sold privately, but when more than 900 barrels were left unsold in 1849, the administration commission ordered the Hospice's bursar, Joseph Pétasse, to find buyers outside of France. Just a few years later, the auction was established after the successPétassehad in managing to sell all of the remaining stock.
Today, with bidding by professional and private buyers, the barrels of wine attain prices usually well in excess of the current commercial values, although the results give some indication of the trend in expected bulk wine prices for the vintage from the rest of the region. The auction is dominated by European buyers, who account for close to 90% of the value of the bids, but this is changing with the arrival of a significant number of Asian bidders, who in recent years,outspent those from the U.S. for the first time. Often part of the auction's enduring appeal is that the wine is an ideal gift for the corporate buyer. Because all the proceeds go to charity, it is definitely a more personal gift than just a normal case of wine.
The Hospices de Beaune is one of the best and oldest examples of not only historical and philanthropic heritage, but also wine-producing heritage, and with the Vente de Vins, it has become linked with the economic and cultural life of Burgundy.
Can you provide a day-to-day itinerary and specific details on the highlights, including some of the best vineyards?
DAY 1: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2012- ARRIVAL IN BURGUNDY
We meet at the Beaune train station then enjoy a beautiful drive through the Côte de Nuits and its renowned villages such as GevreyChambertin, Vougeot, VosneRomanée, and Nuits St Georges, before returning to Beaune: the wine capital of Burgundy. After lunch, we’ll check-in to the Hostellerie le Cedre – our ‘home’ for the remainder of the trip. After time to relax, we’ll rendezvous at the Hospices de Beaune for a private guided tour, including the incredible Salle des Povres (a medieval sick room), and the masterpiece polyptych painting by Roger van der Weyden. A tour of the Hospices would not be complete without a visit to their ancient winery, where their current winemaker will welcome us and explain the unusual winemaking situation and philosophy of the Hospices. Then of course, we will taste some of their wines. After the tour, dinner awaits in one of our favourite restaurants, in a beautiful vaulted cellar.
Hostellerie le Cedre
The Hostellerie le Cedre:
Ideally situated in the heart of Beaune, opposite the ramparts and 5 minutes walking distance from the Hospices de Beaune, Hostellerie Le Cedre**** is the ideal place to discover the area. Beautiful, shaded terraces in the heart of gardens full of 100-year old trees where you can enjoy the summer season and a comfortable lounge bar with a fireplace to warm yourself when winter has arrived.
The Hospices de Beaune, or Hôtel-Dieu.
DAY 2: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2012 - THE CHARDONNAY KINGDOM
This morning we take a short transfer, passing through the great red wine villages of Pommard and Volnay, before heading towards the great white wines of Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet. Puligny is our destination, where we’ll rendezvous with Mr. Olivier Leflaive for a “wine workshop” at his estate. We’ll enjoy a hands-on demonstration in the vineyard and visit the impressive winery. From there we’ll head back to his Table d’Hôte for a satisfying homemade regional lunch, and a continued tasting of up to 15 wines, from his superb Chablis, to some of his Grand Crus. Upon our return to Beaune another tasting awaits us with the young and talented winemaker Benjamin Leroux. Mr. Leroux has been the winemaker of the prestigious Domaine Comte Armand in Pommard for over ten years, and has started his own wine business as well. He is also our contact if there is interest in bidding on, and buying, some of the wines of the Hospices auction, reserved for wine brokers. Dinner this evening is in the Michelin-starred restaurant Le Benaton, steps from the hotel.
Vineyards of Cote de Beaune near Pommard, Burgundy, France.
DAY 3: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2012 - GRAND CRUS:
CORTON AND CORTON CHARLEMAGNE
This morning is the professional tasting of the wines to be auctioned on Sunday, and of course we will participate! It is quite a scene, with hundreds of wine experts milling about the hundreds of barrels available to taste. From there, we’ll drive to nearby Aloxe-Corton, at the base of the famous Corton hill for a great wine tasting lunch at Domaine Comte Senard. The Count himself will be honored to show us his 14th century cellars, and discuss his winemaking philosophy before our delicious lunch of regional specialties, with ten different wines to taste and compare, including five of his Grand Cru wines. After lunch, we’ll return to the hotel to relax and explore the cobblestoned streets and shops of Beaune. Dinner tonight is a treat: a tour of DomaineChampy, the oldest winery within the walls of Beaune, where we’ll have a winetasting dinner in their historic cellars!
Vineyards of Aloxe-Corton, Burgundy, France.
DAY 4: SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2012 - THE COTE DE NUITS AND ITS FAMED PINOT NOIRS
We transfer north of Beaune this morning into the Cote de Nuits, to drive along what is respectfully known as the “Champs Elysee” of Burgundy wines: the great Grand Crus of GevreyChambertin, the 15th century Cistercian Chateau de Clos de Vougeot, and the renowned vineyard of Romanee Conti, and its brothers and sisters: La Tache, Romanee St Vivant, Richebourg… We’ll stop at DomaineRion in VosneRomanee where we’ll taste some of his excellent wines, but beforehand we’ll head out into the field up in the Hautes Cotes to explore another prestigious regional product: black truffles. Whether or not our efforts are rewarded and we find any truffles, we’ll enjoy some at our special truffle menu lunch! After our day, we drive back in time to enjoy a bit of breathing time in Beaune, to explore its cobblestoned streets and charming boutiques. The town will be bustling with the special Vente des Vins market stands and specialties. We leave you on your own for dinner tonight – after all the great meals, you may just prefer to buy some snacks at some of the stands!
Gevrey-Chambertin Castle, Cote de Nuits, Burgundy, France.
DAY 5: SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2012 - THE HOSPICES DE BEAUNE WINE AUCTION
We’ll meet at the end of the morning for a final wine tasting at a winery in the heart of Beaune, just steps from our hotel. Afterwards, we’ll grab a light lunch before our rendezvous for the start of the Hospices wine auction at 2 pm. Stay and enjoy this exciting event at your leisure, but you’ll want to leave some time to relax and refresh before our final night highlight — a gala dinner at the 15th century Bastion of the Hospices de Beaune. This tower, in the medieval ramparts, is turned into an exclusive spectacular banquet room for the night!
The Vente des Vin in 2011.
The sale totalled €5,402,333 including premium.
618 barrels of red wine and 143 of white wine realized €5,289,973 euros including premium.
The President’s Barrel: €110,000.
DAY 6: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2012 - DEPARTURE
After a final breakfast and goodbyes, we’ll transfer to the train station in Beaune. Bon Voyage!
What makes this tour so exclusive?
This is such an exclusive trip for our clients as we hold only 12 seats for 2012, eight of which are left. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience for wine enthusiasts.
Our guests will experience a winetasting dinner in the historic cellars of the oldest negociant in Beaune. Here they will explore 14th century cellars, which monks built, and taste some of the wines that have been stored here. Then there is the hunt for truffles with trained dogs in the fields of Hautes-Côtes before a special pairing lunch focused on matching wines with the prized mushroom. The trip offers two separate wine tastings with Grand Cru winemakers, one of whom is a Count. With their exclusive access to the Vente Des Vins Wine Auction in the Hospice de Beaune, our guests will be able to attend the professional preview before the big event, which is not open to the public, where they will be able to taste as many as they wish of the 600 barrels of the soon-to-be-auctioned wines. They will then be able to participate in the world famous auction through our Grand Crus Winemaker proxy.
For more information on this and other tours, please visit the Into The Vineyard website