I. Business Name and what it does
The name of the business is a mix between the opportunity of free domain name (Bordeaux and châteaux) and the will to create a meaningful name. People who want to visit Bordeaux in France must have seen the beautiful and rich vineyards around the city. So, I decided to name the site:
The site was created and launched at the end of 2019 (in December). But COVID 19 became a pandemic on 11 march 2020. Of course, It has been very difficult for us to maintain a wine tour site without any activities for two years during the crisis but we never stopped believing in our wine tourism activity. Bordeaux-chateaux is both linked to my family history and to my will to explore the rich inheritance of the terroir of Bordeaux.
Château Lilian Ladouys in Médoc
I wish to offer visits worthy of the image of France and Bordeaux with a great generosity.
I want to offer and share the opportunity to experience the warmth of these famous Châteaux.
For instance, some trees of the vineyard at Pessac Léognan were planted by Thomas Jefferson himself. The large pacamiers of Thomas Jefferson are still stand in the courtyard of the chateau Carbonnieux
Château Carbonnieux in Pessac-Léognan
II. Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business
- Founder’s story
I was working as business engineer in scada systems and I decided to pass my exams of professor of economics (In French « agrégation »). After several years of teaching economics in the Medoc, I was hired at Gustave Eiffel High school at the center of Bordeaux, France. I think it was the « maturation » of the years which pushed me to create Bordeaux-chateaux. The fusion of the different vineyards of Bordeaux.
My family comes from the vineyard before. The wine is a very strong symbol. Not only because of the tradition but also thanks to the brotherhood it involves. So, after a life of teaching economics, I have decided to share the great value of the vineyards and of the wine. It’s also about the men and the women who create pure master piece of humanity.
The most difficult part is to name sensations in visiting vineyards and particularly “châteaux” of Bordeaux. It’s the same when tasting some wine. A glass of wine is composed of 300 different molecules, so, it is very difficult to name the different sensations, aromas, colors. You have to be focused and have a repertoire of words that allows you to characterize a wine and all the work of the men and women who created it.
III. The challenges the business/market is facing
The wine tours are numerous in Bordeaux vineyards. My main purpose was to offer quality wine tours on a market dominated by great companies and firms. It was also to show how to manage a wine tour company to my students. It’s a bit like the story of David against Goliath. How to create ex-nihilo a wine tour company from scratch with the most modern technics. And also, how to survive to big crisis such AS the COVID and challenge the competitors.
It’s also to improve my practice of professor of economics with real market and not a wonderful world of dreaming companies…which is not the reality.
Château Pédesclaux in Pauillac
- Global warming and the impact on the vineyards
The châteaux of Bordeaux are impacted by global warming but they are working to find solutions. The châteaux innovate in their architecture to resist in the increase in temperatures (château Lynch-Bages in Pauillac, La Dominique in Saint Emilion for instance…). New cellars built deep underground allow temperatures to be managed without energy. Wine elevators make it possible not to use pumps and to use gravity INSTEAD. Châteaux give us an example of the direction to follow in terms of ecological transition.
- Sensitization with respect for age old growing traditions
Oenological visits or wine tours are the best way to show millennia old cultivation and wine making methods. These have crossed the ages to give us sublime wines that tell us the history of this old country that is France IS.
- French paradox
- The history of French paradox
Regular and moderate consumption of red wine would prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases. Because of the Resveratrol, a compound from the polyphenol family, contained in certain wines, which is particularly protective. More generally, the potentially beneficial action of polyphenols present in red wine are the cause of this beneficial action.
- A way of life
In the south west of France, people are used to drinking wines. They have a heart attack rate four times lower than in the United States and a life expectancy which exceeds by 10 years that of the inhabitants of the north-east of France.
Château Franc Mayne in Saint-Emilion
IV. The opportunities the business/market is facing
- Wine tour market in Bordeaux
Bordeaux was very attractive before the COVID crisis. 6.8 million annual visits
estimated in 2018 in the Bordeaux vineyards
(Made by tourists, excursionists and professionals). There was a strong rebound in 2020 with fewer foreign tourists and more French people due to THE COVID CRISIS and THE health restrictions. The Bordeaux vineyard is still very attractive to tourists who visit and taste our wines. The most attractive vineyard is mainly Saint Emilion, Pomerol. Bordeaux-chateaux.com
Château Cos d’Estournel in Médoc
- The project
The project was to offer wine tours which would respect the will of the tourists and above all present the châteaux in an original and unusual way through new itineraries with visit formats adapted to everyone. That’s why we have decided to offer gourmet breaks in the parks of the châteaux. Photo pique nique
But we only offer this to customers who want to immerse themselves in a French way of life in the châteaux. People who do not want to busloads of visitors. These are private tours.
Deux chevaux Citroën in front of a château in Médoc
- To promote the most beautiful wine area: Saint Emilion, Pessac-Léognan, Médoc
For this we created tours driving through the vineyards in the iconic Citroen 2 horses. We can board four people by vehicle and we have adapted the number of vehicles to the number of visitors.
We offer these wine tours on the three historic terroirs of Bordeaux. We are able to organize wine tours on these vineyards with all the châteaux that can receive us.
2 Women wine tours
a. One of the objectives of Bordeaux-chateaux.com is to offer wine tours of chateaux managed by women. Men and women do not make wine the same way. There are many ways of making wine but they bring a typicality, a sweetness which enriches the range of flavors of wine. It is a real treasure by the variety of colors and tastes that complement each other. It is one more richness in Bordeaux wine. It must be highlighted so that visitors can enjoy it
b. Customers can also be segmented and we are able to work with networks of businesswomen wishing to create team building activities or business exchanges.
A real dynamic around business networks and wine adding wine to its anchoring in the culture makes it possible to untie the energies.
Château Grand Corbin à Saint Emilion
V. Advice to others about business
- Never give up
The idea of Bordeaux-chateaux.com, to centralize visits to “châteaux” and to segment these visits to bring the best visits to customers from all over the world of historic terroirs was destroyed by the covid crisis. But we didn’t give up and continued our communication work on these unique wines and terroirs. We knew we had to keep on working.
We want to demonstrate this through the vitality of our visits and the dynamism of our activity.
On the Bordeaux wine market place, it is difficult to find a place. You have to be tenacious and obstinate. I have these qualities. The objective is also to learn how to build the most beautiful wine tours to offer unforgettable memories.
- Bordeaux-chateaux is a business but also a start up to show my students they can gain confidence.
One of my goals was also to show that a teacher could create an activity with the keys he teaches. It was, of course, with a grin that I was welcomed into my classroom. But as time went by, I got more and more respect from them. This allows me to be in contact with the market and to teach the latest techniques proven by the market.
- Tame your dreams
I taught for years in the most famous terroir of Bordeaux, in Pauillac and my frequent trips to these prestigious vineyards have rekindled the ancestral flame that has driven me to create the most beautiful wine tours.
Family traditions have led me to create original wine tours to share these secrets of chateaux and wine cellars.
My goal is to share these wine secrets so that visitors can benefit from thousands of years of love for the land, the vines and the wine.
But for that, you need a real work on yourself to unlace the energies and redeploy them in the desired direction. You have to develop real empathy to know what visitors want and bring them to the most beautiful wine tasting sites with the most prestigious and original vineyards.
So, welcome to Bordeaux-chateaux.com
The best wine tours in Bordeaux!
Laurent Lagaillardie and Lucie in front of the château Balestard La tonnelle in Saint Emilion