5 unique wine-themed experiences in Pays de la Loire
If you’re looking for a unique wine-themed experience, then we have just the thing for you! We’ve selected five authentic, sociable experiences where you’ll learn more about wine and make your time here in Pays de la Loire a time to remember.
Cycling through the vines
If exploring a new area at your own pace while sampling local delicacies sounds like your thing, then hop on a bike and discover the winemaking side of Atlantic Loire Valley.
Pedal your way through the vines around Nantes, as well as the Fiefs Vendéens, Anjou-Saumur and Loir Valley vineyards.
If white wine’s your thing, you’ll simply love the 16 km circular route through the Jasnières vineyards. The gentle trail takes you from Chartre-sur-le-Loir to Ruillé-sur-Loir, passing through picturesque villages and open countryside steeped in local know-how. And as you cycle along, you can stop off at wineries to talk to the people behind the wines you love.
There’s nothing better than chatting over a good glass of dry, fruity white wine!
Riding a Solex through the vines
Looking for a retro experience? Then what better way to explore the vines than on a Solex – the vintage electrically assisted two-wheeler that set the stage for modern-day e-bikes?
Catherine and Franck Gourdon run the Domaine de Pied Flond, a vineyard 30 km south of Angers. They’ve devised a great experience that combines wine, heritage and adventure!
With a helmet on your head, jump on your vintage moped and set off on an intrepid journey through the vines. The estate measures around 25 hectares and is divided into plots of Chenin, Cabernet, Gamay, Chardonnay and Grolleau grapes.
After a quick introduction to the Solex, you’ll jump aboard your trusty steed and spend an hour exploring the Martigné-Briand vineyard. Then it’s time for refreshments and a tasting session where you’ll sample the fruits of Franck’s labours, surrounded with good company. You’ll fall for the charms of this wineries, run with passion by the Gourdon family for seven generations.
There is one constraint to be able to participate in this experience: you must be of adult age and you must hold a driver’s licence (or have obtained your road safety certificate).
The owners also run a treasure hunt-style experience for bigger groups (more than 14 people).
Good to know: the owners have teamed up with local events agency Loire Secrets to offer team-building events in the great outdoors. The experience includes a morning of study or a walking trail, lunch, and a Solex ride around the vineyard, taking in the local heritage. A great way to switch off and unwind!
For more information, go to: riding a solex
A murder mystery party in a château at Cléray wineries
Do you like fine wine? Do you enjoy playing games? Are you looking for a unique activity for you and your friends? Then you’ll love this murder mystery party at Cléray wineries, just a 30 minute drive from Nantes.
The principle is like Cluedo: there’s a murder, a culprit, clues, characters and an enclosed space – all on a life-size scale. It all happens at nightfall, and is designed for between 12 and 17 guests.
Head to the Château du Cléray in Vallet and put your sleuthing skills to the test! Guilty or innocent? You’ll know your role in the mystery a few days beforehand, so you can slip into character. And once you arrive, you’ll be welcomed by the château’s wine merchant, who plays the role of game master. Enjoy a drink with the other guests to break the ice, then the mystery begins...
The clues are hidden away in the château’s rooms. It’s up to you to hunt them down, eliminate the suspects, find out who’s the culprit and unearth the motive! This enthralling experience is a chance to explore the château in a different light.
What’s more, buffet food and wine tastings are available throughout the experience to help keep your spirits up. And you’ll definitely be wanting to head to the shop and grab a few bottles to take home with you before you leave.
For more information, go to: murder party at Château du Cléray
A night in a barrel in Thouaré-sur-Loire
What better way to rest after a day spent exploring the vineyards and wine merchants of Anjou than to get your head down somewhere different for an unforgettable night? That’s right – you can keep the wine theme going by spending in the night in a super-sized barrel!
The Atlantic Loire Valley independent wine-makers’ federation came up with the idea of using vast barrels as a place for wine enthusiasts to spend the night. And the Marchais vineyard, 15 minutes from Nantes, was the first to take-on the crazy idea and run with it.
You can enjoy the experience with your partner or children in Thouaré-sur-Loire. There are two-berth and four-berth barrels to choose from, so everyone can enjoy spending a night sleeping snugly among the vines.
To get you ready for your adventure, you’ll receive a refreshments kit and a torch on arrival before heading to your very own barrel. You’ll also get to sample three of the vineyard’s wines during your stay. Sleeping at a vineyard is also a chance to discover a wine-maker who’s passionate about the craft, land worked with love, and skills and knowledge passed on through generations.
Good to know: the wine-maker can suggest good restaurants nearby serving up local produce.
For more information, go to: a night in a barrel
Ride an electric buggy through the Vendée vines
Jérémie Mourat’s 127-hectare family-owned organic vineyard is situated on the Route de La Roche-sur-Yon in Mareuil. The family has been making Fiefs Vendéens wines here since 1880, producing both reds (Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Négrette) and whites (Chardonnay and Chenin).
As well as offering traditional wine-tastings, Jérémie has also developed a unique way to explore the vineyard – on board a Nosmoke electric buggy. There’s no greater sense of freedom than travelling among the vines in this lightweight, effortless vehicle.
Climb behind the wheel of your Nosmoke and set-off to explore the various parts of the estate at your own pace, covering no fewer than 36 km in your very own quirky electric vehicle. You’ll be given a tablet to help you find your way around the vines, and to show you points of interest where you can stop off to learn more about the estate.
Then it’s time for lunch in the great outdoors, under the shade of the White Windmill among 12 hectares of vines. And the experience ends with a final tasting session on the estate, where Jérémie will serve up 5 or 6 different vintages that capture the full character of his whites, reds and rosés.
Note: to take part in this experience, you’ll need to have a valid driver’s licence.
Good to know: each buggy can accommodate up to 4 people. The all-inclusive price includes buggy hire plus a picnic lunch for 4 people.
For more information, go to: ride an electric buggy through the Vendée vines
- Explorez la Vallée du Loir pour goûter à ses vins blancs fruités