Beaune is in the heart of the Cote d'Or; the most prestigious wine region of Burgundy, so most travellers will want to do some wine tasting while there. Harvest time generally runs from mid-late September through mid-October, and is a great time to see action in the vineyards. However, if you're looking to "seriously" visit a lot of smaller, top-end producers, it's not the best time as many of them are too busy to receive visitors.

Late fall (late Oct to end of November) is not only a less crowded time, but you also get to see the wine-making in process, in many ways more interesting than the harvest itself. There are also less tourists around, though quite a lot of wine visitors.

The highlight of the year is the "Trois Glorieuses" on the 3rd weekend of November - this is 3 days of the most famous wine parties in the world, and the auction of wine at the Hospices de Beaune. Impossible to get into the parties unless you are connected, but great to be around the action!

Summer time (July & August) is hot, with occasional thunderstorms and lots of tourists - not my favorite time (plus for wine, many winemakers go away on holiday). Spring (late April through early June) can be lovely, with long evenings and warm days - also a good time to visit the winemakers. Winter is cold, wet or snowy and very short days! However, if you want a great welcome from the local winemakers, it's a good time to be there - they appreciate the company and know you're a really serious wine lover!

Peter Smith, Avalon Wine Tours