Bandol Wine Tours & Wineries to Visit in the Region by Bike or Car in 2024
Sun-drenched Bandol is a dot on the map of France. The region occupies a small, hilly corner of the Mediterranean coast, though most of its vineyards are a few kilometers inland around the popular town of La Cadière-d’Azur.
Although famed for its tannic and often long-lived reds based on the Mourvèdre grape, around 70% of Bandol’s production is now Rosé. These wines range from delicate in style, to fuller, spicier and capable of aging. The full-bodied whites — which make up a tiny percentage of production — can be hard to source outside the region but many estates will have bottles open for you to try. This makes for a good opportunity to try something unique.
- Bandol Wine Tours & Wineries to Visit in the Region by Bike or Car in 2024
- Best Bandol Wineries to Visit This Year
- Trending Bandol Wine Tastings, Wine Tours & Experiences
- Cassis (Bandol) National Park E-Mountain Bike Experience with Virtual Guide
- Cassis: Three Calanques Tour by Electric Mountain Bike
- 3 Hour Kayak Tour Near Bandol at Calanques National Park
- Frequently Asked Questions About Wine Tasting in Bandol & Things to Do
Traveling by Bike or Car in Bandol
Most visitors to Bandol drive between wineries, but e-biking is a good alternative for more adventurous travelers. Several of the most famous estates are within very easy cycling distance of each other and the town of Cadière-d’Azur. Battery power offers a welcome boost when peddling up the many hills.
There are small rental shops located in Bandol where you can rent E-Bikes for a fee of roughly €40 per day, or less for shorter periods. It’s possible to reserve in advance via email (a 25% deposit is required) which will save you time on the day. When we arrived, the owner Philippe had our bikes sized up, outside, and ready to go. Helmets were provided.
Note that since COVID, some of these shops have since closed. Once you book your hotel, be sure to ask the concierge if they can recommend nearby E-Bike rental shops. You can also simply opt to rent a car and follow our winery recommendations below.
Planning Your Day
Planning winery visits in Bandol is simple. Many estates have cellar doors that you can drop into for tastings without an appointment. Typical opening hours are 9 am-midday and 2-6 pm. Many tastings are free, though the producers hope that you will make a purchase. The very helpful website by Vins de Bandol, the regional body, has a list of 65 estates in the region and details opening hours and whether reservations are required. Five recommended winery visits are listed below.
In a full day, it’s possible to visit up to five or six properties without rushing too much. This still allows time for a bistro lunch in the middle of the day.
Directions can be a little tricky. Don’t rely completely on Google maps unless you’re prepared to spend some time getting lost or attempting to cycle up rocky, near-vertical footpaths. It’s worth investing in an old-school paper map, or at least sense-checking your directions with locals between tastings. We found this to be particularly true in the area south of Cadière near Chateau de Pibarnon and Domaines Bunan.
The town of Cadière-d’Azur is surrounded by wineries. Splitting your day between those to the South and those to the North/East means that you’ll see the region from several angles and can return to the main town when the wineries are closed over lunch.
Best Bandol Wineries to Visit This Year
Domaine Lou Capelan
1480 Chem. de Cuges, 83740 La Cadière-d’Azur, Franc
+33 9 50 05 11 00
Tucked away in the heart of La Cadière-d’Azur you can find Lou Capelan. This is one of the few producers in the region that allow you to schedule a special tour of their vineyard and wine cave while using a Segway out in the field. You’ll be able to take an all-terrain ride through the vineyard in Gyropode, where you’ll be met with some stunning views of the surrounding villages of Castellet and Cadière d’Azur.
1082 Chem. des Fanges, 83330 Le Castellet, France
+33 4 94 98 70 21
Domaine Tempier is perhaps Bandol’s most recognizable name and is certainly among its most prestigious. Particularly in export markets. (In the US, it’s a favorite of importer Kermit Lynch; In the UK it’s stocked by important retailers such as The Wine Society and Lea & Sandeman)
A visit to the property affords you a tasting of wines of all three colors: its powerful reds, bright Rosé, and full-bodied white. This is a must-visit while you’re in the area.
Chateau de Pibarnon
410 Chem. de la Croix des Signaux, 83740 La Cadière-d’Azur, France
+33 4 94 90 12 73
There are many reasons to visit Chateau de Pibarnon, but here are two: the view and the Rosé. The estate — which is the highest in Bandol — overlooks an amphitheater of vines surrounded by forest. The Rosé (we tasted the 2018) is among the very best in the region, combining spicy red fruit with freshness to deliver a full yet refreshing glass.
(Be particularly careful with directions. If you find yourself approaching from a rocky path with a sign that reads “entrance impossible,” believe it. Ignore this advice and you’ll spend the next 15 minutes stumbling painfully uphill. Your author speaks from experience)
Domaine Bunan, 83740 La Cadière-d’Azur, France
+33 4 94 98 58 98
At Domaines Bunan you can taste reds, whites and rosés from its Moulin de Costes and Chateau la Rouviere estates side by side. The tasting room is lined with different bottles and overlooks several of the estate’s sloping vineyards. Tours are available at 11 am each morning and last for 45-60 minutes. Booking is required.
1440 Chem. de Saint-Antoine, 83740 La Cadière-d’Azur, France
+33 4 94 90 08 08
Chateau Vannieres boasts one of the region’s more impressive buildings, which makes it a popular event venue as well as a tasting destination. The wines are of high quality, too. We were generously poured nine samples which displayed the variety of styles by this producer. The rosés, for example, ranged from fresh and straightforward to the more serious, fuller, Patience Rosé 2018. Older vintages are available to buy from the cellar door.
Maison des Vins de Bandol
238 Chem. de la Ferrage, 83330 Le Castellet, France
+33 4 94 90 27 38
Our day ended with a visit to the Maison des Vins de Bandol, which represents producers across the region and has various bottles open and available to taste. This offers a good opportunity to taste multiple estates that you might not have time to visit.
For e-cyclists, there’s another plus: The tasting room is at the top of a hill in the town of Le Castellet. Your battery power will push you up. A satisfyingly long downhill road awaits for the journey back to Cadière-d’Azur.
Trending Bandol Wine Tastings, Wine Tours & Experiences
If biking or simply showing up to a winery in Bandol isn’t quite your cup of tea, there’s always the option to book a Bandol wine tour or tasting in advance. There are several companies that are highly-rated by our readership and have been in operation for years. Below, take a look at our favorite Bandol wine tours and tasting experiences as we head into 2024 and beyond.
Full Day Bandol Wine Tour & Tasting Experience from Marseille
If you aren’t staying in the heart of Bandol at a wine resort, many wine enthusiasts often opt to stay in Marseille and take day trips to the region. If that’s your scenario, consider this full day Bandol wine tour.
Operated by Provence Wine Tours, this full-day excursion from Marseille takes you on an intimate journey through the wine regions of Bandol and Cassis, renowned not just for their iconic rosés but also for their fine red and white wines. The tour includes expert-led tastings at three select wineries, dives into the intricacies of Bandol winemaking and ‘terroir,’ and offers free time to explore the charming seafront town of Cassis. With a small-group setting capped at eight people and convenient round-trip transport, it’s a comprehensive and personalized wine experience.
Cassis (Bandol) National Park E-Mountain Bike Experience with Virtual Guide
Had enough wine tasting in Bandol and want to do something active and super unique? Consider an E-Bike experience through the beautiful national parks around Cassis. This activity is ideal for those who are athletically inclined and comfortable on a bike, as the electric assistance provides a seamless and effortless ride. The app’s precise navigation guarantees a smooth journey, ensuring you’ll never lose your way as you enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Cassis: Three Calanques Tour by Electric Mountain Bike
For an equally enchanting and active activity following a wine tasting experience in Bandol, take a guided tour through the National Park of Calanques, where you’ll encounter sea cliffs and rugged turquoise coastlines. Using electric-powered mountain bikes, you’ll tackle challenging trails with ease, outpacing hikers along the way.
Ideal for intermediate riders, the tour includes stops at the charming village of Cassis and a hidden beach, with an optional swim. Suitable for ages 11-77, the tour accommodates a maximum of 10 people per group, lasts for 3 hours, and offers mobile ticketing as well as English and French language options.
3 Hour Kayak Tour Near Bandol at Calanques National Park
Hiking and biking and wine tasting not enough? Take a 3-hour kayaking adventure through Calanques National Park. Secure your personal items in a provided locker before settling into your kayak. Paddle through the park’s crystal-clear waters, enjoy at unparalleled views of landmarks like Green Island, Eagle Beak, and Mugel Creek.
This excursion offers both a solid workout following wine tastings for a refresher, and an special experience in some of the region’s most awe-inspiring landscapes.
REMINDER: Bandol is part of France’s Provence wine region. For more tour options nearby, including unique experiences like truffle hunting and wine cruises, check out our Provence wine tour travel guide.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wine Tasting in Bandol & Things to Do
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Sarah Phillips. Edited more recently by Winetraveler editorial staff to reflect new information and additional wine tour options. See More Articles & Travel Guides by Sarah Phillips.
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