Guggen­heim of Grapes

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Af­ter $90 mil­lion and nearly a decade, Bordeaux’s La Cité du Vin—part theme park, part wine mu­seum—is fi­nally un­corked. IT’S DIONY­SUS meets Dis­ney­land. Where the Magic Kingdom has Ep­cot and Pi­rates of the Caribbean, the new La Cité du Vin (the City of Wine), which opened this month in the city of Bordeaux, has three restau­rants, ex­pert-led tast­ings and a 14,000-bot­tle cel­lar with re­gional vin­tages and oth­ers from as far away as Tahiti and Syria. There’s also a 50-seat barge that reen­acts a 17th-cen­tury wine mer­chant’s jour­ney to Ja­pan.

As with fine wine, it took some time for La Cité du Vin to ma­ture, and it car­ried a big price tag: The 143,000-square-foot struc­ture re­quired eight years and $90 mil­lion (28% over its orig­i­nal bud­get) to com­plete.

The re­sult is a river­side ar­chi­tec­tural mar­vel—the building’s curves evoke wine swirling in a goblet—with its façade of 6,000 glass-and-metal pan­els re­flect­ing the Garonne. A $23 ticket gets you ac­cess to at­trac­tions rang­ing from the philo­soph­i­cal (an ex­hibit on wine’s place in re­li­gion) to the pe­cu­liar (a chance to nap in the cel­lar). A visit con­cludes, fit­tingly, with a glass of Bordeaux or one from any of 20 other world wine re­gions.

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