Beaune, France

Beaune, in the Burgundy region of France.  We only had a couple of hours here, so I’m afraid we have little in the way of Deep Thoughts and Insights into the wines you’ve heard so much about since before you were born.

Beaune —  Sadly, half of the media images I have in my head of France are from media related to WWII and walking these streets I kept expecting to see Ernest Borgnine storming around the corner with a tommy gun.  It’s hard to not expect to see half-tracks, tanks and men in soiled, saggy khaki uniforms around every turn.


On this experience we were on a tour of France in general, and not a wine tour of France.  In a more perfect world we would have enjoyed more time to learn more about the similarities/differences between Burgundy and our home here in the Willamette Valley —

One story we can share with you is that morning the sky was hazy in Lyon and the surrounding areas.  Why?  Well, it turns out that when the nights are cold and clear in the spring, the local producers burn hay bales in the vineyards.  We were told that the cold nights can produce a thin layer of ice on the plants, which is not a problem by itself, but can act as a lens focusing the morning sun and scorching the vines.  We’re told a whole harvest can be lost.  So they burn hay to fill the sky with smoke, not to keep the vineyards warm, but to blunt the power of the sunlight.  So now you know.

We did manage a brief wine tasting in Beaune but possibly did not pass the wine connoisseur test we were subjected to by the proprietor.  I think he could tell we didn’t have any real money to spend. But it was fun nonetheless.

We didn’t have enough time in town to explore it, but they do have a nifty display of historic wine making equipment.  The size of the wine presses is quite impressive.

Speaking of the connection between the Willamette Valley and Burgundy, what do we find here?  One of the French families who identified the viticulture opportunity in Oregon, and contributed to making our local wine industry happen! Visit them when you’re in the area.

Domaine Drouhin

Yes, this first week in France was part of a two week trip to the land of cheese, bread and wine.  You can read more here:

Here’s the boat we were on:


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