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Major tourism centre given green-light by Burgundy's wine board

Published:  11 January, 2017

Burgundy's wine board, the BIVB, has approved its ambitious Cité des Vins de Bourgogne, a new wine tourism, culture and education centre that will be built on three sites in Beaune, Chablis and in the Mâcon.

The BIVB, the Bureau Interprofessional des Vins de Bourgogne, said the project was not Burgundy's response to Bordeaux's Cité du Vin museum that opened last June.

"Unlike Bordeaux's wine museum, which is about wines from the world, The Cité de Vins de Bourgogne project is uniquely about wines from Burgundy," a BIVB spokesman said.

"It was conceived prior to Bordeaux's wine museum and the project is not an end in itself like that of Bordeaux; it will be a starting point for tourists before they go and visit the vineyards of Burgundy. It is part of the whole tourism network," the spokesman said.

The main site of the Cité des Vins will be located on the outskirts of the town of Beaune and will be part of a entire new neighbourhood featuring an exhibition hall, a five star hotel and restaurants on a 10-hectare area.

Two further sites will be built in Chablis and Mâcon.

As well as the tasting and selling of wines, the Cité des Vins aims to explain wine production in Burgundy and the Unesco-listed world heritage Climats de Bourgogne, the unique delimited vineyard plots found on the slopes of the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune south of the city of Dijon, which have specific natural conditions, in terms of geology and exposure and vines, shaped by human cultivation.

The project has won €17.1 million of funding from the BIVB and local authorities and is expected to win substantial private funding when tenders for the construction of the sites are launched in 2018.

The BIVB approved the three sites during an AGM on December 19when 72% of its members voted in favour of the project.

Several Burgundy producers have voiced criticism over investment plans for the project as the region grapples with lower production output.

However, during his presentation of the project, Pierre-Henry Gagey, négociant and BIVB member, said: "This project is about anticipating the wine tourism of tomorrow whilst respecting our soul, our culture and our humanist values."

The Cité des Vins is scheduled to open in 2020.