Bordeaux's new multi-million pound Cité des Civilisations du Vin made its debut this morning, as the first stone and set of vines were unveiled during a special preview ceremony.
Each of the project’s major stakeholders, including institutional representatives, sponsors, partners, architects, and builders, were present at the Les Forges site to officially launch the building of the centre.
Bordeaux Mayor Alain Juppe began the presentation ceremony with a speech thanking those involved ‘for making the project a reality’ and to ‘celebrate such a unique occasion’.
Juppe especially praised the ‘renown that will come with the centre’, increasing the ‘international reputation of Bordeaux, the Gironde and Aquitaine’.
The ceremony was held as part of this year’s Vinexpo in Bordeaux, and marked two years since the project was first unveiled at the fair in 2011.
The new centre, set on the banks of the River Garonne, will house a permanent circuit of wine themes including models of different terroirs and vineyards from around the world.
In addition, a programme of flavour workshops, interactive sensory stations, annual exhibitions and artistic performances are planned for the new centre.
Speaking to Decanter.com at the launch, Sylvie Cazes – president of the Cité des Civilisations du Vin association – said, ‘It’s a historic day because for the first time there’s going to be a place where we can have all the wines in the world gathered.’
‘Everybody will be able learn all about their cultures which is so important, and all in the heart of Bordeaux. I‘m very proud because we managed to gather all the energies around this project – all the institutional bodies, and also a lot of people from the vineyards to the merchants.’
‘There’s been a lot of private money and public money given, and everybody gathered together around the project – this is very unique in France, and in the world,’ she added.
The inauguration of the Cite des Civilisations du Vin is set for spring 2016 and organisers hope the centre will attract more than 400,00 visitors a year to Bordeaux, including 320,000 tourists from outside the region.