Frequently Asked Questions

What level of knowledge do I need to get the most out of the holiday?

We cater to clients at all levels of wine tasting experience. Interest and enthusiasm is more important than technical knowledge. Our groups are small so there is plenty of opportunity for any novices to “catch up”” with the tour tutor. Each holiday starts with a refresher briefing on the Systematic Approach to Tasting – the method used by the world renowned Wine and Spirit Educational Trust. This ensures that all guests share a common language for tasting during the holiday.

What qualifications do you have to provide wine education courses?

I have been teaching and training for many years in my other life as a director of a media agency; have successfully run wine tasting courses in the UK; and I hold the Wine and Spirit Educational Trust’s highest qualification… the Diploma. I am an Associate of the Wine and Spirit Association and a WSET approved wine instructor.

What wine is included in the holiday?

We include a lot of fine wine in the cost of your holiday! : all wines tasted as part of our morning briefings in the atelier; all wines tasted during domaine visits; all wines tasted . . . and drunk! . . . with meals at La Madelène (many bottles from my personal cellar); all wines selected by me to accompany restaurant meals.

Guests will taste up to 50 different wines in the course of a 3 night stay

Will I be able to buy wine?

If you are coming to us by car then the only limit is the size of your boot! Unfortunately, plane travellers will struggle given hand luggage restrictions on liquids and hold luggage weight limits etc. We can however help with having your wine shipped door to door via our relationship with Wineflite (www.wineflite.com). We will provide you with full details on arrival.

What is the pace of the course?

In the design of our itineraries we aim to balance as many great tasting experiences and Domaine visits as possible, with ample opportunities for you to relax and enjoy your stay in Provence with us. We limit Domaine visits accordingly to 3 per day – most days have only 2 scheduled. These visits last about 90 minutes. Make sure you have some comfortable shoes. We have air conditioning and cool water in the car. There is no rush to the start of the day – we always make time for meals which are an important feature of your holiday. Our atelier briefings and tutored tastings commence around 9:30am after a leisurely breakfast. You will have time to wind down, swim or just chill at the end of each day before dinner.

What free time will I have for relaxation and sightseeing?

We try to put as much as possible into your holiday so you get as much as possible out of it. But this includes time to relax each day at La Madelène, in the garden, by the pool, in your room or around the house. We have books and magazines for you to borrow in french and in english. The well known author Marie Cardinal lived in the house before us so you might like to read some of her work. We have English translations, original French versions, and easy to read French versions of her novels. All rooms have internet access but not televisions because we feel your stay at La Madelène should be a retreat from the outside world as much as possible.

What will the weather be like?

This is a notoriously tricky one to answer. The weather can be extreme in Provence and can vary remarkably from one day to another. Having said that we do have clearly defined seasons. It will be very hot in the summer months and it will snow for a day or two in the winter months. At La Madelène you will find roaring wood fires when it is cold and shady trees to sit under in the summer heat. The thick walls, well over a meter thick in parts will also keep out the elements.

What is there for my partner to do when I am on a course?

Partner guests can make full use of our garden, library and pool. We will advise on local walks or cycle rides as well as sight seeing/shopping in nearby Vaison La Romaine, Carpentras, Nyons etc. Partners will of course participate in all La Madelène meals offered to full paying guests as well as evening restaurant meals. You can make yourself at home in the garden, by the pool, in your room or around the house. We have books and magazines for you to borrow in french and in english. The well-known author Marie Cardinal lived in the house before us so you might like to read some of her work. We have english translations, original french versions, and easy to read french versions of her novels. All rooms have internet access but not televisions because we feel your stay at La Madelène should be a retreat from the outside world as much as possible.

How do I get to La Madelène?

Find your way to the village of Malaucene via the D938 from Carpentras (travelling north) or from Vaison-La-Romaine (if you are travelling south). At the northern end of the wide cafè-lined boulevard (the Cours D’Isnard) that dominates the village of Malaucène you will find a turning onto the D242 signposted to Hameau de Vaux. Take this road for c.2 kilometres until you see a small signpost marked Domaine Champ-Long. Turn left onto this road and after a bend you will come to a small bridge which you need to drive over. Do not turn left after the bridge but continue up and over an incline with olive groves to your right. Coming down the other side and watch carefully for the La Madelène sign beside an enormous oak tree directing you down the driveway to the house. If you have reached the caveau of Domaine de Champ Long sorry but you’ve over shot! Turn around and look for the La Madelène turning this time on your right.

For parties travelling together (4+ guests) arriving at a single location we can provide a pick up/drop off service using our own transport. Let us know in advance of your plans.

Where will I stay during my holiday?

You will stay in one of our bedrooms with ensuite bath/shower room. Each room has its own distinctive style; many have wonderful views of the garden and surrounding mountains. All are decorated and furnished simply but with an eye to detail, and in keeping with local Provencal tradition. However your bedroom is only one component of the pleasure of staying at La Madelène. We want you to feel at home here and enjoy relaxing on one of the many terraces, by our pool, or perhaps sitting in the cool browsing a book from our library.

What meals are included?

This includes all breakfasts at La Madelène which will be typically french: bread, pastries, homemade conserves, local fruit and freshly pressed juice. Lunches will either be at La Madelène, a picnic lunch prepared at La Madelène, or at a restaurant en route to a Domaine. Evening meals will be at La Madelène, or at a restaurant. Cooled bottles of water, coffee, tea, etc. will be available throughout the day. There is an “honesty bar”” located next to our pool. Restaurant meals and wines will be selected by us in advance, so please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements and please read the answer below. If you want to order other food, wine, or spirits at the restaurant you will need to pay for it yourself.

I have special dietary requirements, can you accommodate me?

As far as possible we will try to accommodate special dietary needs. But the food served at La Madelène is typical of the region and so to a certain extent is defined by the produce, lovely as it is, available. Also visiting local restaurants is an integral part of your holiday. Many French restaurants are famously incapable of understanding the concept of vegetarianism, but we can work around this. Please get in touch to talk about your dietary needs, so that you can enjoy your holiday. So if you are a vegetarian, or eat fish but not meat, or can’t eat shellfish, or are allergic to wheat, dairy, or gluten, please drop us a line when you are thinking of booking your holiday.

Is there wheelchair access at La Madelène?

Unfortunately wheelchair access is extremely limited, as La Madelène is a typical Provencal country house. It has been extended over the centuries and therefore steps and changes in level are an integral feature of the building. So we regret that we are not able to offer our holidays to wheelchair users.

What is included in the price of the holiday?

Your holiday price includes your accommodation, all breakfasts, lunches and meals taken at La Madelène or meals at restaurants mentioned in the detailed itineraries, tutored tastings and briefings at La Madelène, and guided tours of all domaines. You only need to bring cash for souvenirs and any wine purchases!

What is not included in the price of the holiday?

Transfers to and from La Madelène are not included in the total price – we can, however, help with organising hire cars or taxis. For parties travelling together (4+ guests) arriving at a single location we can provide a pick up/drop off service using our own transport. Let us know in advance of your plans.

At restaurants meals are pre-selected carefully by ourselves though there is always a choice for each course – If you want to order A La Carte, extra wine other drinks, you will need to pay for this yourself.

How can I pay?

The easiest way to pay the deposit is by Paypal or credit card on-line. For balances we much prefer direct wire (bank transfer) with all bank charges paid by the purchaser. We will send you details of our bank account for this transaction. It is possible to pay the balance on-line via Paypal/card but we ask for a 2.5% supplement to share bank charges which often exceed 5% depending on type of card. There is no supplement charged for the deposit by Paypal/card

How can I contact you?

Contact us directly with any questions at:
email: rhonewineholidays@googlemail.com
telephone: + 33 490 62 19 33
mobile: + 33 675788497
address: La Madelène, Route d’Entrechaux, 84340, Malaucéne, France

What are the Terms & Conditions?

Deposit

To reserve your three night holiday we require a deposit of 300 euros per person , 100 euros per person (1 day/night tours), payable at the time of booking. No deposits are payable on day tours. If booking is less than 40 days before the start date of the holiday payment must be made in full at the time of booking. The cost of the holiday is the price on the website at time of booking.

Deposit payment must be in euros by Paypal or credit card. Once you receive your confirmation e-mail your holiday is booked and the contract between yourselves and La Madelène Rhone Wine Holidays comes into force. The client must notify the company within fourteen days if the confirmation email does not confirm accurately the client’s reservation. The contract between the company and the client and any matters arising from it are subject to French law.

Payment out of balance

The outstanding balance between the deposit and the full cost of the holiday must be paid 40 days or more prior to the start of the holiday. Payment by bank transfer ( see above) or by card/Paypal with a 2.5% supplement. Cash is an alternative.

Alterations by you

Where possible we will try to accommodate any changes you wish to make in your booking. But please below regarding cancellations.

Alterations by us

We have carefully organised our holidays but from time to time it may be necessary to alter certain aspects such as restaurants or domains visited. In this case we will find other suitable alternatives of comparable standard and so we reserve the right to make certain changes to the itinerary of our holidays without notice. However we will try to inform you of minor changes before your holiday starts.

Liability

We want you to have a safe and enjoyable holiday with us and will endeavor to do what we can to that end. La Madelène Rhone Wine Holidays is a SARL, a limited liability company subject to the laws of France. Our legal liability extends to us using reasonable skill and care in the provision of services and facilities and to being appropriately and adequately insured and controlled according to the laws of France.

Important

Cancellation by you

If we receive notification from you or one of your party cancelling your booking more than 60 days before the start date of the holiday, the relevant deposit paid will be returned to you less an administration charge of 50 euros per booking. Cancellation by you after the balance has been paid at 40 days prior forfeits 50% of the balance paid. If you cancel within 10 days of arrival we retain 100% of the balance paid. We need to impose this as our tours require considerable advance organization ( securing private appointments with vignerons).

Cancellation by us

We reserve the right to cancel your holiday although this will only happen in extremely rare and unavoidable circumstances. Should this happen, we will notify you as soon as possible and give you the option of booking any other available holiday with us, or a full refund. We do not have a policy of cancelling holidays due to low bookings.

Insurance

In the event of a cancellation made by either party, we will not be liable for any other costs beyond the cost of the holiday incurred or arising from that cancellation and we very strongly advise you to obtain travel and cancellation insurance. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have valid travel and medical insurance

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