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Bordeaux to host major new wine culture centre

Bordeaux plans to open a major venue for wine culture in April 2012, Mayor Alain Juppé has announced.

Despite chronic financial setbacks faced by similar projects such as London’s Vinopolis and Napa Valley-based Copia, the Bordelais are confident that they have a different approach.

‘We are setting out from the beginning to make this an economically viable project,’ Sylvie Cazes, president of the Union des Grands Crus, told decanter.com.

Cazes, who works with Mayor Juppé on wine development ventures, pointed out that Copia and Vinopolis were privately funded, while the Bordeaux project will be a public-private partnership. Stakeholders will include the city of Bordeaux, the Bordeaux Wine Bureau (CIVB), the tourist office, the regional government and possibly the European Union.

‘This is a necessary tool for structuring an entire economy. There will of course be a cultural aspect to the site, explaining the history of wine, but it also will be a tourist hub for guiding visitors to the region and hospitality centre with restaurants and bars. There will be office space for companies in the wine industry.’

The Bordeaux centre is budgeted at €40m (£34.4m), and will be located either in the Right Bank riverside area of La Bastide, or in Bacalan, near the traditional wine trade district of Chartrons – close to the site of a new bridge also due to open to 2012.

Copia, the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, filed for bankruptcy in 2008 with debts of at least $78m (£67m) but may yet reopen, while Vinopolis has reinvented itself several times since it launched in 1999.

A cultural centre celebrating the production and consumption of Port is planned for Vila Nova de Gaia.

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Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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