Chateau Beychevelle is to build a winery housed almost entirely by glass to allow visitors and passers-by to see behind the scenes at the fourth growth St Julien estate.

Chateau Beychevelle is known as the Versailles of the Medoc.

In a further sign that Bordeaux’s estates are increasingly willing to open up to the public, Beychevelle’s glass-walled winery would it make vats and winemaking facilities visible from the D2 Route des Chateaux that runs through Medoc.

The winery plan forms part of a broader renovation project believed to be costing around 15m euros, although the estate has not confirmed the amount.

Taking the concept of a chef’s table – where you watch the chef prepare the food – Beychevelle commissioned architect Arnaud Boulain and Atelier BPM to work on the building design.

‘As chateaux have increasingly opened up to their consumers in recent years, a glass cellar seemed an interesting way to show that there are no secrets to be hidden in great winemaking,’ Boulain said. He previously worked on renovations at Chateaux L’Evangile, Angelus, Pedesclaux and Cos d’Estournel.

‘We will begin demolishing the exiting visitor centre in the next few weeks and hope to finish the build in time for the 2016 harvest,’ Beycheville director Philippe Blanc told Decanter.com.

‘The winery will follow the same model as many others in the Medoc over recent years, where numbers of stainless steel tanks will be increased [but] will become smaller in size and [so] better adapted to plot-by-plot winemaking.’

Beychevelle is also renovating its 1,400 square-metre barrel room. It plans to move its visitor centre and tasting room to the 18th Century chateau building, with its Louis XV architecture and park that led to the estate being known as the ‘Versailles of the Medoc’.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux