Eons of geological time have carved out the subsoil nature of this area, and empirical analysis by scientific-minded monks hundreds years ago delimited what was to be the best of the best climats in Burgundy. Armed with the right maps and guide, you can drive or ride on these side roads between, say, Chagny, Beaune and Nuits-Saint-Georges, and literally read the vineyard landscape by just linking the patchwork of stone-walls-circled blocks and the engraved gate posts (like this one on the left) with a detailed Appellation map.
As we were speaking with Christelle, a group of cyclists passed by : This was a group of Americans and Australians touring the region on bicycle with Butterfield and Robinson. This is a great way to discover the region, plus I guess they occasionally stop in wineries for a tasting...Btw, if you can't afford these costly packages, you can easily rent bicycles in Beaune, at Detours in France, or at Beaune Cycles for example. In Nuits-Saint-Georges, check with VTT-Aventure, and see this page [Pdf] for bike rentals in the region. It costs about 15 Euro a day and less if you rent for a longer time. You could even buy a case of bottles in a winery on your way back to Beaune or Nuits-Saint-Georges and tie it tightly on the back rack...
Walking along the vineyard, we also see how the rain water is sometimes canalized to concrete reservoirs, probably to avoid erosion on the lower vineyards. The picture of the rainwater tank on the right was shot on Chevalier-Montrachet, Chartron-Dupard. As they don't irrigate here, it is not clear what they do with the water when it's full.
In short, there's plenty to see and do if you want to bring back a genuine and personal perspective on Burgundy. Plus, that is both cheap and always changing depending of the season and the weather, you cycle there the next day and will stumble on other scenes and people. Be careful when you walk in the vineyards, especially in the high season, some owners don't like too much to see groups of tourists trampling the ground between the rows and touching the vines and the grapes.