World's best wine museum

© Anaka/Cité du Vin
The Cité du Vin succeeds in making a wine museum interesting for young and old alike. This new landmark of Bordeaux is also an architectural marvel and a place to taste wines from all over the world.

[ Practical ]

Cité du Vin
134 Quai de Bacalan
33300 Bordeaux.
Opening times and hours
Open every day
From 9.30am to 7pm from April to June, till 7.30pm in July and August.
From 10am to 6pm from September to March, till 7pm during school holidays.
Adults : €20
Students : €16
6 to 17 years old children : €9
Workshops : €25
Ph : 0556162020
Inaugurated in June 2016, the Cité du Vin renders all previous wine museums out-dated. Using a wide range of interactive and digital technologies, it takes a comprehensive look at wine through the centuries and addresses its many facets. The landscapes and people producing it, its connection to mythology and the sacred, its place in societies and civilizations, how cultures shaped its consumption, the strong relation between wine and the arts.

© Anaka/Cité du Vin
 A building with a strange shape
Situated in the Bacalan district, not far from the quays where the ships loaded with Bordeaux wine barrels once sailed off for England and the Netherlands, the Cité du Vin is housed in a futuristic 55 metres high building, the strange shape of which is supposed to resemble the swirl in a wine glass. Visible from the inside, its wooden structure is covered with hundreds of aluminium and glass panels.
Covering 3 000 sq meters, the permanent exhibition is not discovered through a scripted circuit. Equipped with by an audio guide available in eight languages plus a kid version, visitors can wander at their own pace and how they wish around 19 differently themed spaces. Both fun and interesting for adults and kids, they were developed by teams of geographers, oenologists, scientists, writers and historians.

© Anaka/Cité du Vin
 Wide range of topics
During your visit you will stroll through a Civilization Gallery recounting the history of wine from 6,000 BC to the present day, fly over 22 worldwide vineyards ranging from Alsace to the Washington State thanks to three five-metre high screens showing films taken from helicopter, watch winemakers from different countries talking about their job, board a merchant ship that takes you through the maritime history of wine from the Greeks to the 17th century Dutch traders and attend a banquet gathering together historical figures talking about wine. You will also be able to get information about wine making, production and consumption in various countries by clicking on them on five globes, discover the changes taking place during the vinification on three cells made up of stainless steel, glass and wood through short videos and the fragrances they release.

© Anaka/Cité du Vin
 Innovative and unusual workshops
At other points you will put your nose in copper funnel to smell flower and plant aromas used to describe wine during tasting, learn about consequences of excess related to wine. Further you will be asked to pair a wine with various foods and will find an area focusing on wine and love, where you sink into huge red velvet sofas and look upwards to projections of artworks illustrating the theme of Bacchus and Venus. There is also a little corner dedicated to Bordeaux tracing briefly the history of its wines and vineyards.
In addition, the Cité hosts three temporary exhibitions per year and offers innovative and unusual workshops including wine tasting courses while kids do the same with grape juice.

© Anaka/Cité du Vin
 Wine and gastronomic food
At the end of the visit, visitors can head to the 8th floor, to the Belvedere, a wine bar located 35 metres above ground that offers a panoramic view of the city where it is possible to sample twenty wines from all over the world, the tasting of one being included in the admission fee. One floor down there is a gastronomic restaurant, Le 7, offering 500 wines from 50 countries to go along dishes. Other option, on the ground floor, next to the souvenir shop, a brasserie style restaurant / wine bar and cellar named Latitude20 serves more simple food and sells a range of 800 wines from 70 worldwide countries. And for those who want explore Bordeaux’ vineyards a travel bureau offers various tours through the region passing by some of its most famous châteaux.

August 01, 2018
Thierry Joly