Wine & Food Academy

Article from 02-08-2006

In AOC Lirac, 17th Century wine estate Château de Clary is a well kept secret.

However, sheltered by vines and forest yet close to the A9 motorway, it’s now the Wine & Food Academy’s headquarters and premises.

Luxury and technology feel at home among the old walls of its arched rooms, cellars and stables. The estate manages to carry a torch for winegrowing tradition while offering introductory and advanced learning courses based on the art and love of wine.

Under Jean-Jacques Verda’s watchful eye - skilled winemaker, former president of the AOC and Grand-Master of the Lirac wine brotherhood (created in 1997 to celebrate the appellation’s 50th birthday) – the following are laid on all year round:

- wine & food pairing adventure,
- dinners with winegrowers,
- wine appreciation tasting courses – with an optional “blending game” letting you make your own wine,
- visits to nearby wineries and vineyards.

The rooms are perfect for hosting seminars and other group activities.

In addition, the château plays host to the world’s wine trade for meetings.

Besides wine, these activities add olive oil to the mix.

Jean-Jacques Verda is also keen on spicing the year up with gala events:

- launch of primeur or nouveau wines (weekend following the 3rd Thursday in November) with a tasting of the 10 best competition-winning primeurs,

- wine festival (around Ascension, usually Thursday in late May), something French viticulture can’t do without – and in late November for the trade,

- the annual themed tasting (this year: Rhône varieties worldwide)

Useful info and dates on their site:

Lirac website:

And for a good night’s sleep, have a rest and attend cooking classes, we heard about a place to stay on the grapevine and its name won’t put you off either: "Jardin de Bacchus" in Tavel.

Christine Chapot - Erik van Greuningen
Rue de Tourtouil - 30126 Tavel
Tel/fax: +33(0)4 66 90 28 62 - email:

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