The ‘wine Disney Land’ of France

No one does wine quite like the French, and this new attraction is taking your Chablis and Chardonnay to a whole new level.

Cite du Vin, a wine amusement park in the French city of Bordeaux, opened on June 1 this year. This R1.384 billion attraction is aimed at wine lovers from all over the world. Boasting a wine cellar of 14 000 bottles from 80 countries it offers a rare experience for enthusiasts to try wines to which they may not usually have access.

Bordeaux’s mayor, Alain Juppe, was the driving force behind the project and hopes to attract 450 000 visitors a year to the region.

The amusement park offers a permanent tour and shorter-term exhibits and provides a launching pad for tours of some of France’s legendary wine-growing areas such as Sauternes, Medoc, Saint-Emilion and Pomerol.

According to their website, the permanent tour is “an immersive, sensory adventure to discover cultures and civilisations of wine”. The exhibition space where this tour takes place is 3 000 square metres with almost 20 different themed areas to explore.

Philippe Massol, Cite du Vin director, told AFP that wine had changed landscapes and influenced cultures for more than 8 000 years.

“Wine is a unique product which, wherever it has appeared, has altered the way people live. It has created its own ‘wine civilisations’ and that is what we show through an immersive experience of smell, touch and taste.”

The Cite du Vin website explains the tour with: Over the millennia, following human displacement and in a variety of climates, vines have established themselves, grape varieties have spread and wines have been traded across the world. Wine is a commodity like no other. It is an object of desire, bringing with it dreams and fantasies, a dynamic of world conquest, adventure and passion.

Other attractions include a 10m long oak counter, a giant chandelier made of thousands of bottles and internal design touches that are built to resemble wine bottles and grape vines. The architecture is also something to behold with a wooden skeleton that was created as a nod to the “gnarled trunks” of the vines and the building lines that are a representation of the motion of wine swirling around a glass.

Wine workshops and educational wine-themed sessions are on offer for those looking to learn more about this beloved drink. In summer a guest wine region will spend time at the museum showcasing its cultural history and offerings.

If you want to book a trip, though, be sure to look out for special events that may be of interest to you, as these are ongoing. This month will see wine tastings from countries competing in the Euro 2016 football tournament. These will be held after the games are shown live in the centre’s 250-seat auditorium.

US college students have dubbed the Cite du Vin an “adult Disney Land”. This no doubt makes Juppe ecstatic, as he said the idea of “creating something that would embody Bordeaux’s place as the world capital of wine has been going around in my head since 1995”.

Only in 2008 did they “decide to make the leap”.

Admission to the Cite du Vin costs 20 euros and includes a glass of wine.

You can see more about the Cite du Vin on the video below


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