Get to Know the Vignerons Indépendants

Travel plans to France anytime soon?  Take a look at the Vignerons Indépendants. Pack this info away, maybe you can work a Salon into your schedule!

Amazing opportunity to taste with French vignerons

Amazing opportunity to taste with French vignerons

The Vignerons Indépendants
The Vignerons Indépendants are a trade group of small French winegrowers who banded together for mutual benefit and to encourage maintaining their independence.  As a consumer, why would you care?  Here are a few of their main requirements for membership:

  • Respect their terroir
  • Work and harvest their own vineyard
  • Make the wine themselves
  • Bottle their wine themselves
  • Keep viticultural traditions

I don’t know about you, but I like to spend my dollars (or Euros) on wines made by individuals, not big corporations. Now, how about finding 500+ of them in one room!

Serious wine tasting & buying here!

The choices can be overwhelming…. or 100% exciting!

If you’re lucky, you may find yourself in France during one of their Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants. They schedule several annual multi-day wine shows at various cities in France.  The shows run in the winegrower’s off-season, if there is such a thing, between November and March.  

Le Halle Tony Garnier

Le Halle Tony Garnier

I had the opportunity to visit the Salon in Lyon during our visit at the end of October. The Salon took place in the huge La Halle Tony Garnier, a very large, historic building constructed as a slaughterhouse and cattle market.  Today, it serves as a concert venue & trade show location. So what’s the big deal about a Salon?

  • 500+ Independent Vignerons
  • 5 days (if you want)
  • Pay 6 € for your tasting glass at the entry gate each day
  • Meet the individual winegrowers, talk with them, taste their wines
  • If you like their wines, buy 1 bottle to 20 cases!
A common sight, bulk buys by an enthusiast.

A common sight, bulk buys by an enthusiast.

You can spend the day tasting with no expectation to purchase.  Obviously, easier to be a purchaser if you are local. (click on any photo to see slide show)

Visiting from the States?
As a visitor from the states, there was no expectation I would be buying.  However, once you see the prices compared to what we pay at home, you’ll be trying to figure out how many bottles you can fit in your suitcase. Here are some of the prices (750 ml bottle) I paid for my souvenirs:

  • Cote Rotie – 34 €
  • 1er Cru Chablis “Fourchaume” – 21 €
  • 2008 vintage Grower Champagne – 23 €
  • Bordeaux from the Cote de Blaye – 15 €
Wine as checked luggage

Wine as checked luggage

Getting the Wine Home
Luckily, we have a solution for that! When we travel to France or Italy, I try to plan for bringing some wine home.  With friends in Italy, we have a way to get wines shipped internationally for around 150 € per case.  Without any connections in France, the best I could find was 225 € per case through Mailboxes Etc..  Nice for souvenirs, but that eliminates any savings.  With preparation, you can bring back a case of wine with you as checked luggage on the airplane. Stay tuned for my next post on wine luggage solutions that won’t get you ejected from your family!




11 Responses to “Get to Know the Vignerons Indépendants”
  1. Great article. Thanks for the introduction to Vignerons Independents. Regarding shipping we shipped the wines direct from each winery in Italy. The shipping rate was $10 per bottle. Yesterday I shipped 1 bottle of wine from Dallas to Pennsylvania on UPS Ground for $19.50. With the price of wine in Italy being so less expensive (even w/conversion) and the shipping being so inexpensive it was far better for us to ship direct. We did take a wine suitcase with us to Italy because we were not sure each winery would ship. AA charged us $100 EACH WAY for the suitcase b/c it was our third piece of luggage. We won’t do that again. Shipping direct from the wineries to our UPS Store box is the way to go.

    • Michelle, wow what great shipping rates from the wineries in Italy! I’ve not seen that before. When they do offer shipping, it seems to be from a third party vendor which is very expensive. The wine suitcase success definitely hinges on your ability to avoid that $100 extra bag fee. Two weeks of clothing for me will fit in a roll-aboard size bag, so I can usually avoid the upcharge. Which wine luggage did you use?

      • We used a VinGardeValise. It is very durable and great for transporting wine. The big Italian bottles were a tight fit but due to its triple lock protection a few moved but not enough to be concerning. Each of the Italian wineries did use a 3rd party shipping company and that was the price. I even received very kind emails from the shipping company with dates and tracking info. Very profession. We will order again direct from now on. Cheers

  2. Next time you’re back in Europe let me know, my company has the number one rated wine tour in Bordeaux, will sort you out!

  3. I went to Le Salon a couple of years ago and it was amazing! Looks like you had a great time. Be sure to include VinGarde Valise in your review of shipping options!

  4. What a fantastic experience – how many days did you do?

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] in Lyon.  Julie and I met them at our recent visit which (luckily for me!) coincided with the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants. Not only did we get to meet over dinner, we had the opportunity to purchase some of their wine at […]

  2. […] luck I had the opportunity to attend the Vignerons Indépendants Salon in Lyon, France in both 2015 and just recently, 2016. The Salon is an annual multi-day event where over 500 independent growers […]

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