As they sail relaxingly down the Garonne River, a 570 km waterway that begins in the Pyrenees Mountains, wine aficionados can explore Château Guiraud, a producer of 1st Grand Cru Classe dessert wines with a history that dates to the mid-18th century. The château’s wines begin when the grapes are picked by hand, and they culminate after two years of maturation in French oak barrels. Guests can also take a cycling tour to Château de Myrat, a winery started by the Pontac family, which first began making wine in 1533.
As the cruise transitions to the Dordogne River – a 470 km waterway that is protected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Culural Organization (UNESCO)—wine-centric activities include a sunset tasting at Château Soutard in Saint-Emilion, where the winery’s Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon vines glow a breathtaking red and gold in the fading rays of sunlight. Other experiences include a tour of Château Franc Mayne and the ancient Roman ruins found on its estate; a tour and tasting at Chateau Gruaud-Larose, an estate that fosters vineyards that have survived since the 18th century; and a cycling tour to Château Lagrange, a Third Growth (Troisièmes Crus) estate that Napoleon III selected to be part of a French wine exhibit at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1855—an event that celebrated and showcased the finest French products and arts.