Embark on our 2018 Rhône Valley Study Trip with professional-level instruction on site coupled with a certificate program!
Rhône Wine Tours and Study Trip Highlights:
Traveling to the Rhone Valley is rather like touring two regions for the price of one! The narrow, cooler slopes of the Northern Rhone with its famous Hermitage and Côte Rôtie appellations produce some of the most sublime Syrah wines in the world, while the vaster and warmer Southern Rhone offers up the great Grenache blends of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine and other rich wine appellations.
- Discover this remarkable Rhone wine region with your instructor, Christophe Tassan, a Rhone native who has won the prestigious titles of “Best Sommelier of Southern France” and “MOF for Sommellerie”. (MOF stands for Meilleur Ouvrier de France and is awarded to the best professionals of a specific trade). Christophe has also been the wine director and sommelier at top US restaurants.
- Visit the most renowned estates of the Northern and Southern Rhone. Tour the stunning vineyard sites with winegrowers for a detailed and precise study of the unique terroirs of appellations such as Condrieu, Côte Rôtie, Hermitage or Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
- Meet the winemakers and enjoy extensive insider tastings of some of the best Rhone wines. Experience the depth and exceptional quality of these seductive yet not always well-known Syrah, Viognier or Grenache-based wines.
- Lunch and dine in the region's best restaurants and enjoy tasting Rhone wines in a gastronomic setting, perfectly paired with creative local cuisine.
Travel with fellow students who are serious about wine, either as wine professionals or committed wine amateurs. Share an educational and unforgettable experience while acquiring extensive first-hand knowledge of Rhone Valley wines. Trips are open to people from all countries, and are held in English.
- Born and raised in the Rhône
- Sommelier and wine program director at top restaurants
- Best Sommelier South of France in 1992 and Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2004
Erika Frey, FWS, CWE, Diploma WSET, Wine and Spirits Educator and Consultant
Blake E Cherrington, CWE, Principal Consultant at The Atlanta Wine Professor
Jerry Coughlan, FWS, Wine Enthusiast
Richard C. Peterson, Wine Enthusiast
Podcast with Christophe Tassan
Check out the exclusive wine tastings and prestigious Rhône valley producers from our past Rhône wine tours
SUNDAY, JUNE 17
- Participants arrive independently in Lyon at Hotel Mercure Lyon Centre Gare Part Dieu, ideally located next to the main Lyon train station in the center of Lyon.
- Take the evening to explore this beautiful city with our suggestions for great restaurants.
MONDAY, JUNE 18 - CÔTE RÔTIE, CONDRIEU | B,L
- On your way to the vineyards, Christophe will review the main features of the Northern Rhône wine region.
- Enjoy an extensive tasting and walk in the vineyards at Maison E. Guigal.
- Lunch in Condrieu at the elegant restaurant Beau Rivage overlooking the Rhône River.
- Taste at a top producer of Côte Rôtie like Domaine Ogier or Clusel-Roch.
- In Condrieu, visit a great winemaker like Yves Cuilleron, François Villard or Georges Vernay.
- Check into your 4-star hotel in the center of Valence, Hotel de France.
- The evening is yours to enjoy Valence and dine on your own, with our restaurant suggestions.
TUESDAY, JUNE 19 - HERMITAGE, CROZES HERMITAGE, ST. JOSEPH, CORNAS | B, L, D
- In Tain l’Hermitage, enjoy a comparative tasting of Northern Rhône wines at Maison Michel Chapoutier.
- Lunch is on your own in Tain, with our restaurant suggestions.
- Visit two top producers in Crozes Hermitage and Cornas, like Domaine Combier or Domaine Clape.
- Return to Valence for a gastronomic dinner at the lovely Michelin 1-star Restaurant Flaveurs.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20 - CAIRANNE, GIGONDAS, VACQUEYRAS | B, L
- Travel to the Southern Rhône Valley and visit famed cru Cairanne, at a great producer like Domaine Richaud or Domaine Oratoire St. Martin.
- Gourmet lunch at one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the area, Côteaux et Fourchettes.
- Move on to the cru villages of Gigondas and Vacqueyras, with tastings at top producers like Domaine de la Fourmone, Sang du Caillou or Chateau de Saint Cosme.
- Check in to 4-star Hotel Novotel Avignon Centre, well-located just opposite the ramparts of the walled historic district.
- Dinner on your own in Avignon, with our suggestions.
THURSDAY, JUNE 21 - TAVEL, LIRAC, COTE DU RHONE VILLAGES | B, L, D
- Explore the terroir and wines of the Right Bank in Tavel, Lirac and Côtes du Rhône Villages.
- Visits and tastings at great estates like Domaine de la Mordorée, Château d’Aqueria or Chateau Pelaquier.
- Enjoy a gastronomic lunch at beautiful Michelin 1-star countryside restaurant Entre Vigne et Garrigue.
- Your farewell dinner will be a special treat at one of Avignon’s top restaurants, La Mirande. You’ll dine in the private and intimate atmosphere of their 19th century kitchens, where you’ll meet and talk with the chef and then enjoy a special dinner matched with great wines of the region.
FRIDAY, JUNE 22 - CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE AND TAVEL | B, L
- Begin your exploration of Chateauneuf-du-Pape with a visit and tasting at a legendary estate like Chateau de Beaucastel or Vieux Télégraphe.
- Enjoy a special grouped tasting and luncheon with winemakers of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Tavel at restaurant Le Verger des Papes.
- See the remains of the Pope’s summer palace on the village’s highest hill and enjoy the amazing views over the vineyards.
- The afternoon holds another tasting at a great Chateauneuf-du-Pape producer like Le Clos du Caillou or Domaine Usseglio.
- Late afternoon, transfer to Avignon TGV station.
Legend for meals included in your tour: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
* Itinerary subject to change: every effort will be made to keep the itinerary as close as possible to what appears here; however, the final itinerary and estates/winemakers included may vary due to wine producer schedules, availability and factors beyond our control. The wine estates visited during this trip will all be of the highest quality.
Hotel rooms: we are staying in several small, charming hotels on this trip. As a result, the rooms will not all be exactly the same, and they may also be in different categories. We will assign hotel rooms in the order of sign-ups for the trip. All rooms will be very comfortable and have the same services (en-suite bathrooms, A/C, WiFi, etc.).
6 DAY, 5 NIGHT RHÔNE VALLEY IMMERSION STUDY TRIP INCLUDES :
- Instruction throughout by Rhône native and renowned sommelier Christophe Tassan.
- Services of a Tour Manager throughout, to provide customer service and logistics support
- The complete Rhône Master Level French Wine Society online course, including the written manual, online webinars and online exam
- Deluxe air-conditioned motor coach transportation throughout, with bottled water on-board
- 1 night at 4-Star Hotel Mercure Lyon Centre – Gare Part Dieu in Lyon, double occupancy
- 2 nights at 4-Star Hotel de France in Valence, double occupancy
- 2 nights at 4-Star Hotel Novotel Avignon Centre in Avignon, double occupancy
- 3 gourmet lunches with fine local wines, including one at a Michelin 1-star restaurant, expertly matched with top-quality wines of the region
- Special grouped tasting and gourmet lunch with winemakers of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Tavel
- 2 gastronomic dinners, including one at a Michelin 1-star restaurant, expertly matched with top-quality wines of the region
- 5 buffet breakfasts
- All professional-level tours and extensive tastings at top-quality wine producers
- All hotel and other taxes, and gratuities for included restaurants
Price per person, double occupancy: US$ 4,395.00
Enrolled Student Price per person, double occupancy: US $ 4,095.00
(Enrolled Student Price is for registrants already fully enrolled in the Rhône Master-Level program**)
Single Supplement: US$ 395.00
Deposit upon reservation: US$ 1000.00 per person, per trip
Get US$ 150 off each additional trip you take! After you have reserved your first study trip in 2016 you will receive a discount of US $150 for each additional study trip you take in the same calendar year. This discount will be deducted from the final balance payment for each additional study trip. You must pay for the first study trip in full to be eligible to receive the discount for additional study trips.
NOTE: There are a limited number of twin rooms available (2 single beds). Please let us know if you’d like to share a twin room with another participant to avoid the single supplement and pay the double occupancy price instead.
**The Enrolled Study Price applies to those currently studying in the Rhône Master-Level program or who have completed it. Full registration in the Rhône Master-Level program means students who have previously ordered the Rhône Master-Level study manual, exam registration and online study program.
***After you have reserved your first study trip in 2018 you will receive a discount of US $150 for each additional study trip you take in the same calendar year. This discount will be deducted from the final balance payment for each additional study trip. You must pay for the first study trip in full to be eligible to receive the discount for additional study trips.
Space is limited to 18 participants, so reserve your space today!
Taste at premium estates and meet iconic producers & famous winemakers**
Explore renowned Terroirs and Appellations
Enjoy memorable meals at Gastronomic restaurants
The Rhône is France’s second largest producer of AOC wines (after Bordeaux). Its viticultural history dates back to the Romans who sculpted its terraced topography and introduced the vine.
The river itself links to the Rhine, Seine and Loire through a network of canals and waterways effectively connecting the Mediterranean with the rest of northern Europe. As a principal trade route, this region has long been the cultural nexus between Burgundy and the colder climes to the north and Provence and the warmer regions to the south. Come feel the wind and sun!
In the Rhône, a continental climate meets up with a Mediterranean one and this collision of north and south finds manifest expression in the local food culture. Lyon is the culinary heart of France. Here the cuisine au beurre (butter) mixes with the cuisine à l’huile (olive oil). There are more Michelin-starred restaurants in this French city than in any other (outside of Paris)! Taste what people are talking about!
It is in the Rhône where east also meets west. The granite and schist of the Massif Central (west) collide with the sedimentary soils of the Alps and its foothills (east). Touch it!
The wines of this region are as powerful as the geology, topography and cultural history that has shaped it. The wines themselves are living legacies. There is no place like Rhône.
The following quiz is part of the WSG's French Wine Scholar study & certification program. Enjoy!
Chateaux visited on previous trips:
Rhône visits 2013/2015/2016:
We thank the following estates and individuals for having welcomed us and our students on passed study wine tours to Rhône.
Northern Rhône based:
Maison E. Guigal
Domaine Yves Cuilleron
Maison Jean-Luc Columbo
Domaine Georges Vernay
Domaine Alain Graillot
Maison Delas Frères
Maison Michel Chapoutier
Domaine les Hauts Chassis
Chateau de Beaucastel
Domaine Bosquet des Papes
Domaine de la Janasse
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe
Domaine Raymond Usseglio
Southern Rhône based:
Domaine La Croix de la Mûre
Chateau de Saint Cosme
Domaine de Cabasse
Domaine le Sang des Cailloux
Domaine de la Mordorée
Domaine de la Citadelle
Domaine de la Reméjeanne
Philippe Cambie (Œnologue)
Georges Truc (Geologue)
For more information: