Le Tasting Room is a small Loire wine tour company close to Amboise and Tours run by Cathy & Nigel Henton, English wine professionals with 35 years experience of working in the wine trade both in France and the UK. Tours and tastings start from our countryside home in a little village called Noizay, in the heart of the Vouvray appellation or from central Amboise.
I fell in love with wine shortly after I left school and spent my career in the UK working for a number of large wine & spirit companies before setting up my own business specialising in wine education. In 2003 I had the desire to improve my practical skills so returned to study for a further 2 years at Plumpton College (attached to the University of Brighton). I have the WSET Diploma Level 4 (1986) and a Higher National Diploma in Wine Studies (Viticulture & Oenology 2005). As well as running our wine education and tour company I’m export manager for Lionel Gosseaume and work part time for Vincent Carême during the summer months.
I spent 15 years working in agriculture and agricultural research but harboured a secret passion for wine. In 2003 I retrained in viticulture at Plumpton College and went on to run the Breaky Bottom Vineyard in Sussex under the guidance of Peter Hall. I have the WSET Advanced Certificate and a National Certificate in Farm Management. As well as working alongside Cathy I also work for a number of growers on the viticulture side.
Why come on a Loire wine tour with us?
We’re well qualified. With 35 years experience in the English and French wine trade as well as qualifications in vine growing, winemaking, the sales and service of wine we lead all the tours and tastings ourselves.
We share a little of our lives with you and love to learn all about yours. It’s an exchange of cultures, lives, personal stories and a shared love of wine.
You’ll have lots of fun and learn loads too. As we only work with very small groups our days are highly personal but informal and we can gear the tasting to suit any level.
You come as clients and leave as friends and for us this is the biggest pleasure of all.
During the morning Cathy leads a tutored tasting of 6 different wines from 6 appellations. Most tours only focus on one region (if you are in Sancerre you’ll only taste Sancerre!). This means you’ll come away with a greater understanding of the region as a whole and have tasted wines from at least 7 different producers during the day.
You’ll enjoy a home cooked lunch prepared and served by us. We use our own herbs and salads from the garden and our cheese is sourced from the speciality cheese shop France Fromages in the covered market Les Halles in Tours.
Our wine tours are ‘slow’ tours. We take our time and enjoy the peace and tranquility of living in the Loire valley.. We enjoy a lazy lunch and do just one winery visit in the afternoon. You can rest assured that after a whole morning tasting wine with Cathy this is more than enough.
And if you’d like to spend a little more time here with us that can be arranged too. An extra day or two of winery visits is a lovely way to consolidate all that you’ll have learnt with us.