“What's your 10 most expensive wines? I would like to try them all”

Bjornen en Oleron

With the new ignition coil fitted and an assortment of spares loaded aboard, it was back to business - on the road heading south. After a brief stop at Oléron, which felt like reaching the other side after days of purgatory, beach camping with good surf and plenty of pizza and beers just a stroll away. We continued south to arguably France's most famous region.

In Gurd we trust
vineyard at dawn1 vineyard at dawn2

Now the winemakers of Bordeaux have learnt how to bleed stones. They are able to shake money out of fellow cheapskate van dwellers in a way like no other. Advertising their chateau or vineyard as a free overnight stay on the likes of Park4Night or Overlander - can't get better than FREE overnight parking with access to a loo. And to bait the pot even moreso, flagrantly offering free wine tasting. Double free - six, the devil so obviously playing his hand. At the three overnight stays I had, only two out of the almost fifty roamers did not purchase any wine. Are they Jedi masters of guilting people into purchasing wine? Or is it just that everyone was in the region already looking for wine and the wine offered was pretty good? Why else would people come to Bordeaux?


Well, I for one would recommend exploring beyond the vineyards and into the many pockets of nature that perforate the multinational estates. Believe it or not this bloodied farm dog, that I met beyond the reaches of big grape, was the most cuddling boy ever! Belly rubs and all… Not to say I wasn't keeping an eye on the big rock next to us just in case the fresh facial wound had any meaning.

Good boy!
Stork1 Stork2

Beyond the small homesteads there are untouched reserves, marshland following water courses too difficult to tame. A hive of activity. An excellent place to sample a bottle or two and internalise whether you got played. Conclusion, for an average of 4€ I think it was big grape that got played.

Dust in the wetlands
Dust over St Emilion

You see, the organisations to play in Bordeaux are not the mum and pop vineyards marketing their beyond affordable wine to the new wave of nomads. No. A person with a conscience might consider this wrong, but those trying to squeeze the lemonade would also note that they often only have half dozen wines with almost all bottles less than 10€. To win at this cheapskate wine monopoly go to the mega conglomerates, the ones which offer 100+ different bottles. It is then up to YOU and YOUR skill at maintaining composure after dozens of half glasses. You can't be too on the nose and rock up and ask “What's your 10 most expensive wines? I would like to taste them all.” No. Subtlety is key, otherwise you'll get questions like:

“What's your budget?”
“How many do you plan on buying?”
“Can you please leave?”

Claim that you're Swedish (no one ever suspects the Swedish) and don't speak much English or French - this will drastically reduce the amount of wine talk and knowledge you will need to have.

Fire wood Church tower

Once you are satisfied and had your fill of free wine, proceed to buy two or three of their second cheapest wine. Fuck knows which one this was, but its not on the disgusting list so its probably alright. It would be rude not to purchase anything if you are then going to retreat to their car park and spend the night, despite various signs restricting such activity. What are they gonna do? Call the police and get this obviously drunk man to drive away?

Tills nästa gång. Hejdå.