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Champagne Winemaker Trip with Martin Vander Weyer and Jonathan Ray, Wednesday 26 – Sunday 30 June 2024

After the thundering success of our inaugural Spectator tour of Champagne last year, in 2024 we’re making another effervescent assault on the region as well as undertaking our first trip to Budapest and Tokaj. We plan to head to Bordeaux and Porto & the Douro Valley later in the year, too, with all our trips overseen by luxury travel specialists Kirker Holidays. Do join us!

Having arrived in Lille via Eurostar and transferred by minibus to Reims, we will be based in the perfectly located Hotel de la Paix, where we will enjoy a walking tour of the city and a visit to the cathedral. To get as wide a view on Champagne as possible, we will visit large and small houses, well-established ones and new ones, in the shape of Moët & Chandon, Taittinger, Bollinger, Brimoncourt and Henri Chauvet. We will finish our tour with a shirt-popping dinner in the company of our old friends Pol Roger.

Hosted by business editor Martin Vander Weyer and drinks editor Jonathan Ray

DAY 1 - We head to the Champagne region in the fastest and most convenient way, travelling from St. Pancras by Eurostar to Lille. Here we will be met by our coach for the drive to Reims in the heart of Champagne, arriving mid-afternoon. We will then check into the 4* Hotel de la Paix, which is perfectly located in the centre of the city and will be our base for the duration of the holiday. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax or explore the town. This evening, Jonathan Ray will host an introductory Champagne tasting at the hotel, before dinner together at a local restaurant.

DAY 2 - Today we will have a guided tour of Reims including the magnificent Reims Cathedral, setting for the coronation of many monarchs of France. Late in the afternoon, we visit the beautiful cellars at Taittinger, which date back to the Roman period, before driving to their Château de la Marquetterie near Epernay, where we have a fabulous private dinner.

DAY 3 - This morning we will drive to the historical heart of Champagne in the village of Aÿ, where we will start at the mighty Bollinger, before continuing to Brimoncourt, whose headquarters are located in an old printing works designed by Gustave Eiffel. After a special lunch served in the vineyard with matching Champagnes, we will return to the hotel in the afternoon and the rest of the day will be free in Reims and dinner will be taken independently, or you may wish to join Jonathan and Martin at their choice of restaurant.

DAY 4 - Today we travel to Epernay for a morning visit to the charming small champagne house of Henri Chauvet, where we have a tasting with owners Mathilde and Damien Chauvet. Their traditional chalk cellars were constructed in 1892 and are situated 11 metres below ground, allowing for perfect maturation conditions at a constant temperature of 10˚C. We will then continue to Moët et Chandon, a contrasting titan of the Champagne industry, where we will visit their impressive maison for a tour and tasting. In the evening we will enjoy a celebratory final dinner, which will be hosted by Hubert de Billy, great grandson of Pol Roger himself.

DAY 5 - This morning we will depart the hotel after breakfast for a leisurely drive back to Lille and the lunchtime Eurostar from Lille to London

PRICE £2,974 I SINGLE SUPP. £250

Our prices are per person, based on the shared occupancy of a twin/double room. Supplement for single occupancy as shown. Optional room supplements (subject to availability):


Depart London St Pancras 11:04, arrive Lille 13:26

Depart Lille 15:30, arrive London St Pancras 15:57

Flight times subject to change – regional departures available on request.


Return Eurostar in Standard Premier Class

Transfers and entrance fees throughout

Four nights’ accommodation with breakfast

Three dinners and three lunches with wine

Four wine-tastings at Champagne producers

The services of Spectator writers Martin Vander Weyer and Jonathan Ray, as well as a Kirker tour escort

For information and to book call Patrick Millar at Kirker Travel on 0207 593 2284 or email

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