‘Wine is the Eiffel Tower of Bordeaux’

Bordeaux Fête le Vin is the unmissable annual wine festival for the city’s inhabitants, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors keen to discover the wealth of their region.

In the run-up to the next edition from 27 to 30 June 2024, Brigitte Bloch, President of the BMTCO and an active player for many years in the wine tourism and business sector, offers her insight on this festive event in tune with the times.

What will the highlights of the 2024 Bordeaux Fête le Vin be?

Gastronomy is the theme of this latest edition, with Chefs’ Huts [Cabanes de chefs.effes] located along the festival route, showcasing the talent of six Bordeaux-based chefs and waiting to tantalise visitors’ tastebuds. All the menus on offer adhere to the ‘75/25’ commitment, i.e. 75% plant-based and 25% animal. Alongside this gourmet experience we’re developing in partnership with the national agency, Atout France, to reiterate how well wine pairs with fine food, the 2024 edition will pay tribute to Liverpool, a longstanding partner city of Bordeaux. Other highlights will include the Grands Crus 1855 classification tasting session at the Palais de la Bourse, and two evenings of drone shows, which we’re organising for the second time running.

Bordeaux Fête le Vin has existed since 1998. How do you explain the event’s longevity?

I think there are several reasons. The event’s festive and convivial atmosphere firstly. Secondly, the sailboats moored along the quays, now a systematic feature and a huge hit with visitors; and finally, the opportunity to taste wines and meet people. Since the health crisis, we’ve placed particular emphasis on making this not only a quayside festival, but a coming-together of Bordeaux wine connoisseurs and novices. This is why we launched the Avant-premières de Bordeaux Fête le Vin (23-26 June), a series of preview events in towns across the Metropolitan area, during which wine-growers present their produce in wine shops, restaurants and at tasting concerts. Reforging this link with local inhabitants and thus bringing them closer to their heritage is key for us. It’s vital they discover the wines of the region they live in. After all, there are not that many cities which share their name with a vineyard!

Is Bordeaux Fête le Vin a direct factor of the region’s attractiveness?

This event forms part of our region’s identity, and thus its attractiveness. Our vineyard is highly appealing and we benefit from its success…wine is the Eiffel Tower of Bordeaux! The success of Bordeaux Fête le Vin is primarily on a regional level. According to our figures, 77% of visitors are from the Gironde department, 85% from the South-West and 4% from Paris. These extremely encouraging figures nevertheless show that while the event is very popular, there is a long way to go before it achieves national and then international renown. We’re also working on this aspect, by inviting foreign journalists or offering a specific welcome for tour operators, to encourage them to come spontaneously to Bordeaux and enjoy France’s largest wine festival.

The Festival has succeeded in adapting to current societal trends.

Bordeaux’s city authorities are behind this drive, with a two-part strategy for environmental impact. Firstly, the aim is to showcase the progress made by winegrowers, 75% of whom are committed to CSR or HEV procedures, with a quarter of the vineyard certified organic. This eco-responsible approach also applies to the actual organisation of the event, now ISO 20121-certified. We’re working actively to reduce waste, through the use of reusable materials for example, or by calling on ‘green brigades’ who help visitors to sort their litter. This investment has paid off; the amount of waste produced by Bordeaux Fête le Vin fell by 34% between 2022 and 2023. Responsible tourism is growing constantly in our region, so we need to set an example!

What are the aims for Bordeaux Fête sur Vin in the years to come?

In addition to pursuing these sustainable commitments, we will continue to keep a watchful eye on new consumer expectations. I believe chilled red wines or wine-based cocktails will already feature in the 2024 edition. This capacity for adaptation illustrates the modernity of Bordeaux wines and their ability to move with the times. Lastly, and more than ever, our aim is to strengthen the ties between the wine sector and the region’s inhabitants, including young people. We’re delighted to see that 40% of visitors are aged 18 to 34, which actually forms the largest proportion! In short, if the region’s inhabitants of all ages are proud of their wine and become its ambassadors, then we’ve done a good job!

Bordeaux Fête le Vin from 27 to 30 June, along the quays of Bordeaux, promises a rich programme of tasting, experiences and emotions.

Don’t miss the Avant-Premières from 20 to 23 June also, across the entire metropolitan area of Bordeaux.

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