Looking for a breath of fresh air during your vacation? To keep your spirits up all year round, head for the Bordeaux vineyards! And to find the perfect place, or stay, in the heart of the vines, reach for "Le Guide Best of Wine Tourism".
Organised by the Network of Great Wine-growing Capitals, and the Bordeaux-Gironde Chamber of Commerce and Industry, since 2002, every year the Best of Wine Tourism contest gives awards not only to the most outstanding wine tourism sites in Bordeaux but also in nine other viticultural destinations around the world.
For each vintage, around twenty Bordeaux appellations are acclaimed in seven categories across a wide variety of themes: Architecture & Landscapes, Art & Culture, Discovery & Innovation, Accomodation, Improving Environmental practices, On-site dining, Wine Tourism Services. Here's a zoom on a few winners of recent editions.
Château La Dominique, for its architecture
Nestled in the middle of the green Saint-Émilion vines, the château La Dominique stands out with its red steel architectural winery dreamt up by renowned architect Jean Nouvel. Dazzling from the outside, this exceptional building changes colour depending on the light, just like shades of wine, and with its ultra-modern, stainless steel-clad vat it's just as outstanding on the inside. In sharp contrast, the barrel storehouse has a more woody, relaxed atmosphere. Visitors are in for another pleasant surprise on the roof-terrace of this contemporary building, home to the La Terrasse Rouge restaurant and the ideal setting for savouring the local cuisine while taking in the magnificent views over the vineyards and neighbouring properties.
Château Castera, Medoc, for art and culture
For a trip back in time, welcome to château Castera! The history of this property dates back to feudalism and since those far away times many illustrious characters, including Etienne de La Boétie and Michel de Montaigne, have settled here. Yet, far from being stuck in the past, the property keeps a foot firmly in the present by organising an annual exhibition of contemporary artists, in the style of Élodie Linarès's paintings or the sculptures of Vincent Libecq.
Château de Reignac, Entre-deux-Mers, for Discovery and Innovation
Situated just outside Bordeaux, this outstanding property was crowned with a Best of d'Or in France and Internationally in 2018 for its rich contribution to wine tourism and the quality of its welcome. A well-deserved reward for this highly-imaginative estate located in an enchanting setting. For the past few years, on top of traditional visits Reignac has come up with a host of original ideas to give visitors an unforgettable experience: a scented garden, a mountain bike tour of the property, lunch formulas... And to bring the visits to life, they've hired the services of a rather unusual guide. Working in tandem with the humans is Reignyx, a loveable little character dreamt up by technical director Nicolas Lesaint. Sketched on a notebook or on photos, he explains wine harvesting and vinification in drawings. Ideal for all ages and nationalities!
Château Le Pape, for its guest rooms
For a night out of time in the middle of the vineyards just a stone's throw from Bordeaux, rendez-vous at château Le Pape. Here, in a completely renovated eighteenth century Chartreuse, spacious guest rooms overlooking a calm, sheltered garden await the visitor. A stay in the heart of the estate is also the ideal opportunity to try out some wine tasting, make the most of the infinity pool above the vineyard or set off to explore the appellation's vines on bikes provided by the property. And if you feel peckish after the effort, just 2km away the château Haut-Bailly Private Table serves meals in the privacy of its reception rooms.
Château Lamothe Bergeron, Médoc, for its interactive visits
Just steps from the mythical D2 road, dotted with the most famous names in the Medoc region, sits château Lamothe Bergeron, a gem just waiting to be discovered! This Medoc property has managed to create a distinctive visit, where interactivity is the key word. The scenography works its magic by leading visitors into the world of wine and its production, through play on light, moving pictures and short explanatory films. This awakening of the senses continues with a daring encounter between macaroons and wine. The property also offers customised catering and private rooms for company seminars.