Visiting Bordeaux is always a treat. Taste excellent wines, visit historic chateaux, and enjoy breathtaking landscapes and architecture.
To make the most of your visit to this great city and its famous wineries, choose the right season.
Fall in Bordeaux
One of the best times to visit Bordeaux wineries is September and October around harvest time.
You can walk in vineyards and taste ripe berries of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.
Merlot is usually the first to ripen and be harvested and made into wine, while Cabs would be the last. Wineries will let you taste the fermenting juice and young wine.
At the early stages of winemaking, wines of different grape varieties are kept separately.
During our wine tours, the cellar master would offer samples of all these different wines and compare them with his final aged wine.
This time of the year, wine country is lively with international crowds of harvest pickers and tourists.
The French government recently announced that picking can be done by tourists as long as they are doing that as part of the touristic visit and not for a salary. I am waiting for the most prestigious wineries to allow harvesting. Wouldn’t it be nice to contribute to the amazing wines of Chateau Margaux?
See my article about Harvest Time in Bordeaux Wine Country.
It is typically sunny and comfortable at the end of the summer. This is the time when excitement about the new vintage is in the air. At the wineries, you will see grape bunches jumping on the sorting tables, working pumps, full fermenting vats with bubbly juice, nervous winemakers, spontaneous mini-labs, and all sorts of activities. Things are busy, exciting, and a little messy.
Fall temperatures remain pleasant up until early November. Late November and December in Bordeaux can be quite rainy.
Some wineries stop regular tours at the end of October.
Spring in Bordeaux
Spring is a wonderful time to visit Bordeaux as well. Vines are waking up. Blossoming fruit trees, colorful tulips, and poppies are everywhere.
Smell fresh grass, watch horses plowing. Weather is usually comfortable but could be unstable with some sprinkles and occasional thunderstorms.
Vines are flowering in May and June.
During the first week of April, wine professionals flock to Bordeaux to taste the newest vintage. En Primeurs is an incredible experience, where all chateaux let you taste their aging wines from barrels. I tasted 250 different wines in a week including all the top growths. What a treat!
Even if you are not a wine pro, don’t worry, we might still be able to taste wines directly from barrels on our spring Bordeaux wine tours.
Every other year around mid-May, Bordeaux welcomes VinExpo, one of the largest wine salons. If you don’t plan to participate, it is better to avoid that week as the hotel rooms may be scarce.
Summer in Bordeaux
If you are not afraid of heat, come in the summer.
July and especially August in France tend to be quieter months. No traffic jams, plenty of parking in the city as locals flock to beaches. Enjoy a summer afternoon with a glass of wine in a chateau garden, observe the quiet of the vineyards, butterflies, watch grape colors turn from green to purple.
If you come during the summer months, do not miss an opportunity to climb Dune du Pilat, the largest European sand dune overlooking the Bay of Arcachon, only about an hour away from Bordeaux.
Besides, there are other events taking place in the city of Bordeaux. Bordeaux Fête du Fleuve takes place in the second part of June. Free concerts, tall ships, fireworks, wine tastings on the banks of La Garonne are just some of the festival events.
Winter in Bordeaux
Winter is not the most popular time to visit. Rainy, windy days are not uncommon. However, bright, crispy sunny days are to be expected too. It almost never gets to a freezing point.
Vines are in dormancy and the estates are mostly busy with pruning. Wine is already in oak barrels aging and getting ready to be tasted for the first time.
I personally love winter wine tours in Bordeaux – there are no crowds, everything is there just for you. Winter months, especially January and February is when the top wineries may be open for visits. Winemakers and staff are relaxed and you get all their time and attention, and naturally extended tasting experiences with excellent Bordeaux wines.
However, keep in mind that many wineries are usually closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Some would open doors around December 27 and 31.
If you coming to Bordeaux between November and March, it is better to plan your visit to Bordeaux for a weekday as some wineries are closed on weekends.
Some restaurants may be closed as well for a few weeks in January and February.
See average Bordeaux monthly temperatures here.