Wine and Geology Tours

October 6-13, 2019

8 days, 7 nights

Discover the essence of Burgundy: Its terroir, the deep underpinnings of its geology, the wines and the cuisine, as we tour Burgundy from North to South.

 

Starting in northernmost Burgundy, in Chablis, we will learn why the Premier and Grand Cru vineyards and their Kimmeridgian limestone geologic history make the wines of Burgundy what they are. From the wine capital of Burgundy, Beaune, we’ll explore the world-renowned vineyards of the Côte de Beaune, the Côte de Nuits while enjoying the fabulous cuisine of the region.

 

We will check out the unoaked chards of little-known villages in the Mâconnais, the off-the-beaten-path wines of Givry, Mercurey, Rully, Bouzeron in the Chalonnaise into the famous Côte d’Or.

 

Taking us through the granite hills of Beaujolais to the stunning limestone formations of Solutré and Vergisson, our journey will end in the food-and-wine-capital, Lyon.

A professional driver and comfortable bus will transport us from start to finish so there is no need to worry about driving once you get there.

Burgundy North

to South

October 16-23, 2019

8 days, 7 nights

Join us for a week in exploring the wines and geology from Côte Rôtie to the Sea. From the French food and wine capital Lyon we head south through 400 million year old metamorphic terrain of the steep northern Rhône vineyards of Côte Rôtie - the “roasted slope”.

 

From there we continue down river into Hermitage, Gigondas, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the Côtes du Rhône, Ventoux and Luberon to Aix-en-Provence, and ending along the coast at Cassis and Bandol. We will make a picnic stop at Mont Sainte-Victoire, the mountain made famous by Cezanne and is itself a spectacular example of how limestone strata become folded and contorted where continents collide.

 

Throughout this excursion the geology is as varied and complex as the wines are themselves. We will visit great vineyards and meet their winemakers all the while learning what makes each of these places special and unique.

A professional driver and comfortable bus will transport us from start to finish so there is no need to worry about driving once you get there.

Rhône Valley

Côte Rôtie to the Sea

February 9-10, 2019

2 days, 1 night

Thirteen wine enthusiasts joined us in Demystifying Sonoma's AVAs as we investigated the complex and overlapping array of the Sonoma AVAs.

 

We visited select wineries that are true to their respective terroir. The French would say they are “correct”.

 

We discussed how the topography of the region reflects effects of tectonic forces — the San Andreas, Rodgers Creek and related faults, and the east-west compressional forces that have folded the terrain into discrete valleys, ridges, alluvial fans and river corridors.

 

We spent the weekend visiting vintners at their wineries, to learn about their soils and wine-growing practices, and how these affect their wines.

 

We learned about their vinification processes and of course, tasted their wines.

 

Oh yes, a locally-sourced wine dinner was prepared by a well-known Sonoma chef and topped off our wine country explorations.

 

Demystifying Sonoma's AVAs

This tour was a blast!!!

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TOUR LEADERS

DAVID HOWELL

Former Research Geologist with the US Geological Survey

David G. Howell is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America. He has been working with Napa Valley vintners for more than twenty-five years and is the co-author of The Winemaker’s Dance: Exploring Terroir in the Napa Valley. After retiring from the US Geological Survey, Howell was an adjunct professor in Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences from 2005 to 2009. He received a PhD from UC Santa Barbara and has authored more than 150 scientific articles.

DOUGLAS POSSON

Former science center Director with the US Geological Survey.

Owner, Hexagonvins and wine enthusiast. He has explored France, l’Hexagone,  and its wine regions annually for more than thirty years. He and his wife led hiking tours in the mountains of Provence for many years. He is retired from the US Geological Survey where he helped to establish the US Global Change Research Program, and led the USGCRP’s Arctic data team that received the Presidential Design Achievement Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has explored the geography, food, and wines of Alsace, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Champagne, the Rhône, Provence, Languedoc, the Roussillon, the Loire, the Southwest, and Bordeaux.

KOFFI J.P. KPACHAVI

Chief Operations Officer (and Ambassador of Fun)

 Koffi is a wine enthusiast and former sommelier candidate. Student of all things wine and geology, Koffi has organized and led wine excursions to several California wine regions. He has produced wine as a “Garagist”, has done internships at several California wineries, and has worked as tasting room manager. Over the years, he has assisted David Howell with the Stanford University’s on-campus Geology of Wine classes as well as Napa field trips offered through the Continuing Studies program. Koffi is fluent in French.

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