Entry Fee: 20.00 € (Book online for ease)
Accessibility: 10/10 (Quick and easy with its own tram stop)
Ease to get around: 6/10 (could do with more lifts during busy periods)
Ease at seeing exhibition: 8/10 (It’s not like the incessant crowd surrounding the Mona Lisa, you can always find a free section)
Gift Shop & Wine Cellar: 7.5/10 (Coffee table books, posters of vineyards, decanters and more wine than you can shake a stick at!)
Living just north of Bordeaux, I have heard much about the new museum, the Cité Du Vin dedicated to wine and have driven past the bizarre-looking futuristic building being erected on the far end of the quais as we were leaving the city for months.It opened to the public in June earlier this year, and being the wannabe wine-connoisseur I am, I went along to check it out in its first week.
As I descend the terminus tram stop of the same name, I can’t avoid noticing its shape, designed to represent the elegant flow of wine in the glass, it cannot be missed in the Bordeaux skyline from as far as the Pont Du Pierre.
Cementing its place as the world capital of wine, Bordeaux’ Cité du Vin is a spectacular offering. Bringing together the best of the world’s wines in a comprehensive ‘smart’ museum, the high-tech and modern 11-floor building guides you through a historical, cultural and multi-sensual wine experiences, great for wine novices and zealots a-like. Although there were some slight hiccups with the newly trained staffed, donning smart beige skirts and chinos with pink shirts giving us misdirection, I can imagine these would have been ironed out by now given my visit was during the first week.
If you’re really keen to learn about the processes of wine making and the culture and rituals surrounding wine, set aside between 4 and 6 hours to soak up all the information over nearly 20 themed sections, made conveniently consumable through the head sets in a choice of 8 languages. I recommend a minimum of 2.5 hours to ensure you get something out of your trip and the rather steep entry fee (in my opinion). If you enjoy a gift shop as much as I do, then add on an extra half an hour to peruse its offering.
One section allows you to lie down on comfy sofas and watch an ethereal, almost ‘trippy’, projection on the ceiling whilst listening to an equally strange script – it was a well-earned sit down, even if I didn’t entirely get the connection to wine! The highlight for me was the smelling section, the objective is to smell an identify different notes and combinations of notes found in wine.
And finally, the pièce de resistance, lies at a tasting on the top floor viewing platform. Choose from a selection of fine wines from around the globe whilst looking over the beautiful Garonne (and the building site that immediately surround the building at the moment). Choose wisely though, because you only get one, which I must admit slightly disappointed me but there is a wine bar and cellar on the ground floor if you still have a thirst to quench. I opted for a Bordeaux red… naturally!