Loire Valley Festival
Tuesday May 28 to Saturday June 1, 2024
IWFS Europe Africa invite members from around the world to join an exceptional festival organised by IWFS in conjunction with Grape Escapes to discover the wines, food, culture and history of the Loire Valley. We will be based near Tours at the 5*Château d’Artigny. As well as wines from the Touraine region, we will have the opportunity to enjoy wines from other regions in the Loire Valley. We will visit several châteaux, each with its own style, gardens and history; in some we will taste wines and in others enjoy private dining. We will also enjoy private dining in the Troglodytic caves, accompanied by live music. There will be a river cruise on the Cher River, a tributary of the Loire.
There is an initial limit of 50 participants for this festival. Registration has now been launched on the website and includes a waitlist. Log into the website using the registration link in the box below for details of costs and registration.
The festival cost is GBP 1,985 (non-member guests GBP 2,035) and includes all the events as well as coach and boat travel during the festival. Payment in GBP by direct bank transfer to the IWFS Europe Africa GBP bank in the UK with all bank transfer costs paid by the payee will be reduced by GBP 60 to GBP 1,925 (non-member guests GBP 1,975).
Travel costs to and from the festival are not included. Hotel costs are also not included in the festival cost. All bookings for the hotel must be made through Grape Escapes (contact: email@example.com or +44 1920 468 666). Costs for the hotel are shown on the registration page. The type of room should be discussed with Grape Escapes. There are a limited number of lower cost Tradition rooms which will be offered on a “first come, first served” basis. Please make your hotel arrangements as soon as possible after registering for the festival.
During the festival, each day the coach will start from and return to Château d’Artigny
A day-by-day itinerary follows.
Day One, Tuesday May 28, 2024: Registration, welcome and dinner
After registration at the hotel, the festival will commence with a talk by Jim Budd who is the IWFS wine consultant and a wine writer on the Loire. There will be a welcome drink followed by a four-course dinner with paired wines in Château d’Artigny.
Day Two, Wednesday May 29, 2024: Châteaux visits with wine tastings and dine at a Michelin starred restaurant
After breakfast, we will depart by private coach with a local guide, who will accompany us throughout the festival. We will visit and enjoy tours of two Châteaux to the south-west of Tours. At Château de Rivau, we will enjoy a tour of the château and its gardens, with a picnic lunch. From here, we will travel to Château du Petit Thouars, where we will meet the owners, the Count and Countess of du Petit Thouars whose family has owned and grown wines at the Château since 1636. Here we will learn more of the history of the Château, visit its troglodyte caves, and enjoy wines paired with local delicacies. After returning to the hotel, we will have time to freshen up before splitting into two groups for dinner at one of two Michelin starred restaurants: L’Evidence (6-course tasting menu and paired wines by chef Gaëtan Evrard) or L’Oppidum (5-course tasting menu and paired wines by chef Jérôme Roy)
Day Three, Thursday May 30, 2024: River cruise and visit to Amboise with wine tastings
This morning, we will travel by coach to embark on a river boat for a relaxing cruise along the Cher River. During the cruise, we will have an introduction to and tasting of wines from both the Middle (Savennières) and the Eastern central (Sancerre) appellations of the Loire.
Following the cruise, we will re-board the coach to drive to Amboise and a light lunch. After lunch, we will again be split into two groups with one group visiting the magnificent Amboise Château for a guided tour whilst the other group will visit Les Caves Ambacia for a winery tour and tasting. The groups will then reverse visits. There may also be time to wander along the banks of the Loire River and the village before returning to the hotel and a free evening.
If you require further sustenance, there is dining in the hotel as well as at several restaurants not far from the hotel.
Day Four, Friday May 31, 2024: Winery visits and Michelin star dinner
The morning starts with a drive to the north-east of Tours to visit a vineyard and winery followed by a wine tasting and light lunch. We will discover the cycle of the vine, the wine-growing landscapes, and the terroir of Vouvray, as well as the work of the winegrower during the year on a guided walk of about 2 kilometres around the vineyards. The tasting includes 6 wines from Vouvray/Touraine/Loire. After lunch we will visit Château Gaudrelle for a further tasting, before returning to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Dinner will be in two groups reversing those for the Wednesday visit to L’Evidence and L’Oppidum.
Day Five, Saturday June 1st, 2023: Tastings of Loire Cremant, lunch at troglodyte caves and a black-tie gala dinner at Chteau de Villandry
On our final day, we will travel to Saumur, the centre for the Loire Valley production of sparkling wines, visiting two wineries. These visits will be carried out in two separate groups, with each group visiting one winery in the morning, and the other in the afternoon. One will be to Langlois Château, owned by Bollinger, where there will be a tour and a talk about the geology of the region followed by tastings. The other at Bouvet Ladubay will include a visit to the UNESCO listed Tuffeau caves, as well as a tasting.
After the first winery tour, we will visit the Troglodyte caves at La Cave aux Moins where you will be able visit the caves and will be served lunch before returning to Saumur for the second winery visit. We then return to the hotel to change for a private black tie gala dinner at Château de Villandry.
The festival formally ends when we return to the hotel after dinner.
Sunday June 2nd, 2023: After breakfast, final farewells and depart for home or further adventures
John Nicholas and Gordon Lloyd