Bernard Magrez, proprietor of 37 vineyards – many renowned such as La Tour Carnet, Fombrauge or Pape Clément – wrote last month: « Many wine-growers have long been searching for a commercial tool beyond those traditionally used. Being able to promote your vineyard commercially brings two benefits: firstly, you create a client base; secondly, profit margins are greater. Hence, traditional oenotourism is becoming increasingly important.»

Very true, and it’s something Bordeaux viticulturists are acting upon. For years their vineyards have been more or less closed to the general public, reluctant to receive visitors, but now they are taking steps towards becoming more client-friendly. Now many chateaux stay open all year to welcome visitors. And although many estates don’t yet have the infrastructure in place to receive this new customer base, the revolution has begun!

Equally numerous are the tour agencies who realise there is a healthy demand from foreigners for wine sightseeing visits – and it seems the French themselves are also keen to stroll through the vineyards – enjoying both famous and lesser-known estates. These agencies offer tours but usually in groups, at fixed times and often they are overpriced. Like any other tourist, “oenotourists” or wine tourists appreciate freedom of choice and especially enjoy being able to sightsee at their own pace. Free from the constraints of a group and certainly avoiding middlemen’s exorbitant costs.

As a result of which, two women – both from the world of wine – had a very ingenious idea. They decided to create a one-stop platform for making reservations directly with the vineyards for wine-tastings and tours. Simple – and all for free! In fact, with Wine Tour Booking the visitor pays for visits directly on-line and at the same price as that charged by the proprietors themselves. With just a few clicks, the tourist can prepare his route from his own house to the vineyard and the wine-growers are contacted in advance to ensure availability.

How is it possible? Very simply because Wine Tour Booking was able to convince the growers that this unique booking platform, would be a marvellous tool for developing oenotourism, as well as being ideal for helping them to manage their reservations too.

Apart from this, Wine Tour Booking offers numerous other services, plus information to facilitate tourists’ visits. And it’s all completely free!

Based on other well-loved sites, such as Ebooking for hotels or La Fourchette for restaurants, there’s no doubt that the Wine Tour Booking website has a great future ahead of it.

Latest news is that the wine-growers of the Bordeaux region have proved so enthusiastic that Wine Tour Booking are shortly extending further south to cover the Côtes du Rhône and Bourgogne.