The past few days have seen many dramatic photos of vineyards in France apparently on fire. After a warm spell which caused the leaf buds to open ('burst' as it is called) there followed a cold snap. Winemakers scrambled to get supplies of paraffin candles (sometimes called smudge candles) and hay bales to burn, hoping to raise the temperature in the vineyards by enough to save this year's vintage. In these modern times, the winemaker receives temperature readings on his or her mobile phone, and an alarm when the temperature goes below the danger point. It means a disturbed nights sleep, and cold dirty work in the early hours of the morning. And sadly, this year, it has been to little avail.
We hope that when you visit the Loire Valley you will support local small scale wine estates. These are usually family run, and you will probably never have heard of them. But they are making great small batch artisanal wines that reflect the long traditions of working with chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc, cot (malbec), gamay and cabernet franc in the Loire Valley.
The photo above was taken by our friend and colleague, Laetitia Rey [link]. She's an independent specialist wine tourism guide living in the heart of our favourite local appellation, Vouvray. If you would like a full day of wine tasting and winery visits, let us know and we will put you in touch with Laetitia. If you would like a more varied day of chateaux visits, a great lunch (with local wine) and a visit to a market, cheese producer or winery, contact us and we will design personalised tour for you with us.To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.