Sustainable development enables a harmonious development process that takes into account the environmental, social and economic impact of activities. It has been incorporated into Foundation for wine culture and civilisations and Cité du Vin ever since they were created: in the construction of the building itself, in the actions taken by the Foundation’s teams, and in the design of the content and activities offered to La Cité du Vin audiences.
Located in Les Bassins à Flot, a former industrial and port area that has been transformed into an eco-district, Cité du Vin is served by various forms of public transport (tram, bus, river shuttle, self-service urban bicycle network): it encourages both employees and visitors to use soft mobility.
The building was designed by architectural firm XTU to ensure the lowest possible impact on the environment. 70% of Cité du Vin’s energy needs are therefore covered by local and green energy sources.
With a high-performance bioclimatic design, the construction’s compact shape enables it to optimise ventilation within the building. Air inlets at low points take advantage of prevailing winds, whilst courtyards and high points evacuate heat, generating an air current which alone creates an additional 5 degrees of cooling during the summer and limits the need to use air conditioning. In addition, the roof is protected from the sun by a ‘ventilated shade’ which helps to control the temperature, as does the use of geothermal energy.
As part of operating the building, all energy consumption data is collected and overseen by technical building management software in order to control and reduce consumption. The paints and varnishes used all bear environmental labels, as do more than 80% of the detergents in use. The Fondation staff are also trained in energy savings and environmental actions to undertake on site.
Cité du Vin is linked to the Garonne by a ‘wild garden’. Located in a listed Natura 2000 zone, it matches the damp environment specific to the river and has also refreshed the area immediately around the building.
The aims of the permanent exhibition, the heart of the cultural activities available, include making visitors more aware of respecting nature and the environment. It offers a close look at the vineyards, showing visitors the impact that humans have on the landscape and the need to preserve it. It touches on the questions of organic winegrowing, biodynamic winegrowing and natural wines, using various forms of presentation: winemakers offering up their personal thoughts via the Winegrowers and Terroirs module, videos within the In the Vines module, or the Wine Trend Alley.
Digital system maintenance focuses on the most energy-efficient solutions available: video servers are replaced with much less power-hungry models, and the implementation of hyperconverged infrastructure to host information management systems has also reduced electricity needs.
In addition, particular attention is paid to waste management and production: replacing lamp projectors with laser models will eliminate mercury lamp waste (plastic, electronics and heavy metals) in the future.
All waste is sorted onsite, with the majority sent for recycling.
Temporary exhibitions also tackle the question of sustainable development where relevant. For example, for the Mind Blowing! When Art and Design Meet Glass exhibition from 15 March to 30 June 2019, the Fondation produced a film entitled Season(s), a Tale of Creation (directed by Jérôme de Gerlache): it showcased the work of biodynamic winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt, as well as designer Matali Crasset whose awareness of the impact of her profession on how things are used prompted her to incorporate this reflection into her professional activities, creating innovative objects and spaces.
As far as possible, the exhibitions are designed to use scenography based on reusable furnishings (the Fondation has acquired self-supporting panels and independent lighting systems) and recycled and recyclable elements. For example, 62% of the scenography for the Mind Blowing! exhibition was reused for subsequent exhibitions (Argentina, Drinking with the Gods). Elements that cannot be reused are made available to other cultural venues or associations, which then transform them for other uses. Reuse is a prerequisite included in the specifications given to scenographers consulted for temporary exhibitions, as is environmental design (solvent-free paints, wood from managed forests etc.).
The artworks presented come from a limited number of lenders in order to reduce transport requirements, with group transport the preferred option. And if the Fondation commissions works from contemporary artists, local artists are the first port of call: for example, three Bordeaux urban artists were asked to participate in the Drinking with the Gods exhibition until 29 August 2021.
The events of the cultural programme also focus strongly on sustainable development, ecology or biodiversity: from 2017 to 2021, no fewer than 26 events (conferences, encounters, debates, tastings, awards ceremonies etc.) tackled these topics.
In addition, the events themselves are managed as virtuously as possible: using reusable crockery and containers for all food and wine tastings, ensuring public accountability, and avoiding plastic water bottles for conference attendees. All HF microphones use rechargeable batteries.
Food and wine tasting workshops are organised in partnership with committed local suppliers (e.g. organic Hasnaa chocolate made from fairtrade cocoa, Sturia caviar – an Aquitaine-based maturer, producer and refiner of French caviar, and producers recommended by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Food Agency).
On the belvedere, organic wines are showcased among the examples available for tasting, and organic fruit juices are supplied by a Bordeaux producer (Maison Meneau).
Cardboard boxes, bottles, corks and capsules are sorted and recycled.
Daily cleaning of surfaces is performed using natural products.
For communications, the use of paper has been reduced: the latest cultural programme is communicated entirely via digital media (website, social networks, newsletter), and the very occasional poster campaigns are limited to the Bordeaux metropolitan area and a few major nearby waypoints. The number of distribution points for tourism brochures has been reduced to cover only the region’s key sites. The printers only use PEFC-certified paper and hold the Imprim’Vert label.
At the shop, particular care and attention is paid to the suppliers chosen. A growing number of local suppliers are being showcased. The bags provided for purchases are made of recycled paper or cotton.
The Foundation for wine culture and civilisations dation obtained the NF Environnement label for tourist venues.