Do I Really Need A Wine Guide?

Decanter Tour Staff
July 5, 2024
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From time to time, we get requests to organize a wine tour without a guide. We will bend over backwards to meet your requests not just because it’s a good business strategy but because it’s your vacation. And we take your time seriously, which is why we go to such efforts to make it the very best experience. This is the reason why we never skimp on a guide. Indeed, every tour booked with Decanter Tours will always include a professional wine guide.

Our guides are highly-specialized wine professionals, graduates of either the global program Wine and Spirits Education Trust WSET or the highly prestigious Bordeaux-based Institute of the Science of Vine and Wine's University Diploma in Wine-Tasting Expertise  DUAD (or both!). Translation: they are wine nerds par excellence; experienced and seasoned guides that know Bordeaux (and beyond!).

Our guides are professionals who have worked in the wine industry for decades. They have in-depth knowledge of Bordeaux wines, the merchant system, grape varietals, terroir nuances, and vintage variations specific to the region. They have the low-down on chateau ownership changes, up and coming winemakers, special or rare tastings, wine points and scores, collector's wines and releases of limited edition wines. 

One of our top wine guides, Veronica.

Veronica, one of our best guides, holds the WSET Level 4 (UK), Wine Marketing Diploma (NZ), the DUAD (FR) and gained certified status by the Court of Master Sommeliers (USA). Besides guiding, she also teaches the WSET to young hospitality students at Vatel hotel school. 

In short, our guides have done the studying so you don’t have to.

But if you're still wondering what a wine guide can add to your wine experience, we'll give you 5 reasons why you need one.


Five reasons why visiting a French chateau with a wine guide really is a must:



When it comes to wine tasting, the best people to taste with are wine professionals because they can put words to what you’re tasting. According to Wine Spectator, "understanding wine and describing its attributes (and sometimes flaws) is within the grasp of most who appreciate its pleasures". As you’re tasting the words can be elusive, simply on the tip of your tongue (pun intended) but a skilled wine professional will help you decode everything, from flavors and aromas to acidity, tannins, body. They will ensure that by the end of your wine tasting you know that a great wine is one not that has more oak, less alcohol or tropical fruit, it’s the one that is balanced


If you’re already an experienced taster, they can take your tasting game up many notches. Ever wondered why some Cabernet Sauvignon wines have leathery aromas while others cinnamon notes? Or why some Chardonnays are said to be “buttery” while others “crisp and linear”? Our guides will help you distinguish between primary (grape), secondary (fermentation), or tertiary (aging) aromas of a wine. They can help you discover which wines have gone through malolactic fermentation, which wines have added acidity, or which wines are sadly past their prime.


At any budget, there is good wine to be found, one that will be just right for you. But how to find it? Tasting with a professional guide will help you determine the wines you’ll like and those you won’t so you’re not spending money on wines that will disappoint or buying bottles based solely on a well-known brand or a sexy label (we’re all guilty of it). They will bust wine myths so you can, yes, pair your trout with red wine or enjoy a sweet Sauternes wine during your entire meal. 

Additionally, they can help you select wines that can be cellared, collected, and those that will increase in value over time. And they can connect you with top wineries, reputable merchants and valuable importers to ensure your future purchases are solid.  


And it’s not just French that we’re talking about. It’s all that wine lingo. A winemaker may have extensive knowledge about the plants and processes, but as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Similarly, a chateau wine guide may be able to provide you with facts and figures but how does that relate to your needs and interests. 

Our professional wine guide will translate wine lexicon and nerdy tech terms into clear, digestible information that will actually be useful to you. They can fill in the gaps where valuable information has been omitted and filter long, extensive explanations and memorized scripts. 


There’s nothing that makes people's eyes glaze over more than information overload. We get it. And while we want you to finish your wine tour with deep knowledge, we know that a natural response to being overwhelmed is to simply disconnect. A professional wine guide–one that has nothing to prove and no ego that needs to be stroked–knows when to shut-up about wine so you can actually *check notes* enjoy it.

Don't just take our word for it, our customer reviews speak for themselves:

"Janice, [was] our tour guide for the say Janice was amazing would be an understatement. Her knowledge of the Bordeaux region, wine and Chateau's in the area was very impressive...we visited 2 different Chateau's that day and Janice could have given the tours as well as the representatives that greeted us at each Chateau. Of course the Bordeaux countryside, Chateau's, and wine were breathtaking but Janice just really made it that much better." Phil P. (Visited in April 2024)

At Decanter Tours, you’re not only in good hands, you’re in the very best hands. Your visits will never be “oh, how interesting” (who wants interesting?), but a fascinating encyclopaedic wine adventure in one of the world’s most famous wine regions.

With our wine tours starting at 240€ per day, there's no need to hesitate whether it’s worth having your own personal guide.  Call us to find out more. 


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