It would be foolish to visit Burgundy without sampling their world class wines, although it would be wise to do so AFTER lunch or else you risk falling off your bike! There are several wineries on or not far from the route between Dijon and Tonnerre however there are two in particular which we would recommend. The first of these is the rather pretty Domaine Flavigny-Alésia
in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain. One of the oldest vineyards in France (references to it have been found dating back to 741) it was completely wiped out by phylloxera in the late 19th century but was replanted, according to old traditions, back in 1994 under the ownership of a South African-born lady who has been living on the French island of Mayotte for 34 years. The south-facing, clay-limestone vineyards produce six varieties of grape (aligoté, auxerrois, chardonnay, césar, pinot noir and pinot beurot) from which are produced four white wines, four reds, a rosé and a sparkling wine all of which can be sampled, although currently there is no option to dine at the domaine
. Visits of the barrels are also possible and there is a shop and gallery on the grounds too as well as a picnic area and kid's play area.
Another producer worth visiting is that of the Domaine de l'Abbaye du Petit Quincy. Founded in the 12th century by the monks from the nearby Cistercian abbey, it was in continual use up until 1914. Then, in 1990, the Gruhier family brought it back to life and now creates some of the finest wines in the region. In the village of Epineuil, close to Tonnerre, the family's hometown, the vines produce three varieties of grape (pinot noir, pinot gris and chardonnay) which they make into eight different wines, including a crémant, a sparkling wine from Burgundy. The domaine offers several different packages to visitors to meet their needs: you can simply do a wine tasting, take a tour of the property, spend a whole day on site learning the processes, take cookery classes and even try your hand at flower arranging! But the most important of these is to taste the wines which are of an excellent quality.