The SOMM Journal

June / July 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 14 of 124

14 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2017 { notebook } FOR CENTURIES, BOURGOGNE—as the French now prefer the Burgundy region to be called in English—has been famous for terroir-defined wines: the centuries-old concept that different microclimates and plots of land yield greater or lesser wines, depending on location. Such is the origin of the regions more than 560 Premiers and 33 Grands Crus. In July 2015, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized the "Climats de Bourgogne" as a World Heritage. That recognition renewed impetus to a 17.1 million ($18.7 million) project, planned since 2010, that, by 2020, should create new wine sites and attractions for both professionals and the public through - out the region, according to Jérôme Diguet, who leads mar keting and communication for the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB). The project—Cités des Vins de Bourgogne—focuses on Bourgogne's wine capital, Beaune, as well as Chablis to the north and Mâcon to the south, to respond to increasing wine tourism throughout France in recent years, Diguet said. Some 7.5 million wine tourists visited the country in 2009, but the figure jumped to 10 million last year, according to government statistics. Diguet tells The Somm Journal that the BIVB has noticed an increase over the same period in tourists visiting Bourgogne wineries and the length of stay at hotels. The Cités des Vins refers to three Cités to be created in Chablis, Mâcon and Beaune. "We want to show people that Bourgogne is not just about the Côte d'Or, as we have many wines to appreciate in Chablis and in Mâcon," Diguet said. In Beaune, a brand new ten-hectare (24.3- acre) site will be constructed. The BIVB and its partners—French regional and national government agencies, along with EU and private sponsors—are not yet at the stage of a call to tender for architects, but a new reception hall, five-star hotel and gourmet restaurant will be built in the somewhat nondescript area between the city and highway exit, near the Palais des Congrès, or exhibition hall. A new park will be part of the landscape of the Cité, along with pedestrian and bike paths to be constructed alongside the picturesque Bouzaise stream from Beaune to the Cité, explained Diguet. To be open year round, the site will include periodic seminars for sommeliers and other professionals featuring famous chefs for wine and food pairings, Diguet said. More general wine tastings for the wider public with Bourgogne cuisine will be featured on a daily basis as part of the attraction, he adds. A wine boutique will offer wine bottles, along with tasting notes and terroir descriptions. "We want to taste and smell and see Bourgogne," he said, pointing out that art exhibits, related to food and wine, are also planned, along with a new bookshop. Similar attractions planned on a smaller scale in Chablis and Mâcon—as the other two Cités—will include important renova - tions to existing buildings but not entirely new sites. Builders will extend and renovate the 12th-century Cellier du Petit Pontigny in Chablis, for example, and both the Maison des Vins du BIVB and the Maison Mâconnaise des Vins in Mâcon will be reno - vated to create spaces for tastings, exhibits and seminars open to the general public. The ambitious project envisions some 65,000 annual visitors to all three sites, with an entrance fee for about $16 per person. A new website would serve as a "virtual network" of the three sites, with information on common themes throughout Bourgogne, starting with the two main grapes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to explanations of climate, or terroir, differences. "We will finally have a tool for a new era of wine tourism, designed to please both the general public and professionals, to emphasize how our different climates yield wines that are diverse, rich and subtle," Diguet said. REMAPPING BOURGOGNE FOR A NEW WINE TOURISM ERA by Panos Kakaviatos Cités des Vins de Bourgogne PHOTO: PIXEL 68 VIA THINKSTOCK The flamboyant gothic Hôtel-Dieu of Beaune is home of the famed Hospices de Beaune, a charitable institution that dates back to 1443. Beaune, along with Chablis and Mâcon, will become home to one of the three new Cités de Vins de Bourgogne, designed to attract tourists to the region.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The SOMM Journal - June / July 2017