Category: French Wine Regions

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By Caro,

Chateau Feely Vineyard in France in Winter

Professional Organic Wine and Natural Wine Shows in France 2024

French Wine Adventures is based in and specialised in Wine Tours in South West France but our wine school also teaches guests and clients about wines of the world and wines of France. We love attending wine shows (Salons du Vin) to meet with old friends and new and to see what other winegrowers are doing (we offer wine tours and wine school here at French Wine Adventures, but we also have an organic vineyard Chateau Feely).

French Salons du Vin French Wine Fairs 2024 Heads Up

Late January to mid February is a time for professional wine fairs in France, particularly if you are interested in Organic Wine and Natural Wine. If you are studying wine via WSET or the Court of Sommeliers, visiting wine shows is a great way to expand your palate.

It can be cold but winter vines are beautiful and there are no summer crowds.

Chateau Feely Vineyard in France in Winter

At French Wine Adventures we focus on organic wine, biodynamic wine and sustainable travel so we recommend travel by train or car sharing to voyage between these shows; or get in touch, and we can custom create an itinerary and travel with you.


Millésime BIO, Montpellier

Millésime BIO The biggest organic wine fair in the world that has been running for more than 30 years. It is enormous with around 1500 participants from 20 countries with many participants from Languedoc Roussillon and Provence. We participated in this show for a couple of years. You can read about it in Caro Feely’s book Saving Our Skins which also charts the early days of our wine school and visits to the wine regions of Alsace, Burgundy and Napa Valley.

Full details here

When: 29-31 January (times are different each day see the site for specifics)

Where: Parc des Expositions de Montpellier, Route de la Foire, 34470 Pérols

A significant hive of ‘off’ salons that have developed around this fair. One of the most well-known is:

BioTop, near Montpellier

BioTop started in 2013. It offers a large selection of organic and biodynamic estates. They started small and have grown into a set of 6 salons across France.

When : 28-29 January 10am – 6pm

Where : Domaine des Grands Chais, route de Vauguières, 34130 Mauguio (This is about 10 minutes drive from the Millésime Bio site)

Book your place

For your free time between the end of Millesime Bio in Monpellier and the start of the Loire Valley shows visit Chateau Feely and Bordeaux for the weekend or book a Tour with us – we are about half-way between Montpellier and Saumur.


La Dive Bouteille, Saumur

This is a legendary natural fair with hundreds of participants from all over France and a smattering of international participants. You will find many wonderful natural wines and some funky natural wines. You can read about the early days of the Feely’s journey with natural wine in Caro’s third book Vineyard Confessions – Tales of Menopause, Love and Natural Wine.

When:4-5 February 10am – 6pm

Where: Caves Ackerman, 19 Rue Léopold Palustre, 49400 Saumur

More here

La Levée de la Loire, Angers

An organic fair started 7 years ago with participants from all over France.

When: 5-6 February 10am-6pm

Where: Parc des Expos, Route de Paris 49000 ANGERS

More here:

Within the Levée you will also find:

Salon des Vins Demeter, Angers

We participated in this show a few years ago, it has a good representation of the Loire Valley.

When: 5-6 February

Where: Parc des Expos, Route de Paris 49000 ANGERS

More here Demeter Fair Angers

Take a break for a couple of days before going to Paris for the next crush of pro wine salons.

Raw Wine Paris

Raw wine was started more than ten years ago by Isabelle Legeron, one of the early supporters (and perhaps also a creator of it in some ways, despite not making natural wine) of the natural wine movement. We attended two of the earliest editions when it was a London based natural wine fair. Now it is international with editions across the globe. You’ll find natural winemakers of all colours and sizes.

When: 11-12 February

Where: Espace Clacquesin, 18 avenue du Maréchal Leclerc, 92240 Malakoff

More here Raw Wine Paris

Also hosting wine fairs on these dates in Paris:

BioTop Paris

When: 11-12 February

Where: Newcap Event Center (Paris 15ème)

Salon des Vins Demeter Paris

This wine fair is also a special celebration of 100 years since the publication of the Agriculture Course by Steiner.

When: 11-12 February

Where: Newcap Event Center : 3 Quai de Grenelle 75015 Paris (métro: Bir-Hakeim)

I love their poster – I am a sucker for Paris imagery – I love scenes of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower.

More here Demeter Paris

Wine Paris (Vinexpo)

This is a massive fair that can be overwhelming. It has wine of all colours and styles and includes the very big volume players and negociant wines. That said, it wines from over 40 wine producing countries – if you are looking to expand your ‘global’ wine palate this would be a good one. I searched for an organic section but didn’t find it, so have sent a request to understand how easy it will be to navigate to certified organic stands.

When: 12-14 February

Where : Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, 1 Place de la Porte de Versailles, 75015 Paris

More here


Bordeaux En Primeurs

When : 22- 25 april

Where : all over Bordeaux

If you would like to attend an en Primeur event, get in touch for a wine tour in April.


French Wine Adventures is specialised in French Wine, Wine Education, Wine Tours in Bordeaux, Organic Wine and Sustainable Tourism.

Discover wine on one of our Multi day Wine ToursVineyard Walking tours or a Wine Course or get in touch for a custom wine tour, course or experience.


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By Caro,

What is a Grand Cru?

In each edition of the Wine Adventurer I will offer more info on French Wine. Join our newsletter below to receive these quarterly offerings:

A selection of Grand Crus of France from our Grand Cru Wine Class A grand cru is a regional wine classification designating a vineyard with a history and a reputation for producing great wines. It is the classification of a vineyard’s quality potential rather than the actual quality of individual wines. The grand cru concept has been applied differently across the four regions in France where we find grand crus namely Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace and Champagne.

Bordeaux is the most famous for the grand crus because of the well publicised classification of the left bank vineyards in 1855 as requested by Napoleon III. In Saint-Émilion, on the right bank of Bordeaux, grand crus were put in place 100 years later in a different format. Burgundy was probably the first to apply the concept of grand cru vineyards back in medieval times but it was only formalised there in 1861. Champagne and Alsace followed in 1950 and 1975 respectively. But the idea of grand crus is very ancient. There is proof that the Romans classified their best vineyards more than two millenia ago.

The St Emilion Classification court case

Since its creation in 1955 St Emilion’s Grand Cru Classés are revised every 10 years unlike most other classifications (e.g. Burgundy and Medoc) which do not change. For the first time in their history a group of winegrowers that had been downgraded fought the 2006 classification in court and had it annulled. Now those who were downgraded have been reinstated and those who were upgraded have been allowed to keep their status.

This court case made me consider whether there was something to be said for the method of classification which does not change… (like Medoc – one I had always considered unjust – how can a classification of 1855 stand unchanged today?). Seeing the St Emilion machinations I realise there are positives to this method and in the end the market decides. Look at Lynch Bages in Pauillac which is a 5th class but which achieves 2nd class prices.

So who are the recently upgraded chateaux to keep your eye out for? Chateau Bellefont-Belcier, Destieux, Fleur Cardinale, Grand Corbin, Grand Corbin Despagne and Monbousquet were upgraded from grand cru to grand cru classé and those promoted from grand cru classé to Premier Grand Cru Classé B are Pavie Maquin and Troplong Mondot.

Until this review Chateau Angelus was the only property to have been upgraded from grand cru classé to Premier Grand Cru Classé. They now have their eyes set on joining the A class ranks of Ausone and Cheval Blanc and the next review. (see below for more on Angelus).

You can find details of our St Emilion day tour at DAY TOURS

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By Sunny Kumar,

Spotlight on Chateau Angelus

Angelus offers classic clay & limestone vineyards at the foot of the hill of St Emilion (about 1 mile from the village). Planted to 47% cab franc, 50% merlot and 3% cab sauv, it has one of the St Emilion wines I have tasted. At €120 (2002) to €400 (2005) they’re closing in on Cheval Blanc’s prices. The high level of cabernet franc is like Cheval Blanc but they are in a very different part of St Emilion ‘terroir’ with clay, limestone and sand rather than the almost Pomerol gravels at Cheval Blanc.

Spotlight on Cadet Bon

Chateau Cadet Bon is one of my favourite Grand Cru Classés in St Emilion based on the core plateau (about 1 km from the village) and about 80% merlot and 20% cab franc. Key to their recent success has been new ownership (since 2004) and with it major investment and a new team with Antoine above as Wiinemaker and Stephane Deronencourt as consultant.

Spotlight on Fonplegade

Fonplegade grand cru classé Chateau Fonplegade is a great Grand Cru Classé in St Emilion on the south facing slopes with limestone and clay and a small part of sand at the bottom of their vineyards. It is like most St Emilion blends mostly merlot with some cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. They offer great wines and a historic property.

Our wine weekends include a day of touring grand cru classés and a day of wine education at our wine school with a good dose of FUN see Try our Perfect Wine Weekend

What is the french concept of ‘Terroir’?

”Terroir’ is not somone’s dog,’ Tim Mondavi. This humerous quote from Tim Mondavi is mentioned in the Mondavi book reviewed below. Tim says he realised that terroir wasn’t someone’s dog on a wine tasting trip with his Dad, Robert Mondavi, in Burgundy.

For us terroir is a ‘taste of place’. It is made up of four key factors that affect a wine’s character: soil (place); grape variety (vine); climate (including microclimates eg exposition/ slope/ proximity to a forest or mass of water); man (viticulture & winemaking). It is these factors other 3 factors that make up taste as much as the varietal that is often the focus in the new world. This is why a chardonnay grown in chablis will taste totally different to a chardonnay from a hot climate like languedoc. When you tour with me we discuss the different terroirs of Bordeaux and Bergerac and taste the difference while looking at the vineyards. This is the best way to see and remember how terroir affects taste. You can only create true ‘terroir’ wines with natural rather than chemical farming.