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Going to the wine fair in France

Tanya Tait - Going to a wine fair in France - My French Life - Ma Vie Francaise - www.myfrenchlife.org.jpg

When I think of France invariably my mind turns to wine. It’s easy to conjure up images of Parisians chatting while sharing a bottle of wine at a brasserie or dreamy summer evenings sipping rosé in Provence.

I’ve always been a wine drinker and being in France has served to increase my consumption. This is due to two factors. First, buying wine in France won’t break your budget. Unless you’re buying wine to impress your boss you can find a very good bottle of wine for less than 10€. You can even get good wine for approximately 5€! Champagne is relatively inexpensive too with decent bottles selling for 25€ or less.

The second reason for my increased wine consumption is that you can buy wine almost anywhere in France. My husband and I generally purchase our wine and champagne at the grocery store. When we’re looking to impress someone with a bottle of wine we head to the caviste to pick up something special or rare.

Once a year, however, we head to one of the ‘Salons des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants‘ to discover independent wine producers from all over France. We spend a few hours sampling wines, champagnes, cognacs and armagnacs. The salon is also our chance to chat with the vignerons and, of course, to buy wine.

If you’ve never been to a wine fair in France here are five tips to help you enjoy a wine fair in France.

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1. Plan your visit
You can check online which producers will be at the event. Onsite, you can purchase a map of the booths so that you can find your favourite producers without wasting any time.

2. Talk with the producers 
People love to talk about themselves and the work they love. The vignerons are no different and they are a good resource if you’re trying to find a good wine to pair with your blanquette de veau.

3. Don’t just sample the wine 
At the wine fair in Nice, we’ve sampled wines, cheeses, saucissons, and foie gras. Generally, these vendors will offer up items that you won’t find in your local grocery or corner store.

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4. Sip and spit?
You can do as true oenologists do; however, I can’t get my head around spitting wine out, not when the wine tastes so good. If you decide to swallow all the wine you sample you’ll want to consider tip number five…

5. Leave your car at home
You will end up consuming more wine than you think especially if you drink all the wine you sample. Save yourself the worry and consider taking public transport or a taxi home.

Bonne dégustation!

Have you ever been to a wine fair or expo and found a gem of a wine?

All images by Tanya Tait.
1. Picking out a special bottle of wine at the caviste.
2. At the salon des vins in Nice, France.
3. Sampling and buying chocolate at the wine expo.


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