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Inexpensive wine holiday!


Hello all!

I recently took my first plunge into WSET and took my level two earlier this year. I’ve always had so much curiosity about wine, but now I feel much more knowledgable and have a strong basic understanding now compared to my very scattered knowledge before!

I’m looking to undertake a solo week long holiday at some point this year in a wine producing region. I’ve already done a lot of Chile (good friends live there), Okanagan in Canada and a little bit in Austria. However - being a freelance musician - money is often up and down and work is quieter this year so am looking for options that won’t break the bank.

Happy to stay in less pricey hotels and also hire a bike to visit vineyards, but I do want to really get stuck into somewhere that helps solidify some of the knowledge accumulated on WSET 2 so far.

Any suggestions? :slight_smile:


Hi Michael,

Well done on your L2 WSET.

I can only answer your questions with more of my own, sorry.

Do you want a compact area or are you willing to travel longer distances (don’t know you, but maybe too far for a bike!) within a greater area?
What wine do you like? No point recommending the Mosel if Riesling hits the back ignore your throat like lime acid petrol.
Do you need to travel cheap and stay cheap or could you go slightly further and save money while you’re there?

I don’t doubt there will be loads of helpful advice here for you, but the advice will be even better with a little more guidance on what’s important to you.


I don’t have much experience of wine tourism but can certainly recommend Alsace as an area that’s great for both cycling and for wine tasting.

The vineyard roads that join the villages, where producers are based and wines can be tasted, are virtually traffic free and are a pleasure to ride. The distances between those villages are minimal so it’s not too hard on the legs either. I’m sure there’s a wide range of accommodation to suit most budgets too.

Edit - forgot to mention. It is also stunningly beautiful, both architecturally and landscape wise, and the food, at all levels, very good


Around Ventoux in southern Rhône there are hostels that cater for cyclist who want to complete the famous Tour de France routes up the mountain. They might provide a cheaper place to then cycle around the vineyards of the region.


I agree from personal experience about Alsace being a good place to visit, but when I did WSET it did not get much emphasis.

How about Bordeaux? I see there are cheap flights, but don’t know anything about staying there and getting around.


getting there is cheap…once you are there its a fairly different story!

It is cycle friendly though and you see lots of groups peddling around


What about the loire ? Cheap flight to Nantes and cycle along or even use the train.

Great for WSET as you get to see a wide range of styles on your travels - beautiful too!


Southern Rhone around Beaumes de Venise. There is a good campsite in that village and excellent cycling, walking in the Dentelles de Monmiral. Beautiful old mountain villages and you can get around a good few Cru AOCs on a bike: Beaumes de Venise, Gigondas, Vacqueyras and a bunch of the Village AOCs.


I second the Loire! We’ll be doing it all by trains (including Eurostar and regional) this April, and as we booked early we got a really good deal.

There’s a very long cycle route encompassing most of the region - see:

And - although we’ll be renting a couple nice apartments there - I believe there are a lot of budget options to choose from. Lots of wineries and wine styles to learn about and enjoy, of course. :+1:


+1 for southern Rhône


Thank you!

Previously I’ve stayed in an area and used the bike to cycle to vineyards and then stayed in the same hotel. Or hired a bike for a few days explored one region, return the bike, travel to another region and hired another bike, etc.

I’m really open to exploring wines - I’m more of a new world man to be honest, but I want to learn more about the old world. [Incidentally I am a Riesling fan!]

Happy to travel far, but stay cheap. I’ve got quite a few air miles here and there from work.


Alsace is on the long list. I adore Alsatian Riesling! Thank you :slight_smile:


Sounds a little intense for my rudimentary cycling skills, but great idea - thank you.


Thanks Inbar and James - sounds ideal :slight_smile:


We were in Galicia last summer. Very under-rated part of Europe, absolutely beautiful part of the world and fairly quiet in terms of tourism. It’s not all Albariño - some really good red wine as well as a couple of other white varieties.

Quite a wide area though - you’d definitely need some other means of transport apart from a bicycle.


I would also second the Loire, but maybe suggest the central part featuring Pouilly, Sancerre, Menetou Salon. It is a long way from the rest of the Loire, closer to Burgundy in fact. Whilst Sancerre does both white SB and red Pinot Noir, the Pouilly Fume producers also make red Pinot under the Cotes de la Charite appellation named after a delightful nearby town. Good cycling along the Loire between Pouilly and Sancerre (we’ve done it!) though the cycle from the river up to Sancerre is quite a pull. Worth it for the views though and if you dont fancy that cycle then Sancerre made in lots of surrounding areas withoit the big hill. We had our first and so far every barrel sample of wine when we went to Serge Dageneau’s Pouilly Fume winery and tasted a sample of their red Pinot direct from two barrels which he blended right in front of us.


This sounds like an amazing place to visit - thank you for the recommendation!


Jerez/Andalucia is worth considering - lovely wines, bargains to boot…

I’d also look at the Mosel - lovely cycling country.


I’ll second the Mosel (although you would want to go to the Saar and I wouldn’t like to cycle that) and once there you wouldn’t be too far from the Ahr, if you want to add a less conventional area. The various Rhine regions are more complicated to see.


Hard to beat Ribeira Sacra. Will probably be a good 30% cheaper than Loire or Alsace (or indeed anywhere else in France).