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Burgundy ready to break ground on Cites des Vins project

Published:  04 December, 2019

The BIVB (Bourgogne Wine Board) has confirmed that construction will begin on the Cites des Vins et des Climats de Bourgogne project in January 2020.

Described as a “cultural and tourism-related” initiative, this collaboration between the BIVB and the Association for the Climats of Bourgogne will deliver three sites, in Beaune, Chablis and Mâcon, which will “act as a gateway to the surrounding vines”, the BIVBs Cecile Mathiaud told Harpers.

With a collective investment of €19.6m behind the project, the plan is to have the Chablis and Mâcon sites open by the end of 2021, with the larger Beaune building scheduled for spring 2022.

Annual visitor targets have been set at 25,000, 35,000 and 120,000 respectively, reflecting a big push by the Bourgogne wine region to boost tourism, which Mathiaud said still has much “untapped potential”.

The Cité de Beaune (pictured) will be built from scratch, with architect Emmanuelle Andreani proposing an eye-catching modern building that will echo a vine twisting around a trellis.

The Cité de Chablis, meanwhile, will see architect firm Atelier Correia’s remodelling buildings that form part of the 12th century Pontigny Abbey, and the The Cité de Mâcon, by RBC Architecture, that will feature a 13m high representation of a winepress screw to flag its presence.

“The content of each will be similar, it will be like a journey through the appellation, so you will find explanations about the story of Burgundy and the vines, the soil, you will also be able to taste wines, and not just from Chablis, or Mâcon or Beaune, but from other parts of Bourgogne,” said Mathiaud.

Despite the similarity in name to Bordeaux’s La Cite du Vin, which takes a global look at the culture of wine, Burgundy’s three Cités des Vins will remain firmly focused on delivering a regional experience for visitors, with focus on the vineyards and climats to the fore.

The BIVB added that the name was chosen before Bordeaux began its project.

“The purpose, after people have visited the Cités des Vins, is that they will be able to go out into the domains, so it's an entry point to the vineyards. We really want visitors to visit the producers, so it like a web of learning, at the centre of the vines.”

The Ecole des Vins de Bourgogne will play a key role in the educational aspects of the project.

Sustainability will also be emphasised at all three sites, both in terms of the construction of the buildings themselves, plus the wider and growing commitment to eco-friendly viticulture and winemaking across the Bourgogne region.