Sommelier India has long recommended wine travel as a fun and enjoyable activity to its readers through regular stories on the subject. Now we learn that, at Château Gruaud-Larose in Bordeaux, wine tourism has become something of a priority with the owners. Jean Merlaut, owner of Château Gruaud-Larose, is a great supporter of it. Pictured left: Château Gruaud-Larose Saint Julien
“Society is changing,” he says, “and travelling has become easier. More people feel the need to have their own experience, to see for themselves. I think there is a real demand for wine tourism.”
Wine tourism at Gruaud-Larose is headed by Maisa Mansion whose team members appreciate wine and are able to pass on their passion to their visitors while sharing the history and intimacy of Château Gruaud-Larose. Jean Merlaut recognises its value, saying, “This is a great opportunity for us to promote our château and to show the tremendous work we accomplish when producing our wines.”
In addition to wine tasting sessions, cooking classes and harvest workshops, the tours are adapted to the interests of the visitors and also include new and innovative programmes such as, “The Pearls of the Medoc”, “The Belle Époque”, “The Good Winemaker”, “The True Médoc-Style” … .
The estate’s “White Path” tour, initiated in 2010, is an award winning tour that shows the ecological and modern approach of this great vineyard. Priced at 15 euros per person, the tour takes two hours and winds up with a tasting of the Grand Vin and also the second wine, Sarget de Gruaud Larose.
Seminars, cocktail parties, lunches or dinners can also be organized by the Château. Group tours cost less. (See more details at http://www.gruaud-larose.com/timeless,034.html). The wine tours, which began in 2009, will attract more than 6,000 visitors in 2012. The visitor profile has become increasingly international, with almost two thirds coming from Asia and America.
The story of Château Gruaud Larose goes back to 1725 to L’Abbé Gruaud and the family of Joseph-Sébastien de Larose, his son-in-law and heir. In these 300 years, the château has produced some iconic wines characterised by finesse, when young and elegance, after a long ageing, but always with an underlying powerful structure.
According to the Château, “Every vintage reminds us that Gruaud is the soil, the tannins and the terroir; and Larose is poetry, aromas and bouquet.”