Boarding your coach at the pier, you'll set-off to explore Cognac land. Cognac is made exclusively from grapes, usually from the Ugni-Blanc grape variety, coming from a clearly defined region of France that is situated around the town of Cognac. This area is also known for its historic old Château where French King, François I was born.
After a picturesque 2-hour drive through the French countryside, you'll arrive at a local restaurant where you will be served a typical two-course meal. At the conclusion of lunch, you will re-board your coach and make the short transfer to one of the world's famous houses of Cognac, Hennessy. Leaving your coach behind, you will next board the Hennessy river boat, crossing the Charente River to reach the other side and the Hennessy premises.
Upon arrival, you will embark on a guided tour of the cellars, discovering amongst many things, the secrets of the swan's neck-shaped alembic still in use to distill cognac. You will also learn about the oak cask ageing process and the art of blending. At the conclusion of your guided tour, you will be treated to a tasting of some of the fine Hennessy liquors.
Some Hennessy history: The Irish founder, Richard Hennessy was so charmed by the region that he established a trading firm in the town of Cognac in 1765. Under his son, James, the company expanded rapidly and took the name it still has today: Jas Hennessy & Co. Since that time, eight generations of the Hennessy family have run this outstanding company, traveling the world and building the brand's universal reputation. Hennessy has always had an international outlook. At the start, it shipped cognacs to its natural markets in Ireland and Great Britain, with London being the heart of the brand's sales strategy for nearly two centuries. The British capital then became a springboard for shipments to distant markets such as Australia and America, and particularly from New York after 1794.
In the last quarter of the 19th century, the company began bottling on a large scale and became the first cognac brand. Today, Hennessy sells more than 40 million bottles, and is part of LVMH, the world's top luxury and prestige group, and is acting as an ambassador for the French concept of gracious living.
Following your Hennessy visit, your coach will transfer you to the Royan ferry boat terminal for the Gironde River crossing back to Le Verdon and your Oceania ship.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 90 minutes of moderate walking and 2 short boat trips. There is a possibility there will be steps and/or stairs to negotiate at the restaurant. This tour may not be suitable for wheelchair guests and those guests with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability and stamina. Comfortable, flat walking shoes and long pants are recommended.