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Bordeaux is the capital of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in the southwest of France. This world heritage city on the banks of the Garonne River is famous for its wine. In fact, it is considered the most important wine-growing region in France.
Bordeaux has over 60 designations of origin, about 115,000 hectares of vineyards and more than 5,000 winemakers. Its prestige, however, reaches beyond French borders. Throughout history, Bordeaux wine has been one of the most famous in the world.
Wine lovers and experts associate the Bordeaux label with quality. However, the quality of these wines can be irregular, ranging from excellent to mediocre.
Even so, the reality is that some of the world’s best-valued wines come from this region. As a result, Bordeaux’s wine growing and winemaking methods have become an international benchmark.
The Bordeaux region is a geographical area with some indisputable climatic advantages. First of all, its proximity to the sea and its riverbeds gives it a moderate and stable climate suitable for wine production.
Secondly, it is also an area with numerous microclimates. In addition, the composition of its soils is very diverse which means the wines are very different from one part of the Bordeaux region to another.
Vineyards spread along both sides of the Garonne river providing subtle and harmonious wines. These wines are capable of satisfying the most demanding palate. People who come to visit Bordeaux can get close to the vineyards and visit majestic residences and cellars.
Furthermore, they can admire the beauty of the landscape while enjoying a tasting in one of the most prestigious wine regions in the world.
Citè du Vin (City of Wine)
The whole universe of wine is reflected in the Citè du Vin, a venue dedicated to leisure and culture. The curves of its exterior represent the roundness of the wine swirling in its glass. You can discover all the facets of the soul of wine through a visit inside that stimulates all five senses.
Since its opening in 2016, it has not ceased to attract tourists arriving in Bordeaux. To date, over 1,500,000 people have visited this architectural jewel. It offers a spectacular journey through the richness and diversity of wine that appeals to a broad audience.
The visit ends with a wine tasting on the top floor of the building overlooking the river Garonne and the city.
Get a preview of the best wines from the Bordeaux region through Wine.com. Chat with a personal sommelier to select wines based on your flavor preferences and budget then get the bottles delivered to your door. Check out their bottle selection and wine experts here.
Fête du Vin (Wine Festival)
Fête du Vin has become the major wine tourism event in Europe and is held every two years. It is organized by the inter-branch wine association and the Tourist Office. For four days, life in Bordeaux revolves around its star product: wine.
Winegrowers, winemakers and almost half a million wine lovers gather on the quays of the Garonne. This iconic open-air wine bar route allows the public to stop at local food tasting stands, visit legendary boats, attend numerous events such as fireworks or musical evenings.
Visitors can even take part in gastronomic workshops led by real chefs.
École du Vin de Bordeaux (School of Wine)
Being in the city of wine par excellence and not being able to appreciate its nuances and flavors would be a shame. Luckily the solution is simple. The school of wine is the perfect place to take an introductory journey into the world of wine.
From the fundamentals to intensive oenology workshops, no matter what your knowledge, there are courses for all levels, from beginners to professionals. Courses led by wine experts teach how to observe the wine and its color, appreciate its aromas, guess its composition and even go into the art of food and wine pairing.
Thirty minutes away from Bordeaux, this beautiful medieval town between vineyards and streams is a must for wine lovers. It has a long and rich history, from pilgrimage center to monastic town.
A wall surrounds this town full of steep streets and small honey-colored houses. During the Middle Ages, the town was separated into an upper and a lower part. The bourgeoisie lived in the upper part and the peasants in the lower one.
You can still visit the gate today that separated the two social classes of the city. Back then it would have been closed with a chain.
In addition to its historic center, there are also castles and cellars where the renowned Saint-Emilion wine is produced. Moreover, no less than 5,000 hectares of vineyards make up the landscape of the eight communes of Saint-Emilion.
These vineyards belong to 860 different wineries, four of which have the Premier Grand Cru Classe A label, the highest quality label.
There are numerous cellars attached to the Saint Emilion designation of origin open to the public to visit the property and taste their wine. The best way to explore this area is to rent a bicycle from the town’s tourist office and follow one of the routes to discover the area’s châteaux.
Route of the Médoc Châteaux
Another route around Bordeaux is that of the châteaux of the Médoc. Above all, it is perfect for cycling and making stops at famous châteaux such as Margaux.
There are about 9,000 cellars are concentrated in the Bordeaux region, 7,000 of which are chateaux. To clarify, the designation of a chateau is when cellars are surrounded by their own vineyards from which they obtain the grapes to make wine.
Extending from Bordeaux to Pointe de Grave, this route contains most of the region’s great designation of origin wines. Consequently, it is known as one of the world’s most prestigious wine-growing areas.
Bordeaux is the perfect place to discover the culture of wine: from visiting the Cité du Vin to having a drink in front of the Garonne or taking a guided tour. The ways to enjoy the city through its main product are endless.
Book This Trip
Ready to plan your flavor-filled escape to Bordeaux? Start preparing with knowledge on how to get around, hotel and VRBO accommodations, local restaurant reviews and more through TripAdvisor and Travelocity.
Plan even more fun during your stay in France by booking unique activities in Bordeaux, expert-led tours, wine tastings and skip-the-line tickets through GetYourGuide. Find more tour information and book your dates in advance here.
Helpful websites for planning your vacation:
- Enter the Cité du Vin (laciteduvin.com)
- Bordeaux Wine School: Wine courses, Oenology lessons, Bordeaux Wine discovery (ecoleduvindebordeaux.com)
Author Bio: Based in France, Lucia Otero Medraño is Spanish with a master’s degree in travel journalism. She has worked in the tourism sector but her true passion is to live enriching experiences and discover amazing places around the world and write about them. In her spare time, she likes to enjoy her second passion, music.