Bordeaux wine tours (but also much more)

Bordeaux is a prestigious port of call for both ocean and river ship itineraries. As your local French DMC partner we can help with any or all of your tour excursion needs upon arrival.

The information on this page focuses mainly on the winery shore excursion tours from Bordeaux, but remember, there are many other tour options that can be taken in this area. We specialize in helping you to have unique elements included in your tour, to help you differ from your competitors. We will not list all these here and they differ depending on how big the group is, how frequent the visits or which port you are docked at. With our knowledge, guides and local contacts we can ensure that your half day or full day excursion brings the best and most authentic visits possible to your travelers.


This has to be mentioned because time can be saved and disappointment avoided if this fact is accepted. Some wine estates (and not just the prestigious Grand Cru Classé chateaux) cannot – or do not want to – welcome large groups of tourists. Regardless if good money is offered for the privilege. It can be the same for many smaller, family run and more rustic wineries. Remember, their primary activity is producing the best wine in the world! That is where they make their money and that is where their reputation lies. The wine estates of the Bordeaux region are typically more welcoming of groups than many other areas of France but it is also very important that they retain their character and stay focused on their main activitiy. It's a thin line sometimes between ensuring facilities are there to cater for large groups but still retaining the authenticity of the winery with its traditional production techniques.

How do we get around that?

Here at The Real France, we have relationships with many local wineries (chateaux) on different ends of the scale and budget. These relationships help when it comes to accepting groups throughout the year (for that is another barrier often, with many wineries not willing to take groups during harvest time). Our guides work regularly with the wineries also and this allows a certain flexibility with regards to accessing some areas during busy times.

Splitting groups – different arrival times or different wineries:

We are experienced in staggering arrival times, so one coach could arrive and start with a visit in the vineyard itself, whereas the other coach group starts in the cellars. Other coaches can be doing the same to other similar wineries nearby, or could be doing a Bordeaux city tour first that we can organize to time perfectly with the alternating winery visits.

We understand that offering different wineries to some passengers is only an option if the general standard of visit is of a similar level. The benefit of using us to organize all your activities on this day is that we can keep the coach and tour guide for your group and manage the timing and budgets in the best possible way.

Including meals in the visits can also help. Not only can it add a really special memory for the traveler but it can also help to logistically manage the groups between morning and afternoon activities. We can either organize meals in the wineries or in local restaurants. The size of groups, time of year and budget can all influence what is possible.

Learning & Tasting: What’s typically included in a winery visit?

Some wine estates consist of sprawling acres of vines with a central chateaux building (where the owner may or may not live) along with the production & ageing facilities next to it. Other estates may have one of those elements in an area a little further down the road for example. This can depend on scale, terroir and the complicated regulations around geographical classifications. The below points are generally what can be expected during a typical winery shore excursion:

  • Introductions & presentation: An overview of the property, its history, the wines they produce, the “appellation” (what they are allowed to produce) and a description of its terroir.

  • A visit of the vines outside: This can depend on the proximity of the different areas but whenever possible this step is ideal to help show how the vines grow, their soil and how the wine grower must manage the growth. Booking Loire valley castle tickets in advance.

  • A visit of the production process: Walk amongst the vats (either rectangular or circular) made from concrete or stainless steel. Learn and see how the wine is brought in, fermented, pressed and stored.

  • A visit of the cellars: See how the wine is aged and learn about the different types of barrels.Booking you an expert English speaking guide for the day.

  • Tastings: Often the best part. Learn how to properly taste using the different senses. Taste several different varieties and hear how the experts describe each glass.

  • Other options: Sometimes it’s possible to see bottling, labelling & barrel making also. Some wineries can have a quirky sideline also whereby maybe the owner is also a vintage automobile collector or an artist with the possibility of seeing collections on site. Occasionally the owner may also have a sister property nearby that can be visited. Sometimes the home can be visited also depending on group size. Of course, there is always the option to purchase wines also if guests want.


Depending on which port the group will be docked at, different options will make more sense for both logistics and budgets.

The very largest ocean cruise liners will be docked at Verdun-sur-Mer. For these groups, a winery visit on the left bank (which include the majority of the most prestigious) makes the most logistical sense and can be combined with a visit before or after to the city of Bordeaux.

Bordeaux Cruise Terminal & Bordeaux River Cruise dock

Perfectly located for ease of access into Bordeaux city center and for also getting in and out of town. Passengers in ships docked can easily venture out on shore excursions to any of the Bordeaux wine areas on the left or right bank, including St Emilion. Our coach drivers and guides will help ensure all goes smoothly and that the timings are fully respected.

Libourne: Perfect for St Emilion visits or for half day trips up to Cognac or into the Dordogne area.

Blaye: Ideal for visiting smaller, more authentic family run wineries and visiting also the famous fort overlooking the estuary.

Pauillac: All the famous wineries on the left bank can easily be reached from here (Medoc & Margaux areas for example).

Cadillac: The sweet wines of the sauternes region are close by and the charming town of Cadillac with its castle is an enjoyable visit also. Water levels can often restrict access but any visits planned in this area can also be reached easily by coach from Bordeaux or Libourne.


  1. Send a brief email to letting us know your needs along with the expected group size and the dates and times for arrival and departures. Specify which port/s you need excursions arranged from and also the language you need the visits to be in.

  2. We will send you some ideas to think about with any quote possible.

  3. Upon confirmation, leave it in our hands to ensure the smooth operation of your excursion.