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Burgundy and Bordeaux compete to host ‘UN of wine’

Speculation has been growing in French media about which candidate president Emmanuel Macron will back as a potential headquarters of international wine body OIV, but nothing has been confirmed.

Dijon in Burgundy, Reims in Champagne and the city of Bordeaux have been competing for the honour of hosting the new headquarters of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).

Rome is also in the running as a possible destination, according to The Times.

The OIV, dubbed by some as a sort of United Nations of the wine world, is currently based in Paris but has decided to move its headquarters – sparking a rivalry over its new location.

While nothing has been confirmed, there was strong speculation in some parts of the French press this week that French president Emmanuel Macron was set to support a bid from Dijon.

If correct, that could mean Burgundy becoming France’s candidate city to host the prestigious wine body.

In an article under the headline, ‘does Macron like Bordeaux?’, French newspaper Sud-Ouest reported on Wednesday (7 July) that Dijon’s offer to host the OIV was likely to get the French president’s public backing.

It cited officials in Bordeaux in its article, although no formal announcement has been made.

Dijon’s mayor, François Rebsamen, was quoted by radio station France Bleu on 15 June as saying that the OIV was ‘in a way the UN of wine’ and that ‘we want to make Dijon a wine capital of the world’.

A spokesperson for the OIV confirmed to Decanter.com that Reims, Dijon and Bordeaux were being considered by the French government.

France’s ministry of agriculture was due to make a decision on which location to formally propose, but it is up to OIV member states to make the final decision on where to locate the group’s HQ.

The spokesperson said, ‘A [French government] proposal for this location should be made at the next OIV General Assembly next Monday, 12 July. This does not mean that a decision will be taken next Monday. The OIV member states have a period of reflection and will vote during the next meetings in October 2021.’

She added, ‘During this process, the OIV secretariat in Paris has no power to intervene other than establishing specifications concerning the needs of the Organisation.’

As of January 2021, the OIV had 48 member states around the wine world. Several organisations also have observer status at the body, which is an intergovernmental organisation.

The UK became the 48th full member state on 1 January 2021, following Brexit.

Updated at 16:20 UK time on 9 July 2021, to include comments from the OIV. 

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