French Wine Society Membership Giveaway!

Vinted on June 4, 2013 binned in giveaways

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. Thanks for the awesome responses! I’ve contacted the winners via email, so they’ll be enjoying some French wine learnings in short order. For those who did NOT win but are still interested in an FWS membership, the French Wine Society has graciously offered to supply a discount code. If you order a membership via their website and use the discount code “winedude” (all lower case, no quotation marks) during checkout, you’ll get a 10% discount on your purchase. The discount code expires on June 30th, so get cracking!


This week, I’m partnering with the venerable French Wine Society, purveyors of well-regarded wine education, certifications and study trips, for one of the biggest giveaways we’ve had to date here on 1WD!

We’ll be giving away five (!) one-year memberships to the French Wine Society, valued at $100 each. Membership in the FWS gives you access to wine education webinars produced by some of the top Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers in the business, a guide to pronunciation of French wine terms (that one, for my money, is worth the admission price alone), and discounted pricing on their on-line study programs and exams, among other benefits.

In addition to offering cred-building certifications (such as the The French Wine Scholar Study & Certification Program and several Master-Level programs for regions like Burgundy, Bordeaux and Languedoc-Roussillon), FWS also coordinates wine immersion study trips throughout France. I’m particularly interested in the latter, as anyone who knows 1WD knows that I’ve long espoused that to really understand wine, book knowledge has to be combined with travel and tasting wine in its proper feet-in-the-vineyard context (butt-numbing plane rides be damned!).

Here’s how the giveaway will work, eligible to any reader who is of legal drinking age, and is not possessed by a parasitic alien being controlling their every thought and action while biding its time to try to take over our planet:

  • Leave a comment on this post telling us what French wine region you’d most like to visit and/or learn more about, and why.
  • You’ll have until Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8PM ET, after which I will draw the names of five (!) lucky winners who will each receive a one-year FWS membership.

By the way, for me the answer is now Champagne – have never been there, and in retrospect that seems… just… silly that it hasn’t happened yet. Followed closely by Corsica (Vermentino FTW, beeatches!) and Burgundy (because… well, duh!). Can’t wait to see what you all come up with for this.

Cheers – and good luck!





  • William H

    I'm feeling rhonely! Many of my favorite wines are Rhone varieties. With cooler climates making great Rhone variety wines, I'd like to visit the origin of my favorite wines to see how the originals make their own.

  • Myrna E Arroyo

    Alsace – I love the wines and hear it is very beautiful!

  • Steve Gross

    The Rhone, especially Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Love that MSG!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, all. I've got an Alsace trip in the works for later this year, I'm pretty stoked to be getting back there.

  • The Drunken Cyclist

    Tough to chose just one! I will go with the Rhone since, well, I have only been there briefly–not nearly enough time to drink through all the wine….

    • 1WineDude

      Masi – give me some of the older wines from that awesome cellar of yours and I’ll consider taking you with me the next time I get an invite…

  • Kathy Sullivan

    I'd love to visit Alsace for the wines and because my ancestors are from that region.

    • 1WineDude

      Kathy – can you submit a family tree in support of that statement? ;-)

  • Beth

    I was a French major in college and have taught French for 24 years. I had my first wine moment in Beaune when I was 21 years old, traveling with my classmates by motor coach back to Paris from the University of Provence in Aix-en-Provence where we had spent five weeks studying French. I had no idea of the significance of Beaune, I just remember staying at a small inn with the vineyards surrounding it, and the wine was flowing at dinner like it was water. It was like no wine I had ever had. So I would like to visit Burgundy, if given the opportunity, and create a new wine moment.

    • 1WineDude

      Beth – if you go, try to school them on their own language and get out on video. After it goes viral, don’t forget us little guys :-)

  • @JeffIsRad

    I'd like to go to Bordeaux so I can get me one of them Chateaus.

    • 1WineDude

      Jeff – by any chance are you a Chinese billionaire?

  • Thomas Carpenter

    Alsace, Was there in a little town called Rickwier(sp?) many years ago when I was to young to appreciate wine. I'd love to go back and have a do over now!

    • 1WineDude

      Thomas – nice!

  • Mike

    It's hard to pick just one. The only region in France that I've already visited is St. Emilion. While it was an amazing trip and I'd love to go back, I need to get to other regions before I go back there. I'd probably say that Burgundy would be first on my list. As a self proclaimed wine geek, I don't know Burgundy as well as I should. What better way to learn about the different communes in Burgundy than to tour them, right?

    • 1WineDude

      Mike – I feel the same way, in terms of never having been to the Burg.

  • @fatcork

    Burgundy!! I've never been and since we love the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes that go into our Champs, it would be great to see them growing in another French region. And as for traveling to Champagne, Joe, first you need to get a sitter so that you can take Mrs. Dudette. Then reach out to us as we will hook you up with all the necessary info on where to stay and eat and visit!! -Cheers!

    • 1WineDude

      @fatcork – I like that idea!

  • Christine Willard

    Been to Burgundy, Champagne, etc (several wine areas of France) The reason I would like to go back to Alsace-Lorraine is that in researching my heritage (always was told I was German, Scotch-Irish & Welsh) I find I might have come from Alsace Lorraine area (which the French say is French but the Germans still say those provinces are German). *** Spent 2 days in Colmar in 1989 studying post-grad French through the University of Wisconsin off campus class and had DEJA-VU for those two days. Was in Strasbourg, Ribeauville, & Turckheim, etc. *** However I keep being drawn to Colmar, Frankfort (lived outside Frankfort for a year), Basel (was married in Basel, Switzerland) & my grandparents emigrated through Zurich to US. ** Grew up in Western Pa which has a large contingent of German and Alsace Lorraine immigrants. I would love to know everything about food and wine in area. Have a food blog & would like to know more about the wines and food.

    • 1WineDude

      Christine – wow. Kind of spooky in that I’m in eastern pa, also not without those influences, and will be getting back to Alsace later this year.

  • Marie

    The south for me, Provence, Languedoc…lovely, accessible wines and centuries of dramatic history in practically every stone and wall.
    Or Champagne – no reason needed! Or Anjou, or Beaune…
    Oh, who am I kidding – anywhere and everywhere!

    • 1WineDude

      Marie – nice! Bumming that I recently had to turn down a trip to that area.

  • @peterjalig

    Joe, it would have to be the Loire, source of my favorite white wines: the Sauvignon Blanc of Sancerre, Quincy, Reuilly; the Chenin Blanc of Vouvray. If I had the chance to visit, I would try to understand what gives those wines their unique characteristics. I love the minerality of the Sancerres, and that honeyed bruised apple note in the Vouvrays. With WSET Diploma exams looming, I'd love to have access to the Society's knowledge. Thanks for offering this to your readers!

    • 1WineDude

      Peter – I fell in love with those wines when visiting the (then snowy!) region last year.

  • Mary

    Hands down Champagne!! I've only been once and it was just a day trip to Epernay, which is obviously not enough for someone who loves her bubbles as much as I do! Cheers

    • 1WineDude

      Mary – thanks. High on my list also.

  • WineWonkette

    I've been to the Alsace (unfortunately was not a wine drinker at the time.) Love the South of France. But I have not been to Margaux. I took French through Junior high, high school and college, but the French "immersion" house closed right before I was a junior – so I didn't get to fully hone my speaking skills. I would love a membership to the French Wine Society to brush up on wine, culture and the language. Bonne Journee!

    • 1WineDude

      WW – nice pick!

  • Sassodoro

    So many wonderful wine regions in France! But for me I'd have to say Burgundy because the region is so complex and subtle. I don't feel I have anything close to an adequate understanding of it. So there!

    • 1WineDude

      Sassodoro – you’re in good company there!

  • eva p

    I think I'd prefer to get off the beaten path and visit a region like Jura. I've tasted so many interesting and unusual French wines from there. And Burgundy is close by.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks Eva. I was wondering when we were going to see that one pop up.

  • talkavino

    Wow, you got some list going here, Joe : )

    I would go to Jura first ( some of the most fascinating wines in France, in my opinion, are made in Jura), followed by Loire (great diversity, and I love Cab Franc), and then Burgundy (yeah, don't need to explain this one).


  • @StevePaulo

    I would visit Sauternes. Bordeaux in general, but Sauternes in particular. I've been fascinated by botrytis cinerea ever since I heard about it, and moreso since my first sip of Chateau d'Yquem. They'd be first on my itinerary!

    Plus it's near Pomerol and a certain Merlot on my bucket list…

  • Rohit Arora

    I would love to visit the BUBBLE-land and it's near-by BURGUNDY region. Bubbles make me happy and BURGUNDY brings nostalgia of the days when i studied oenology and viticulture in New Zealand. The first grapes i grew in my university vineyard was PINOT NOIR and always wanted to visit it's home land BURGUNDY.


  • Tommy Goff

    I would love to cruise the Loire Valley

  • Mario Ramos

    I would like to go to Bordeax

  • Frank

    I'd love to visit Burgundy — my first, "Oh, wow," moment with wine involved my first sip of a White Burgundy. Until then, I thought all whites were simple Pino Grigio's produced for the American palate. My mind was opened! Then, I leaned about how fickle the Pinot Noir is; love is required to grow this.

    Ah, so much to learn!

  • wineFD

    I would go for tbe Loire…so many different appelations, melon, chenin, cab franc, savignon blanc, and from the coast to the country!

  • Kylemue

    I would like to check out Burgundy as well, but I'm not too picky great things can be found anywhere.

    • 1WineDude

      Great stuff, folks. Lots of love for champagne and burgundy. Keep it coming!

  • barrelthief

    I want to visit Provence, France to purchase Chateau Minuty. A 21 year old French intern came through our work once and brought this lovely bottle of rose for us to drink and we got into a lengthy discussion on the preferences of French wine drinkers our age v.s wine drinkers our age in France. I hope to visit and taste through this region someday to see what the area has to offer beyond this one wine.

    • 1WineDude

      Barrel thief – that’s a pretty cool intern to have…

  • Donn Rutkoff

    Hard to pick among Champagne, Alsace, & Burgundy. Burgundy wins. I work retail, like to say Cabernet is King, but Pinot noir is magic. I spent 1 1/2 days in Beaune a few years ago, and loved the cassisim candies as much as visiting the cellars of Simon Bize, Camille Giroud, and M Voarick. Can't imagine visiting LeFlaive and Faiveley, walking the pathwys at DRC, meeting the daughters of the great Dr. George Mugneret, and the allure of Chambolle Amoureuses. And since there is some bubbly made there, it reaches in direction of Champagne. But if I visit, I might not come back. I can learn enough French to get by . . .

    • 1WineDude

      Donn, sounds like a visit to an enchanted land! Nice…

  • Jonathan C. Zeiger

    I'd like to visit and learn more about Burgundy. Recently was introduced to White Burgundy, and OH. MY. GOD. Talk about a revelation, the apple crispness was amazing and I just wanted more. I still need to delve more into Red Burgundy as well, I just don't know nearly enough about it!!

    • 1WineDude

      Jonathan – yeah. Chablis is the bomb. But I rarely (OK, never) turn down a chance for white Burg in general.

  • Joelle Haddad

    Bordeaux, mainly Pessac-Leognan for its powerful and complex tannins (ex: domaine du chevalier), Saint-Julien for its elegance (ex: Leoville las cases) and Pauillac for its strong character (ex: pontet canet)

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Joelle

  • Billy Powell

    Chateauneuf-du-Pape…. need I say more?

    • 1WineDude

      Who’s down with cdp (yah you know me)…

  • Allen

    Chateauneuf-du-Pape is my favorite of the Rhone areas but I'm going to be greedy and say the whole Rhone River Valley!

    • Billy Powell

      Good point! Why limit yourself?

  • Nate

    Just going to any French Wine Region is on my bucket list, but if I had to pick the place to start, definitely Burgundy.

  • Louis

    I'd love to visit the Rhone Valley – I love the wines from that region.

  • Meryl

    I'd like to visit Bordeaux. My favorite reds are from there; Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, everyone! Now I’ve got “Rhone if you want to… Rhone around the woooooorld” stuck in my head…

  • Michelle P

    I'd love to go visit the Loire Valley. There are so many unique and interesting wines that you can try that you won't find from anywhere else…. from Muscadet to Quarts de Chaume and some cremant for good measure!

  • wineandhistory

    What a fabulous opportunity! I would most like to visit Alsace. I am a big Riesling fan, and my husband's ancestors are from the region, so it would be nice to learn more about the history too. And there is no parasitic alien controlling my every move and wanting to take over the world. :)

    • 1WineDude

      Wineandhistory – not that you're willing to admit, anyway… ;-)

  • Brittany

    I would love to visit Alsace! Some of my favourite wines are from this region!

  • SAHMmelier

    I would Alsace because my best friend is in Strausburg. Easy choice.

  • Lisa Stephenson

    Rhone. Love the history of the area. I've always wanted to visit the " new house of the Pope". In CDP I could follow along with one of my favorite wine books on the region by Harry Karris ( the book is outstanding). The wines of the area are amazing!! I'd love to pay homage to winegrowers who produce some of the most hedonistic wines on Earth. Combine the great wines, fantastic food, lovely climate, interesting history, and talented winemakers and you have a trip that would be nothing short of AWESOME! I might never leave……

  • Corey Schuster

    I would love to visit Burgundy. I am making Pinot Noir in Oregon, and really want to visit the roots….of this variety. I've spent all of 2 days in France, and feel that an immersion into France, and Burgundy in particular, will do wonders to improve back skill as a wine drinker and maker.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, all! Remember, people, we’re giving away fws memberships here, not trips. Of course, fws membership can get you in on these jaunts, but not for free :-)

  • Red Wine Diva

    I would list Alsace as my first option – so much diversity and such a great opportunity for me to taste and learn to appreciate some of the world's finest white wines. Next would be Bordeaux – just because!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, RWD. You people have me pretty stored now for my upcoming jaunt to Alsace. Any producers you want me to report on while I'm there?

  • Veronique Cecilia Barretto

    I'd love to explore the Jura wine region because Vin Jaune and the Savagnin grape are the loves of my life!!

  • Tony Ambrosini

    The Loire Valley. It has a diverse range of underappreciated styles. Savennieres and Chinon are two that I geek out about. I have always enjoyed Vouvray, Muscadet, and Sancerre. Getting to better understand terroir of the area would be a special experience.

  • Sara Mantle

    Champagne is a fabulous region to visit-I went there in early 2011 and fell in love with it! I think about my trip there almost every day. Aw, I miss it now!

    My choice would be for Burgundy. I'm a huge fan of Pinot Noir, but the real reason I want to go is to try the very best Grand & Premier Crus of Pouilly Fuisse and Beaune. I recently had to miss out on a Grand Cru Burgundy tasting in my area because I couldn't afford the ticket :(

  • Jim vanBergen

    Burgundy! I know so much about the terroir and grapes grown there, but need the up close & personal experience among the vines to truly understand the viniculture first hand.

  • Marc Supsic

    I'm a WSET grad and an oenophile who is committed to teaching people about wine, with a particular fondness for French wine. My philosophy is to make the seemingly lofty world of wine accessible to everyone who'd like to learn about it. I currently make educational videos about wine and spirits and would love the opportunity to visit Alsace-Lorraine as one of my projects!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Marc. I should repeat here that we’re not giving away trips to France, we’re giving away memberships to the fws. They do trips to France, of course, but those are not a part of this giveaway.

  • localfoodandwine

    Hi 1WineDude – I wholeheartedly agree with you about Champagne! In fact, I've learned so much about the bubbly since getting my certification from the Center for Wine Origins (specialized in Champagne : ) ). But Nothing compares to spending time in the region. So if Champagne is #1, then second choice would be Burgundy. And a dream wine vacation/ immersion course would be to take one of these trips with the French Wine Society. I hear the Rhone guide is out of this world fantastic and Fun! Cheers (p.s. Pick Me Pick Me Pleeeaase!) @♥Chérie Du Vin (aka Paige)

  • winingarchaeologist

    Send me to the South West, please! There I will happily pair my fave Fronton reds with cassoulet, and drink all the brambly goodness that Madiran has to offer

  • Brendon

    Bordeaux – would love to check it out. Never been…

  • Marc

    I would love to visit the Bordeaux region. They have such wonderful locations: St emillion, medoc &sauterns and of course the famous pomerols. Many of the vineyards are being bought up by chinese investors and I'm afraid that over time the character of this legendary region might be forever changed. I'd like to visit it while its still true to its heritage.

  • Palatexposure

    LIfelong Californiaphile. Convert me.

  • Lisa Mays

    Normandy! This would be my choice! Calvados Brandy and Sparkling Cider: I would love to visit Normandy in the Spring to inhale the fragrant aromas from the apple tree blossoms that give us such wonderful elixirs from this region of France. I recently received the Advanced WSET and have never been to France. I MUST remedy this PRONTO! Becoming a member will be a great inspiration to plan a trip to visit France so I can experience first hand this area of the global that originally inspired me to learn more about wine! Oui Oui!

  • waywardwine

    The Jura. Drinking vin Jaune with pumpkin risotto changed my wine life forever. It made me love white wine. Made me love acidity. Love all the wild, nutty complexity that New World wines just ignore. France in particular became a new pandora's box to explore, when before it seemed cliché. I dream of ducking down into the Jura's cellars, looking for secret magic in the voile. So few of the Jura's wilder wines make it here. I would love to see and taste it all. Watch my video of it and check my review here:

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, all!

  • MyrddinGwin

    For me, the Rhone Valley is the one absolutely-must-go region. Despite Bordeaux, Burgundy and Beaujolais, Alsace, Champagne, the Loire Valley, Provence, Languedoc-Rousillon, Cahors, Madiran, Provence, Corsica, and pretty much everywhere else in France rocking totally, I need to go to the Rhone Valley to find my one true love: Viognier. I've had Viogniers from many other areas, including the United States, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Australia, South Africa, and the Languedoc, and the majority of them, I've liked. I've had a few Condrieus, and they were absolutely fantastic. Yet as of this moment, I still have not had the opportunity to try a Chateau Grillet–all I hear are occasional descriptions of it. At this point, it's almost mythical to me–it's impossible to buy where I live, and even if it were available here, my ability to buy a bottle would probably be roughly similar to buying a Chateau Margaux: rather unlikely. It would take months of saving up. Yet it is certainly on my personal list of wines I must try before I die, right along with the Chateau d'Yquem.
    Additionally, within the broader Rhone region, there are other places to go, including the Cote-Rotie, Hermitage, Clairette de Die, Chateauneuf, Beaumes-de-Venise, and of course, Tavel, where the rose wines are so big, they can beat up lesser red wines and take their money. Now, would I like to travel throughout the rest of France and try all the wines? Absolutely! If I were limited to only one wine region, though, then it would be the Rhone Valley, hands-down.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, mg. Nice shout out to the rhone there. And your reasoning on why it’s a better spot to hit than other well known spots is well-stated.

  • Laura

    Burgundy! In addition to "Well…DUH" to explore the ancient plots I've been reading about in "Inventing Wine" and because my birth year was an epic vintage!!!!!!!!!

    • 1WineDude

      Laura – lucky you. I’m ’72, by and large a crap vintage across the old world…

  • Spencer

    I know this is a bit of a cliche, but would love to visit Burgundy. Why? Because all of those vineyard and village names are too much to remember from just reading books and looking at maps. But I find that if I actually see, feel, and experience something it is automatically committed to memory and I understand the complexities of a region or process much better. And who knows…maybe I can find a few Burgundy wines that I like and can actually afford!

    • 1WineDude

      Spencer – if you find them, please tell me what they are!!! :)

  • Ted L. Liberti

    My wife and I have always enjoyed following France's Rhône and Bordeaux regions. In 2009 and 2010, we and visited with some of the respective regions' top producers. We've also enjoyed visiting France's Provence wine regions, touching on the outer edges of Languedoc if one counts Costières de Nîmes that effectively straddles Rhône and Languedoc. The regions that MOST interest me in the coming years would be first and foremost: la Vallée de la Loire's renaissance and small producers that are reinventing this great wine region. Loire's cabernet franc and chein blanc varietals along with their reputation for pinot noir and sauvignon blanc in their Sancerre wines to their coastal muscadet-sèvre-et-maine sur lie gems. The next choice would surely have to be Corsica whose stunning wine potential were well chronicled by Robert Camuto in his book Corkscrewed: Adventures in the New French Wine. Kermit Lynch and other far-sighted importers are now bringing in fine Corsican wines. So there you have it: Loire & Corsica.

    • 1WineDude

      Ted – Corsica! I declare this the coolest comment of the giveaway so far. Doesn't up your random chances for being selected, but does make you a bad ass for suggesting Corsica. Cheers!

  • john

    Whether the North or South, it's a Game of Rhones! My wife and I are working with our winemaker to make a Syrah and we would love to learn more about and sample the wares so to speak. Can you make it happen Lord of Wine(rfell)? Of course, if you're not a fan of Game of Thrones then this pitiful attempt at a topical reference, with a nose of comic aromas may need a bit more aging?

    • 1WineDude

      john – well played, senor!

  • Cassidy

    I would love to go to Alsace! I've learned so much about the region and tasted a lot of the wines, but it's just not the same as being there and tasting them.

    • 1WineDude

      Cassidy – no doubt! Will let you know when I get back from my jaunt there :).

  • Joel Ohmart

    Bordeaux, because I love the wines, even though I can't afford most of them!

    • 1WineDude

      That makes two of us, Joel…

  • Martin Cody

    I would have to pick CDP. Wine is nothing without food and the wines from this region are so tailored made for most of the foods I eat, THIS would be the place for me. I also like that a majority of CDP wines will not break the bank, unlike other French regions. It was a tough call, but traveling and meeting the folks here would produce memories and experiences lasting a lifetime. And isn't that what great wine is all about? Cheers!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Martin!

  • Julio Armas

    I'd love to visit all the wine regions on France. If I had to choose just one, it'd be the Languedoc. Santé!

    • 1WineDude

      And BAM! Julio is number 100!


  • Steve

    Loire Valley – diversity of terroir as you move inland. Beautiful architecture, food friendly wines, diversity of style!

  • @drewmatich

    I haven't been to any wine regions in France as yet, but I would start with Bordeaux. Although in my recent WSET (L3) studies, the Loire really started to spark some interest.

  • 1WineDude

    Hi all – thanks for the AWESOME response to the giveaway! It's now closed, and we have our winners who are being contacted via email. I've got a discount code to announce as well, more on that soon!

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