I enjoy being a wine tour guide. But what exactly is that? We delve here at PumpjackPiddlewick

I have the best job. Honest. Or, if you don’t agree, then I will say I love my job. You see, I am a wine tour guide. Yup. It’s a thing. A really fun and interesting thing. So what’s it all about?

A Little History

First, I’ll say it’s not a job I could have foretold in my life. My career has always been in tourism, but mainly of the more across the board sort of location / history type. Then I became immersed in wine through the assistance of an oenology trained (fancy term for wine maker) partner. We travelled the world together, he making wine and me learning and partaking alongside. Ultimately there was a move to France to make Our Own Wine. An amazing adventure that taught me even more, and particularly about French wines.

Add in about 5 years of working in the vineyards (a great job especially during the pandemic), where I learned everything from pruning to ‘tucking in‘, weeding to the actual harvest. Called the Vendange here in France. (You can take your own self-guided tour of what goes on in the vineyards through my writings on What Goes Into Making Wine.) All along the way, I learned and improved my knowledge until ultimately I was ready to combine my tourism and wine knowledge in to being a wine tour guide.

What is It?

So what is a wine tour guide actually? It’s someone with knowledge of wine, who guides you around vineyards or wineries. Usually tasting (degustation in French) wines along the way. I impart a little, or a lot depending on your knowledge, history about wine in general. An understanding of what goes into making wine. And a taste of a particular Domaine’s wines. (A Domaine is a winery in France.)

So with a wine guide, not only do you get to drink wine, but you can learn as much or as little as you wish about the growing of the grapes and wine making. Maybe more importantly you are given a personal insight into why French wines are different from other countries. You also have a person at your beck and call to ask all those questions you have ever wanted answered. (Which for me range from ‘How come a French wine label doesn’t mention the grape variety?’ to ‘What’s it like to live in France?’) And big bonus, you are usually driven to tastings so you don’t have to worry about alcohol levels and driving.

Becoming a Wine Tour Guide

Typically, tour guides who specialise in wine have a background working in wine. That is they worked in some other aspect of the winery or vineyards before shifting sideways to share their knowledge. There are courses, in France, to study oenotourism. Though this degree has more of a focus on placements in wineries as part of the sales and tastings team.

For me it was simply a natural progression. My tourism background, wine making and viticulture work alongside the writing of my Wine 101 articles were all parts that came together. The fun of such a background is that it gives me the knowledge to cater my guiding however my guests wish. If they want to learn more about vineyards, we talk botany. More about the wine making process, we consider chemistry. During a tasting, they have me to ask as many questions as they wish about wine. And what life is like in France? Well, you will have to join me on one of my tours to hear my stories.

Guiding in Burgundy – I worked with European Waterways

Guiding in the Loire – with VinoLoire

Always Learning

My guests aren’t the only ones learning. There isn’t a day goes by that I am not learning something. Either tasting at a new Domaine, or even a new wine. Another aspect of why I love my job is that no 2 days are the same. Whether it is because I meet new people from different places each day and/or often enjoy taking them to new destinations. There is always something new.

Sometimes I take guests to non-wine places, like Chateaus, so a little history about France is added to the mix. I have learned so much more about my new home being a guide. And since each day is different, so it varies the scenery, villages and roads I travel. A lovely and easy way to become more acquainted with my chosen home.

I Love My Job

I am truly lucky in that I adore what I do. I get to be with people who are happy. Afterall they are on holiday. It’s rare I get a grumpy guest in consequence. They are with me to have a good time, and when we add wine tasting into the mix, this just adds to the happiness. And tastings, as opposed to outright partying, provide for a merry as opposed to inebriated crowd. (And yes we monitor and moderate the tastings if needs be.)

One of my favourite aspects is when I have a group of people on a tour that do not know each other. And now they are about to spend several hours together. Wine is a great door opener to loosening tongues and enabling conversations. Many a van driving day ends with incredible amounts of laughter from within, and new friends made. What’s not to like?

More About Wine

If you wish to learn more about wine, I encourage you to book a tour next time you are someplace that makes wine. Hey, maybe I’ll even have the opportunity to meet you here in France. But in the meantime, I hope you will enjoy my various Writings on Wine.

And if you like what you read, check out how to Nourish Pumpjack & Piddlewick.

If you like to shop wine related items, or need a gift for a wine aficionado, I encourage you to check out My Shop. Here’s a taste of some wine items:

Simply click on an image to see more.


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