Burgundy, Alsace, Florence

Hello everyone,

I just discovered your fabulous website and thought I’d put a few questions out to all the traveling wine experts. I apologize for the wide range of topics, and I will be sure to search through your archives as well. I just finished the WSET Advanced and am planning to travel with the French Wine Society on a guided tour of Burgundy in June. (Here is the itinerary should you be interested: s3.wine-scholar-guild.cognix-systems.net

  1. Which Burgundy books do you most recommend I read before I go?

  2. I will have one, maybe two evenings free to dine in Beane/Montagny area. I’ve seen some of your threads with restaurant ideas, but where would you go if you only had one night? I hope not, but I may be dining alone, so it should be a more relaxed place.

  3. I plan to go to Colmar in Alsace for a day or two. Does anyone have recommendations for vineyards which welcome visitors? I speak German and extremely limited French. I know my way around Colmar a bit but will be relying on public transport. Any fabulous restaurant recommendations?

  4. From there I will spend 10 days or so in the Florence area. Can anyone recommend a guided tour agency that is less touristy/slightly more technical? Or vinyards I should absolutely visit? I would like to have a few learning opportunities arranged before I go.

Any ideas would be appreciated. Thank you,


Hi Julie, and welcome.

To me, the essential Burgundy book is still, after all these years (published in 1990), Matt Kramer’s Making Sense of Burgundy. It’s out of print and a bit expensive, but you should be able to find a used copy for $65 or so.

Thanks for the tip, Robert! I’ll check it out right away.

In Alsace, German works just fine. Public transportation may be an issue. It is best to have a car, otherwise it’s difficult to get to different vinyards.

Eric, which vineyards do you recommend visiting? Yes, German works in a pinch, but I know from experience it is not preferred.

Depending on how spry you are, you may look at renting a bike in Colmar and pedaling up towards Kayserberg. Eack little town is littered with wineries and you’re in the midst of amazingly beautiful rolling vineyard terrain. A personal favorite is Domaine Paul Blanck in Kientzheim. If a bike is no-go then a car for a day would be worthwhile as there is so many beautiful things to see.

The standards. Love Trimbach and Weinbach. If you can get a copy of Tom Stevenson’s “Wines of Alsace” published by Faber, now out of print, it covers many producers, the villages, and the grand cru vinyards. It’s still the best book on Alsace wine.

Hi Julie, and welcome to WB! The only Burgundy book I have (and have read) is by Remington Norman and Charles Taylor (I have the 3d ed but IIRC there is a 4th by now). I’m hardly an expert, but it has taught me a good part of what I know. Fascinating region, pretty complicated, but definitely worth the effort!

Thank you all for your tips! Love the bike idea! I’ll look into that and all the vineyards, negociants and books you have all recommended.

Thanks again!

Great winery. Great visit.

Julie, I can’t offer any help, but I can offer a welcome. Have a great trip, and be sure to post about it when you return.

Thanks again for the tips and the lovely welcomes! Checking it all out…