The Sauternes and Barsac wine AOC is a small segment of the Bordeaux wine region where sweet white wine is produced. And while Bordeaux is mostly renowned for its red wine, the Sauternes appellation is actually one of the most prestigious wines in the world attracting many tourists traveling to Bordeaux.
There are many options when it comes to visiting the vineyards of Sauternes, everything from small family-owned wineries to big producers settled in stunning châteaux. If you have limited time in Bordeaux, knowing which wineries to visit isn’t always obvious and that’s where my article comes in handy. In this article, I gathered all the wineries I enjoyed visiting in Sauternes and Barsac, including the touristic experiences they offer.
It’s important to know that most wineries ask you to book your visit in advance (even though some might offer you a spontaneous tour), that’s why I included a link to book a tour next to every château mentioned in this article. Public transport in this region is not very developed so you will need a car in order to get from Bordeaux to Sauternes and visit wineries, here you can find some good offers.
What you need to know about Sauternes wine
The Sauternes (and Barsac) appellation covers five small villages in the South of Gironde: Sauternes, Barsac, Preignac, Fargues, and Bommes located between two rivers, the Garonne and the Ciron. Sauternes wine owes its rich taste to Botrytis Cinerea, a fungus found on the grapes in this small part of Gironde. In Autumn, a morning mist is created when the cold water of the Ciron river meets the warm water of the larger Garonne, stimulating the formation of a fungus, also known as the noble rot.
In order to achieve the sweet taste, only the ripe grapes are picked up, which makes the harvesting process longer and more complicated. But that’s also what makes the visit to Sauternes so interesting.
Wineries not to miss in Sauternes and Barsac
Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey – the fancy winery
The Sauternes oped doors weekend introduced me to the Lafaurie-Peyraguey winery, which back then I chose to go to mostly based on how impressive the château was.
Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey in Bomme is one of the oldest chateaux in the region, dating back to the 13th century. The Château with its 18.5 hectares is located on a hill, 70 m above sea level, just next to its prestigious neighbor Château d’Yquem. It is also one of the most esteemed wineries in the Sauternes wine region, recognized as a Sauternes Premier Grand Cru Classé in the 1855 classification.
Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey is open every day (10:00 – 19:00) in the high season and from Thursday to Monday (10:00 – 18:00) in the low season. You can visit the winery by appointment only.
You can book your tour in Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey here.
However, this beautiful place is more than a winery! The Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 5 stars Hotel was opened in 2018, receiving a Michelin star for its Lalique restaurant in its first year. Since then it became a must-stop for those looking for a luxurious experience in the Bordeaux wine region. If you’re looking for an idea for a romantic weekend, this one is definitely a great option. Book a stay here.
Another chateau I had the chance to visit this year is château d’Arche. The 50-hectare winery in the Sauternes village dates back to the 17th century and has one of the most beautiful views of both the vineyards and the little church of Sauternes. The visit itself takes place at their modern facility where you will find the vat room, tasting room, and a beautiful shop. Just across the road you will find the beautiful 17th-century house where their hotel is located.
Château d’Arche is open daily all year long and offers many touristic experiences. One is the discovery visit of the Sauternes wine, a tour that takes about an hour and includes an explanation of the Sauternes making process. On this visit you get to see their cellars and vineyards and taste 3 different wines of the chateaux – you can book the visit here.
If you want something more active, you can also rent an electric bike at the chateau for a day/ half day, stroll around Sauternes admiring the view, and then finish with wine tasting at the chateau. If you’re mainly interested in wine tasting, book their workshop where you’ll learn to better understand the characteristics of the different wines the château offers. See other activities offered by Château d’Arche here.
If you’re planning to discover several wineries in the region, you could also stay the night in Château d’Arche. Book your stay here.
Château Guiraud is one of the biggest wineries in the Sauternes and Barsac AOC, spreading over 128 hectares. The winery, specializing in biodiversity, is classified as Premier Cru Classé (first growth) in the original classification of 1855.
Château Guiraud is renowned for the many touristic activities and events it has been offering in the past 30 years. There are two English tours you can do on a regular basis. A tasting tour where you’ll learn all about their wine-making process and compare different vintages. The other is a more active tour where you take an electric bike from the château and use a special app to discover the property. Book their tours here.
Château de Rayne Vigneau
Le Château de Rayne Vigneau in Bommes is another one of my favorite wineries to visit in Sauternes. Imagine yourself sipping wine at a bar in a beautiful little château, glancing at a sea of vines from the top of a hill, that’s what a visit to Château de Rayne Vigneau feels like.
The château is positioned at the center of a single-block vineyard of 84 hectares and was labeled as 1er Grand Cru Classé de Sauternes in the original 1855 classification, making it one of the top wines of Sauternes.
Rayne Vigneau is known for being very welcoming to tourists and will usually offer wine tastings even if you didn’t book a visit in advance (even though I always recommend doing so in case there’s a surge of visitors). In addition to their classic tours, Château de Rayne Vigneau offers fun activities like wine tasting on a tree, an escape game, and a trip around Sauternes on an electric scooter. See all the details here.
The winery is open daily from April to November and is closed on Sunday during low season.
Château de Myrat
Château de Myrat is located in Barsac and it’s one of the wineries I love to recommend to families visiting the Bordeaux wine region.
The Château dates back to 1700 but since 1937 is owned by the famous Pontac family. Apart from their great wine and the beautiful property, what makes the visit fun for kids is the cute animal garden, with chickens, rabbits, dogs, and more. See more details about the château here.
Château de Myrat is open for visits every day, upon appointment only. Here’s the email to contact and book: [email protected]
Château Filhot, another Grand Cru Classé winery, is one of the most impressive castles in the Sauternes AOC. The chateau was built by Romain de Filhot, an advisor to the Bordeaux Parliament in 1709, and has stayed in the family since. It’s one of the biggest estates in the region, covering 350 hectares with 65 hectares of vineyards in the village of Sauternes. Château Filhot is also known for its stunning English park, created by Bernard Fischer in 1845.
The winery offers tours without prior appointment from Monday to Friday, although I recommend booking in advance if you want a tour in English. If you’re planning to visit on weekends, booking is required, here’s the email to contact the château: [email protected]
See opening hours and more information about the winery on their site.
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If it’s your first time in Bordeaux you may also like to read some of the following “intro to Bordeaux” articles I wrote:
The Ultimate Guide to a weekend Bordeaux
The best districts in Bordeaux
Where to stay in Bordeaux
What to do in one day in Bordeaux
Things to do with kids in Bordeaux
*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂