Wine Tasting for Claustrophobics…

Can you believe that I am a bit claustrophobic? It started close to twenty years ago when I was stuck in an elevator in a parking garage at night in the dark and the emergency call phone did not work. Ever since I have been leery of confined spaces and situations where I might be locked in without a window to break out of. Needless to say, centuries old wine cellars can prove to be challenging spaces.

Fortunately for me, the wine cellars both at La Grande Cave and at Gérard Quivy in Burgundy were so fascinating that I was able to overcome my fears and venture down into the cold, dusty, musty spaces to view how the wine is stored. If you are forty-something or older you will recall that the Ernest and Julio Gallo wine commercials ended by saying, “We will sell no wine before its time.” The Gallo wines they were pushing back then bear absolutely no resemblance to these fine Burgundy’s stored in age-old barrels in the Grand Cru region pictured here; French wine makers are a patient folk who I promise will sell no wine before their time!

My recommendations for those who have trouble with small spaces:

1. Only book private small tours and attend with people you know and are comfortable with so you have a support system in case you panic or a friend to wait with you while the rest go down below.

2. When you book, ask if the actual tasting will take place in the cellar so you can choose whether that tour is right for you. Some tastings are held upstairs and there is an optional tour of the cellar you can skip, but still catch up with the rest of your party.

3. Also when you book, ask if the cellar is large enough for you to stand up in – that makes a huge difference to those who feel confined by small spaces.

4. Give yourself a job that will help you focus on the wine rather than the predicament. Be the note taker or photographer for the group so your mind is engaged and focusing on the fun aspects of your excursion.

5. When in doubt, sit it out and ask others to take copious notes for you and photos to share.

All photos property of Weekend In Paris. Must obtain permission before use.

 

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