Wine Tourism and Bordeaux

Bordeaux is a great city to visit – it’s a lovely, smaller version of Paris (much of Paris was designed after it’s 18th century design), but many come to learn more about the wine culture of Bordeaux. If you only have one day, there is plenty to explore in town. I’d invite you to spend at least two, because visiting a producer outside of town is a must, be it the famous Chateau Pape Clement which is accessible by public transport or the intimate, family owned producer of Chateau Beard la Chapelle in the hills near Saint Emilion.

IN BORDEAUX CITY :

La Cite du Vin is a must see, the architecture, the modern and futuristic style of a museum is exciting and multisensorial. You could easily spend half a day enjoying your free tasting in the stunning glass-walled tasting room, touring the site and taking in the temporary exhibitions, maybe even an evening event as well. There is a cafeteria for food, as well as a fine dining restaurant on the top floor with sweeping views on the city of Bordeaux. The wine shop and gift shop are equally enjoyable, something for everyone. This is a wine museum of the world, throughout history and multiple cultures. My only point of contention, is if you have a small head or small ears – bring your own headphones to use with the audio guide needed for the visit / open daily from 10am-6pm, open until 7pm in summer / 134 Quai du Bacalan, 33000 Bordeaux / Du verre à la table (laciteduvin.com)

The Musee du Vin et du Negoce is another, older, more classical style museum with artifacts and historical documents, which is great if your focus is on local wines and history. This museum offers a tasting at the end, much like the Cite du Vin. You can choose to take a guided tour as well, check online for hours / open daily from 10am-6pm / 41 Rue Borie, 33000 Bordeaux / +33 5 56 90 19 13 / HOME – (museeduvinbordeaux.com) / musee41@gmail.com

Visit a caviste (wine shop) in town and talk wines while tasting what’s available that day…or go to The Wine Bar, which is a wine tasting bar associated with a local wine school that is focused on local wines only, located in central Bordeaux near the Opera House / Open Tuesday-Saturday from 5pm-midnight / 3 Rue Lafaurie de Mondbadon, 33000 Bordeaux / +33 5 56 48 80 40 / The Wine Bar / Bar à vins / BORDEAUX (the-wine-bar-bordeaux.fr)

Take a guided walking wine tour with Avant Guides, a group of professional English speaking local guides with WSET* certification who can offer customized tours including wine and history in town / Avant Guides – Bordeaux | My Bordeaux Tours / avantguidesbordeaux@gmail.com

GUIDED TOURS OUTSIDE OF BORDEAUX CITY :

If your budget allows, take a private wine tour with any of these wine professionals who have been here for decades and will make sure you see the best of the area. You can choose to pick visiting one AOC, or maybe combine multiple like Graves and Sauternes or Saint Emilion and Fronsac. Drivers are generally included to allow you to make the most of your visit. Please note, if you are driving, the alcohol limit while driving is much lower in France 0,5% (compared to 0,8 in UK and USA). Feel free to contact us at aquitaineguide@gmail.com to organize a tour for you based on your budget and needs, or check out other providers below :

If you love great small producers and intimate visits, try SIP tours with Nicolle CROFT (WSET certified) Wine Tours with Nicolle Croft, Bordeaux Food & Wine Guide (wineguidebordeaux.com)

If you are interested in the big chateaux and luxury names, try Bordeaux with Elodie Private Wine Tour | France | Bordeaux With Elodie

Want private lessons in wine tasting? Contact the sommeliers who work at Private Wine Tours Bordeaux https://m.facebook.com/privatewinetoursbordeaux/

SELF-GUIDED TOURS OUTSIDE of TOWN :

If you don’t have a car or the budget for a private wine tour in the vineyards, you’re not going to be at a loss. There are chateaux that are available through public transport from within Bordeaux city to locations in Medoc, Saint Emilion and beyond! A great list and multiple itineraries are on the Bordeaux Tourism website, if you have any questions feel free to contact us! https://www.bordeaux-tourism.co.uk/how-go-vineyard/discover-vineyard-without-car

EVENTS :

Bordeaux Fete le Vin is typically set on the quai in Bordeaux, with rows of producers offering tastings of their wines with the backdrop of the Garonne and classic sailboats with live music and food stalls. Held every other year, buy tickets in advance and check out the offerings of wine dinners at local chateaux / Bordeaux Fête le Vin – Du 17 au 20 juin 2021 (bordeaux-fete-le-vin.com)

Portes Ouverts might be the most amazing way to see chateau and meet the owners/producers. Each AOC holds their ‘open house’ at different times in the year, when visits and tastings are free and many chateaux offer food trucks or restauration on site, with art exhibitions and music. Some even have games for kids, so they are occupied while mom and dad have fun too 🙂 Simply do a search, such as ‘portes ouverts Sauternes 2021’ and you will find the dates. Check each program if advance booking is required due to covid restrictions. Here are some still happening in 2021:

Portes Ouvertes Estivales – 10 11 Juillet 2021 – Sauternes Barsac (sauternes-barsac.com)

Portes Ouvertes – vignoble des Graves | Office de Tourisme de Montesquieu (tourisme-montesquieu.com)

*WSET is the wine and spirit education trust which certifies those working in the wine industry. You too can take courses to improve your wine knowledge French Qualifications | Wine & Spirit Education Trust (wsetglobal.com)

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