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The genesis of La Cité du Vin
The cultural, heritage and universal dimensions of wine
Wine is inextricably linked to France’s culture and living heritage, but also to various other countries across five continents. It has forged bonds between people, shaped landscapes, and generated myths, rites and a genuine culture.
Wine has been at the heart of human life since 5500 BC. It sculpts our landscapes, accompanies our beliefs, lifestyles, traditions and social practices, and invades our imaginations.
Universal, pluralistic, it crosses borders and centuries, leaving its tangible and intangible mark everywhere. It is constantly being reinvented in new forms and for multiple purposes.
The aim of La Cité du Vin is to share this age-old culture with an international public, demystify its meaning, and help to protect and pass on this intangible universal heritage. It is this mission of knowledge transfer which prompted La Cité du Vin to be named a public-interest project by the French government.
Bordeaux, cultural and global capital of wine
Throughout its history Bordeaux has helped to spread wine culture across the world thanks to its port and its development, inextricably linked to wine. Enjoying an international reputation and an exceptional image thanks to the precious nectar with which it is associated, Bordeaux is in a state of radical transformation and has been consistently ranked among the major European tourist destinations for more than a decade.
Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 and European Best Destination in 2015, this Gironde city – which played host to more than five million tourists in 2014 – is attracting an increasing number of investors, tourists and new residents.
The LGV high-speed train line which will put Bordeaux just two hours from Paris in 2017, projects to establish new flight connections to Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport, the development of river and sea cruises calling at the Port de la Lune: all of these are positive signals for the Bordeaux metropolis’s tourism, leisure and business development.
Where better than Bordeaux to host such an iconic venue as La Cité du Vin?
Initially named the Centre Culturel et Touristique du Vin and then the Cité des Civilisations du Vin, the project was born in 2009.
The La Cité du Vin pre-launch association, chaired by Sylvie Cazes and headed by Philippe Massol, has been responsible from the very beginning for coordinating feasibility studies alongside the City of Bordeaux, the building’s eventual client and owner.
The founding members of the association were the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region, Bordeaux Metropole, City of Bordeaux, Bordeaux Wines Council (CIVB) and Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and Industry. An endowment fund was created in 2011 to accept private donations. In January 2015, the association handed over to the Fondation pour la Culture et les Civilisations du Vin which is operating La Cité du Vin and ensuring its development and promotion.
It is against this background that La Cité du Vin opens its doors in June 2016 in the Bassins à Flot district. This unique cultural recreation site, covering more than 14,000 m2, represents a major draw for the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region and France as a whole.