When you want to visit a real small cognac producer, it is best to make a phonecall in advance. They are not always around, for instance when there is work to do in the vineyards. If you don’t want to phone upfront for whatever reason, you still have a good chance that people will receive you, but no guarantee. The somewhat bigger bouilleurs de cru sometimes have a shop that will be open at the normal opening hours, so an advance phonecall is not required.
On the web-pages of the cognac-producers (Brands and Producers > The Brands) I have put the address and phonenumbers and also if there is a possibility to visit them in the first place.
From my own experience I can say that the people of Charente are very friendly and always welcome a person who wants to know some more about their beautiful product of which they are very proud. There are a lot of vinegrowers though that do only speak very little English. So it is best to not assume rightaway that you can speak English to them, but first ask them if they understand the language.
Payed visits and free visits
It is different for the major firms: they of course do speak English. They receive a lot of visitors each day and have their business organized accordingly. These visits are usually not for free. But they are worth your money.
The small winegrowers will sometimes receive you in a separate tasting room, but more often than not, in one of the rooms in their house or in the distillery or storageroom. Some of them will offer to show you around.
Afterwards it is nice of course when you buy at least a bottle, specially when they have given you more than a little of their valuable time.
Guided tours at the big firms
Not all of the major houses have visits. The ones that do are ususally payed guided tours. Besides the tours there is often a shop, so you can can take a look around and maybe buy a bottle without having to take the tour.
The tours vary between the houses. Usually they start with a one hour tour for something around €10 to €20, but they also offer luxury tours up to a staggering €1.000 at Rémy Martin. For that money you get a 7 hour tour and you get to taste the famous Louis XIII.
The information is sometimes a bit difficult to find on their websites, so I put tours of the most famous houses here for you, but be carefull. I put this information here on November 2016 and prices and programs can change quite often. For several of these tours you have to make a reservation!
Courvoisier in Jarnac
- classic tour: €12 – €36 (1 hour)
- spotlight on our history: €70 (2,5 hours, min. 2 pers.)
- historic blends: €110 (4 hours, min. 4 pers)
- from grape to glass visit: €250 (7 hours, min. 4 pers.)
- Gourmet: €180 (4,5 hours, min. 4 pers.)
- Paris Golden Age visit: price on request (3 hours, in Paris)
Camus in Cognac
- Discover workshop: price? (1 hour)
- Classic visite: €8,50
- Connoisseur visit: €18 – €22
- Rarissimes visit: €80
- Master Blender workshop: €160 (2 hours)
- Tailor made: price on request
Hennessy in Cognac
- Signature visit: €16 (1,5 hours)
- XO Symbole visit: €30 (1,5 hours)
- Exception visit: €56 (2 hours)
- A la carte visit: €120 (4-8 hours)
Martell in Cognac
- visits on request
Meukow in Cognac
- Visit individuelle: €10
- Déjeuner visit: €28,50
Otard in Cognac
- Discovery of the chateau: €10 (1 hour)
- Prestige visit: €20
- Heart of the chateau: €45
- Tribute visit: €120
Rémy Martin in Cognac
- A snapshot of Rémy Martin: €20
- Stopover at the historic house: €45 (2 hours)
- Discover the estate by train €18 (1,5 hour)
- Cocktails creation: €100 (2 hours)
- Gourmet Tasting Experiment: €100 (2 hours)
- The Rémy Martin Essential: €100 (3 hours)
- About Chocolate: €100 (2 hours)
- About the Blending: €100 (2 hours)
- About Centaure de Diamant: €100 (2 hours)
- At Lunchtime: €185 (4 hours)
- Double Distillation in the Distillery: €130 (4 hours)
- Rémy Martin after Work: €35 (2 hours)
- Seminar: €130 (6-8 hours)
- Introduction to Louis XIII: €250 (2 hours)
- The Louis XIII Experience: €1.000 (6 hours)