Here wine is much more than just something to drink, it is a way of life!
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IT IS SAID THAT ONE OUT OF EVERY 6 INHABITANTS OF BORDEAUX WORK IN THE WINE BUSINESS;
easy to believe when you consider that there are at least 6,500 estates, over 30 cooperatives, 720 million bottles, 300 merchant houses and 90 courtiers involved in creating and selling the 750,000 million or so bottles produced on average each year. The industry is as intertwined with the fabric of the local society as the roots of old vines are with the gravel and limestone found in the vineyards. Unsurprising when you consider that the Bordeaux wine region is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to the arrival of the Romans over 2,000 years ago. Today wine is second only to aeronautics in its importance to the local economy, with the positive effects of an exceptional vintage being reverberated throughout the city. And it is not just the wine that is of high quality. Credited as the birthplace of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, it is fitting then that the most relevant research on these varieties is conducted in Bordeaux at the ISVV (Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin) which is also a centre for oenological education. Tourists too can expect an enhanced experience with La Cité du Vin and biennial Fête le Vin, some of the many ways to discover the city and its wines.
La Cité du Vin
Despite its name, Bordeaux’s latest museum is about more than just wine. Its striking form, said to resemble the movement of wine in a glass, is a draw for structural design lovers for whom a daily, 1 hour ‘Spotlight on Architecture‘ visit was created. Judging by the events calendar, it is clear too that the organizers are not necessarily targeting wine enthusiasts, with cultural, social and political themes like ‘Is wine good for our health?‘ and ‘Should wine be taught in schools?‘. Even the permanent exhibition, where the average visitor spends almost 3 hours, was not conceived to educate about wine. Exhibits such as the Terroir Table, with its life size images of winemakers and ever-changing landscapes, are designed as experiences which leave an impression rather than impart knowledge. The aroma buffet with its large, glass, bell-shaped cloche, housing a range of items from leather gloves and musty books to liquorice wheels and pencil shavings appeals to the emotions and senses. Such has been positive impression of many first-time visitors that some have been known to exchange their €20 entry ticket for a €48 annual pass.
Much of what the museum has to offer however, is accessible without paying an entrance fee and as such, you are free to survey the Latitude20 wine shop with over 800 references from 80 countries, settle down to study some of the 2,000 books and magazines in the first-floor Reading Room and admire the view of the city and river from the Belvédère Bar on the top floor. It can also be an opportunity to book your place on a 1 hour, wine and culture workshop, learn about the excursions to the vineyards that are organized by the Wine Tours desk and shop at the concept boutique with its wine related gifts. Whatever attracts you to La Cité du Vin, one thing is for sure that your first visit will not be your last.
‘Today wine is second only to aeronautics in its importance to the local economy.‘
‘The aroma buffet with its large, glass, bell-shaped cloche, housing a range of items from leather gloves and musty books to liquorice wheels and pencil shavings appeals to the emotions and senses.‘