Burgundy Follows Bordeaux With Plans to Open ‘City of Wine’ Centre

Following on from Bordeaux’s new Centre of Wine Culture and Tourism, Burgundy is planning to open a new 10 million euro centre called the Cité des Vins de Bourgogne The City of Burgundy Wines). According to Decanter.com the BIVB (Burgundy Wine Bureau) said that Burgundy’s Cité des Vins de Bourgogne will be be built in the city of Beaune and construction is expected to start in 2016.

A maximum of 2 million euros of the 10 million euro budget is coming from the BIVB, and the project is currently being overseen by BIVB president Pierre-Henri Gagey. The rest they hope to find from private enterprises.

At the same time, Dijon is planning a separate Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie to celebrate becoming one of France’s four inaugural gourmet cities. This is expected to open in 2016 within the city’s historic hospital building.

Beaune hosts 1.7 million tourists a year and more than 450,000 pay to enter the Hospices de Beaune (a former charitable alms house founded in 1443 that is now a museum).

The Hospices de Beaune hosts an important charity wine auction each November amid a 3 day festival devoted to the food and wines of Burgundy called Les Trois Glorieuses. The charity is preceded by a black tie dinner at the Clos de Vougeot on day one and followed by the lunch La Paulée de Meursault on day 3.

The Domaine des Hospices de Beaune is a non-profit organisation which owns around 150 acres of donated vineyard land, much of this classified Grand and Premier Cru. Christies has organised the auction since 2005 and thanks to the bidding prices usually well in excess of the current commercial values.

Burgundy’s Cité des Vins de Bourgogne will span 1200m2 and will be located on a six-hectare site on the outskirts of the city, with easy access from one of the busiest European motorways. The project is seen as part of the drive to have the Burgundy climats accepted as a world heritage site by UNESCO.

Bordeaux was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007 and its Centre of Wine Culture and Tourism, situated opposite the Bassins à Flot (the Wet Docks), the “Quai des Vins”, on the Forges site (old ironworks), is expected to attract 425,000 people each year.

The first stone of the building was laid during VINEXPO this year and it’s due to open in 2016. The design for the building was inspired by the ellipse of wine swirling in a glass and is by the architects X-Tu and London design agency Casson Mann, who were the winning duo selected from 113 candidates (Bordeaux held a competition for the best design).

Bordeaux’s budget is estimated to be 60 million euros for the Wine Centre which spans 14,000m2. The city of Bordeaux has contributed 12.5 million euros with additional funding from other bodies, including 15 million euros from Bordeaux chateaux and wine merchants – (Bernard Magrez, owner of several chateaux including Chateau Pape Clement and Domaine Clarence Dillon (owners of Chateau Haut Brion, La Mission etc) have pledged millions of euros between them).

It’ll be interesting to see the final designs of Burgundy’s Wine City, I wonder if it will turn out to be as futuristic as Bordeaux’s?

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