Driving yourself on vineyard visits in thhe Bordeaux winelands – don’t! France has clamped down drastically on drink driving, and you could find yourself the recipient of a thousand Euro or more fine. Visiting and not drinking rather defeats the purpose, so why not do it safely.
While the most compelling reason for going with a tour guide is that you don’t drink and drive, there are many other good reasons. The guide who usually costs little more than a taxi is knowledgeable and is likely to give you a much better experience and insight. You will also not waste valuable holiday time driving in confusing country roads that even have your GPS flummoxed.
Quality French Chateaux, unlike the new world producers, do not welcome impromptu visits, so you will usually have to settle for less interesting ones that may be limiting and rushed. A wine tour guide will usually have a range of bookings for the better ones, giving the opportunity for a more immersed Chateau experience. The guides know the chateaux personnel well and get quality visits and way more information than random arrivals even if pre booked.
Of course the best way to experience the Chateau is through sampling the wine, and best intentions aside, it’s easy to find yourself past your limits. As such, advice to do it yourself is downright dangerous, and worse a fatal accident could result, injury or a massive fine or even imprisonment are other possible consequences.
Generally the cost of wine tours is very reasonable, and offer both a responsible and more rewarding way to experience Bordeaux’s best producers. Check Bordeaux Wine tours on Trip Advisor for the best tours.
Don’t be “penny wise and pound foolish”, you are passionate about wine, so do it the right way. You wont be sorry.