Paul Chartrand, founder and CEO of Chartrand Imports, and an importer of organic French wines for more than 30 years, met recently with longtime French language teacher and program developer Julia Schulz to begin planning a small-group trip to France. Both trip leaders are based in Rockland.

"Voyage au Pays des Vins" will be an intimate exploration of the art and soul of wine production on organic vineyards in two classic regions of France: Bourgogne and Champagne, in personal contact with the growers themselves — friends and colleagues of Chartrand's for decades. The tour is limited to 12 participants who are seeking an immersion in French language and culture.

Schulz and Chartrand plan to conduct all visits with growers, as well as private tours and special events, entirely in French. "I want a small group to experience some of my life as an importer, while giving everyone enough free time to find their own adventures. To fully immerse ourselves in this culture, we need a grasp of the language," Chartrand said.

The trip will include a few days in Paris, for a private workshop at the Musée du Vin, meals in specially selected restaurants, possible visits to specialty food producers and retailers, and a chance to mingle with locals at the popular new "vin naturel" wine bars.

From Paris, the group will travel to the town of Buxy in the Côte Chalonnaise of Burgundy, to visit the Domaine Guy Chaumont, with Monsieur Chaumont as host. Burgundy is famous for its cuisine, which the group will have ample opportunity to sample. A tour of the beautiful and historic nearby city of Beaune is also planned.

From Burgundy, it is on to Champagne, to the Maison Ardinat-Faust, a longtime producer of organic champagne for Chartrand Imports. Among the sites in the region on the trip itinerary is the famous Cathédrale de Reims and one of the area's renowned subterranean Champagne aging cellars.

The trip is set for April 22 to 30, 2017, beginning and ending in Paris. More information and a detailed itinerary will be available soon, as Chartrand has actively been developing tour possibilities in France over the past year.

The early-booking price of $3,500 includes lodging, transport within the country, most meals, all receptions and wine-tastings, museum visits, guides and all taxes and gratuities. A deposit is required to reserve a place. For more information, contact: Julia Schulz,