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Bordeaux's wine cultural centre will drive wine tourism internationally

Published:  12 June, 2014

Bordeaux's wine cultural centre will not only drive wine tourism in the region, but also across the globe.

That's according to Sylvie Cazes, former director of Chateau Pichon Lalande, who heads up the project. She said it is on target to open in April 2016, within its €65 million budget.

The Cité des Civilisations du Vin is set on a 15,000m² site alongside the river Garonne. Building began in October 2013 and the third floor is now under construction.

BordeauxA plan of the Cite’s interiorThe ambitious project will shine a spotlight on wine across the world, said president Sylvie Cazes.

Cazes told that the shape and structure of the building was "very unique". It is built around a framework of curved wood, glass and metal and has an eight-floor tower reaching 55m with views over the city and surrounding landscape.

Cite des civilisation

The project has been majority funded from the public purse, with 25% coming from private investors, including the interprofessional bodies representing winegrowers and negociants locally and nationally.

Cazes said the centre will showcase how "wine has so many faces" according to the different civilisations, regions and countries where it is made. It will focus on the history, terroir and other stories that illustrate how wine through the ages is different to how we see it today.

Aside from that function, Cazes stated that it will bring €40 million in revenue to the region, either directly or indirectly, as well as creating 700 jobs.

She said the project was important for the whole wine profession globally. It has created a network of links to wine tourism areas throughout the world. It is also setting up a foundation in France and one in the United States, inspired by the project, to talk about and promote wine culture.

It is 15 years since former Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé first mooted the idea of creating some kind of centre around wine. Initially it was to focus solely on Bordeaux, but now it has a much more international flavour. "Today wine tourism is much more organised and winemakers travel a lot, and they wanted links with everyone in the world," Cazes said.