I finally got there! La Cité du Vin opened on 1st June of this year and I have been itching to check it out being just on my doorstep in Bordeaux. It is easy to get to directly by tram being located at the end of the newly renovated Quai du Bacalan part of Bordeaux’s wine district (ironically the point of my arrival in Bordeaux some 25 years ago in 2CV car from England). Any initiative to present wine in a new way is so worth supporting. It is a massive undertaking and the innovative design of its displays sucessfully undertaken by British Casson Mann.
The tickets are quite expensive at 20€ but the your time in the modern interactive complex is not limited. It all takes place on one floor (the 2nd) and with your headphones and smartphone it is very easy to work your way around even for the non techy or non wino people (even great for kids). For most displays you just point the end of the smartphone at the display and it starts up in the language you have chosen (most are translated into English but not all particularly the little area on Bordeaux towards to end which needs to be done asap!).
There are 20 different areas in the permanent exhibition spread over the second floor of 3000 m2. It is light and spacious (there were probably another 30 people visiting at the same time as me). Many exhibitions are tactile, all are colourful, light, fun and interactive. Here are a few of the different displays (each very different); Interviews of winemakers around the world and different terroirs, aromas of wines to smell, colours to match, the world of wine tour (giant photos of wine regions), the world’s of wine (climate, grape varieties planted around the world), metamorphis of wine (winemaking, ageing), E vine (the vine, different grape varieties, biodynamics), interviews with characters involved in wine (chef, sommelier, fraternity), wine types and their service and aromas, history of wine, eroticism and wine, a 3Dish film about wine and water transport around the world in history.
At the end of the tour you need to go back down to the ground floor to then take the lift to the 8th floor to choose your one glass of wine to taste with a wonderful view of 360° of Bordeaux (open to the South with views of the new bridge). We dined at le 7 restaurant (la Brasserie Bordelaise), compact and atmospheric. Buzzy, good food and service and a wonderful wine list of wines of the world.
Without a ticket one can visit the wine shop (wines from all over the world), boutique, the Latitude 20 wine bar on the ground floor (with a card can help yourself to many different wines of the world (afternoon only), snack bar and the wine book library on 1st floor (with Wifi) and of course the restaurant le 7 on 7th floor with fab views (even when it is closed).
La Cité du Vin is the most impressive building. I am so excited for Bordeaux that we have this beautiful spacious place dedicated to wine. It is a centre for wine and has room to develop and grow and mature like a good wine. Cheers!