I am planning to visit Chablis and Champagne next year. I have no experience visiting wineries in France and would appreciate any recommendations people have.
For example, in Bettane and Dessauve's "Classement des meilleurs vins de France 2004," the authors distinguish between wineries (e.g., Domaine Raveneau) that accept "pas de visites" and those (e.g., Domaine Michel Laroche) that accept visitors "sur rendez-vous." And then there's those (e.g., Domaine William Fevre) that simply note "tous les jours de 9 h 30 a 12 h, [. . .], sauf le mercredi." Should I send letters to all of the "sur rendezvous" wineries I'd like to visit? Does one simply show up for those that do not require rendezvous?
Also, do these wineries (I'm hoping to visit Gimonnet in Cuis, De Sousa in Avize, Egly-Ouriet in Ambonnay, and in Chablis Fevre, Billaud-Simon, La Chablisienne and Long-Depaquit) charge for tastings?
Finally, is there a very strong expectation that I will buy a significant quantity of wine during a visit?
Any anecdotes or words of wisdom would be appreciated.