When I learned of plans of an all-encompassing wine museum, I was dubious—even a little anxious—that such a thing would be possible. In over 10 years of studying wine, I had learned as much about what I didn’t know as what I did. How could so much information fit in one building or experience?
Now five years old, La Cité du Vin, or The City of Wine, has certainly grown on me. It only took half a decade.
Nestled among the cityscape, glistening to and fro against the sunlight are the unmistakable, sinuous curves of this new Bordeaux landmark. There’s nothing else like it in the world. Its shape is unfamiliar. Bulbous. A bit alien, in fact. Its size is behemoth, but each of those shape and size considerations was thoroughly considered.
Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières of XTU Architects envisioned a space that would convey the movement of wine: the way wine looks when swirled in a glass and gnarly, untrellised old vines. But one thing the architects perhaps did not anticipate was just how much of a movement the world of wine would see. The shifting world of wine was beginning to mimic a winemaker’s blend.
Since La Cité du Vin aims to distill thousands of years of wine history into a multisensory amalgam that bridges the divide of wine and culture, this past year has given it fodder for generations to come. The wine world shifted to be on the right side of history, and as a cultural landmark and keeper of histories, the Cité is more relevant now than it ever was.