Oh France! Producer of eight billions bottles and 53 litres of wine per capita a year, France is a wine’s lover dream destination. A plan to visit France and experience its culture is exciting and on many lifetime “must do” lists. So how do you efficiently pack for 80-90 degree days, afternoons in damp wine cellars and dining in cool 60 degree evenings? Consider these packing tips for your next wine excursion!
1. Purchase Travel Electronics
Portable charger Saving those tasting notes is made easier when the phone and camera batteries are fully charged. Consider the Aibocn, the cheap but high quality option, and the AnkerPower Core, with higher price but more perks. Smartphones are life savers when traveling to a new country or city. Store your portable charger in your bag or purse.
Plug adapter & converter Many people don’t know that Europe’s electricity has a higher voltage along with those different sockets than those in the US. Therefore, it is necessary to travel with a and convertor for both you and your travel partner so you can each charge your gadgets.
2. Be Culturally Prepared
Exchange cash for Euros: Don’t forget that France uses Euro currency, not the French Francs.
Key Words & Phrases for Greetings: Study ways to greet people in shops, wineries and restaurants. You’ll be a success with the formal “Bonjour, ça va?”. It is a nice way to say, “Hello, how are you?” The French tend to be respectful and formal at first, if they observe you’re making an effort to speak French and blend into the culture they will appreciate it.
Study Geography: Submerge yourself in the wine culture researching the wine regions and the terroir you will be visiting. Terroir literally translates to earth or soil. However, in this context it is used to describe the soil’s environment and why it is unique and different from others.
3. Pack Tasty Snacks
Pairing charcuterie et fromage with wine is a must, it is the correct way of doing wine-drinking, according to the French. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to pack your own healthy snacks for travel. You never know when your next proper meal will occur. Some options are:
Sealed nuts and dried fruits.
Energy bars: these don’t contain added sugars, soy, gluten, dairy, GMO’s.
4. Consider Clothing Carefully
Wearing light colored clothing (even with perfect manners) is a poor wardrobe choice when wine tasting. Those tasters behind you may not be so well-mannered and spill red Burgundy down the back of your white blouse — or worse your white pants. No wonder the French like navy blue and dark clothing – it hides those red wine droplets!
Pack and wear layers. Many wine regions have sunny days and cool nights. Bringing a combination of “breathable” clothing for the day and a lightweight or a leather jacket for the chilly weather after dusk.
Although France is known for its sophisticated fashion, and you want to look polished, comfortable closed-toe shoes are best. Vineyards are a working business with stainless steel equipment and barrels. WIne cellars can be muddy and slippery; so wear comfortable, sturdy dark colored shoes.
5. The most important tip: Take care of the wine you plan to bring home!
Pack or purchase wine sleevesto protect your souvenir bottles.
Investigate alcohol-transport regulations and print a copy to bring to the airport.
Sophie Echeverry is a marketing manager and event coordinator at Access to Culture. Born and raised in Colombia, with a degree in International Business and Marketing from Hult International Business School in San Francisco. Feel free to connect with Sophie on LinkedIn.