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Wine-making Experience Day in Chinon

Last weekend, we gathered in the Loire Valley for a couple of Vinification Experience Days at Château de la Bonnelière. Following the days we had spent in the vineyard during last winter and spring, and then for the harvest in October, this third in the series of wine experience days, picks up where we left off at the harvest to give us an insight into the winemakers' work in the cellar up until the time when the wine is finally ready for bottling. The winemakers job is far from finished once the grapes have been picked!

Vineyard experience, red wine in France

During the morning, we participated in three different workshops. In the chai, Marc Plouzeau, the owner and winemaker at the winery, explained to us the work carried out during the fermentation period and at the start of the ageing process. All of the wines are vinified separately at the winery, and Marc enlightened us as to the differences in using vats or oak barrels to age the wine.

Wine gift packs in Loire Valley
The Vinification Experience Day is when we taste the most wine. Often, one of the most difficult things to do when tasting wines is find the words to describe them. To help us, we put our noses to the test to try and identify some of the aromas found in wine, either due to the grape varietals or by having been aged in oak barrels.
Wine tasting gift in Loire Valley

To put our new found skills to practice, we headed to the cellar where the wines are aged in barrels. The cellar is located directly underneath the Chinon fortress, and it's in this magical setting that we tasted four wines, led by Marc. Each wine was from the same grape varietal, from the same 2014 vintage and each still in the ageing process. One of the wines had been aged in a vat, another in an old oak barrel, another in new oak, and the last was a press wine. Four completely different wines in aroma and on the palate!

Wine making experience in France

Back at the château, we continued the tasting with a sparkling wine, a white wine and three Chinon red wines from the winery during lunch.

Personalised wine gift in Loire Valley

After lunch we took some fresh air and went out into the Clos de la Bonnelière, the vineyard where the vines adopted by the Gourmet Odyssey clients are to be found. After a few pictures, we headed back to the chai.

Rent a vine in Chinon, at Château de la Bonnelière

Marc showed us the machinery that is used to bottle and label the wines. An important point during this stage is the choice of cork. Marc talked about the different quality of corks available, and also explained the advantages and disadvantages of alternatives such as screw tops and plastic corks.

Personalised bottles of red wine in Chinon

And so a day full of information and tasting drew to a close. Huge thanks to Marc for having shared the day with us, and to all of the participants for their good cheer!


  • On the 7th February, my wife and I participated in the last of our "Gourmet Odyssey Experience" days. It was just as the two others, full of fascinating information about making wine, rich in personal contact, and all within a marvellous setting, and with nice weather each time. I thank the members of my family whi offered me this very original gift , and also I wanted to thank you and your team for your availability and your hospitality. A long and prosperous life to Gourmet Odyssey and each time that I'm able to, I won't hesitate to promote you.
    Best regards,

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The Gourmet Odyssey Wine Experience

Adopt a Vine in France and Follow the Making of Your Own Wine !

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