Visiting Vineyards with children
Children are welcome at many Bordeaux estates these days, so combining a beach break along the Atlantic coast with a few days in the Bordeaux vineyards can be a perfect family holiday.
Among the many chateaux offering unusual visits for children is Chateau d’Agassac in the southern Médoc, where ipod tours allow them to take part in a treasure hunt, and even rescue a princess from the estate’s beautiful medieval spires.
At Gruaud Larose in Saint Julien, the whole family can follow the White Path (paved with flat stones) through the vineyard, discovering not only what makes the soil at this place so perfect for quality grapes, but also enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Médoc. On your way, look out for the chateau’s vegetable garden, and if you’re hungry, ask ahead for a cheese and wine tasting.
If you happen to be in the Médoc on a Wednesday, don’t miss the Gouter des Enfants at Chateau Kirwan, where children can get hands-on learning about grapes and blending, and enjoy a specially-prepared snack to finish off the afternoon. The owners of Kirwan have recently acquired the Moulin de Margaux, an old windmill nearby that has its own small guestroom in one of the wings of the mill, with access to a swimming pool.
The Maison des Vins de Cadillac offers to children from 3 to 12 years old a playground so that they can learn everything about Heritage, vineyard and the wine : « Jeux de Raisins ». Huge puzzle, mysteries and numerous playful games will know how to delight and awaken the curiosity of children. Accessible to disabled people.
Over on the Right Bank of the region, near to Saint Emilion and Pomerol, visit Chateau Siaurac, where children will be thrilled to picnic in the 15 hectares of parkland, surrounded by 300 year old oak trees, while tucking in to La Baronne’s luxury hamper of seasonal, local produce. You can even camp under the stars, and stay for a brunch prepared from local market produce.
Not far away from here, in Saint Emilion, one of the best visits for families has to be Chateau Soutard, where again much of the action takes place outside, with treasure hunts and special explorer ‘Safari Trek’ trails through the vines, looking for local wildlife and learning about the principles of biodynamic winemaking. A Young Mapmakers walk allows children to learn how to read maps, get their bearings and record the information they see around them.
There are dozens more estates that offer excellent facilities for children – among them Chateaux Maucaillou, Domaine de la Grave, Saint-Ahon, Lanessan, Marquis de Vaudan, Lisennes, Camarsac and Suduiraut. Be sure to ask ahead of time if you are unsure.