Visit Cognac vineyards and distilleries
The vast majority of distillers in the cognac region grow their own grapes. There are probably nearly a thousand of them; some of them sell their brandies under their own names and their reputation has developed over the time from their family skills. Of course many of them sell the main part of their Cognac to the big houses (brands), to blend them. Big brands have built their reputation of their art of blending Cognac from different "Crus" (growing areas) and from different ages to maintain a quality which does correspond to their signature.
Distillers all operate under the same strict rules. The wines have to be distilled twice in copper stills. Distillation starts late November and must be completed by 31st March the following year. The basic design of the alambic charentais is said to have been perfected by the Dutch in the early 17th century and it has not changed significantly since then. The basis of the operation is to gently heat the wine to a very high temperature, which makes it evaporate. The very essence of the wine is collected in the head of the still, escapes through a long pipe where it runs through a condenser and returns to a liquid. The first liquid is called "Brouillis" and is distilled a second time to obtain "The Heart", the substance which will become Cognac one day after ageing under french oak barrels for at least 2 years.
Almost 90% of the Cognac industry is dominated by four main producers : Hennessy, Martell, Rémy Martin and Courvoisier. Choosing to tour Cognac vineyards and distilleries with me won't be about the "Big Four" that you can reach without any help from me directly from their websites.
My position is to take you to small independent houses producing Cognacs that could meet your expectations in terms of taste and budget. Just let me know about what you are used to consume, what you would like to discover... and of course,
I would always be glad to help you to prepare an unforgettable Cognac tasting trip!
Rates start from 415€ for full day tours and 285€ for half day tours
Suggested pick-up : Bordeaux and urban area, Blaye, Cognac and area, Angoulême, Saintes...
Tours return to departure point