Wine Tourism in and Around Bordeaux

  • 01 of 04

    Wine Tours in and around Bordeaux

    Chateau Yquem in Sauternes
    ••• Chateau Yquem in Sauternes. Getty/Tim Graham

    Bordeaux is one of the world's great wine cities and the heart of the largest fine wine producing region in France. Here you'll come across some of the most famous names that conjure up the good life. You'll find the neat vineyards clustered around such grand châteaux of Pétrus, Mouton Rothschild, Latour, Haut-Brion, Yqeum, and more. 

    Wine-Growing Areas

    From Bordeaux, the Garonne joins the Dordogne and both rivers flow north into the Gironde and then the Atlantic Sea. The major wine-growing areas lie on what is known as the left and the right banks. To the east, the left bank consists of Médoc to the north of Bordeaux, and Graves to the south of Bordeaux. On the right bank, the northernmost region is Côte de Blaye, less well known but well worth exploring for good wines at slightly cheaper prices. Below that stretches those famous names of Pomerol and Saint-Emilion (one of France's UNESCO World Heritage sites)  and Entre-Deux-Mers.

    On this page, you'll find information...MORE on wine attractions in Bordeaux, wine tours outside Bordeaux and wine bars and shops.

    Special Bespoke Wine Tours of Bordeaux

    For a special bespoke tour, organised for individuals and small groups, contact the experts at Exclusive France Tours. The founder, Marie Tesson, knows her terroirs, and vineyards and can arrange a tour which takes in visiting those top houses that are usually closed to the public, private tours of the big names and the chance to taste their wines with the owner. 

    It's a wonderful experience and takes you beyond standing at the gates of the great houses and taking a photograph. Exclusive France can take you into the likes of Château d'Yquem. 

    Exclusive France Tours: Tel.: +33 493 218 119.

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  • 02 of 04

    Wine Attractions, Shops and Markets in Bordeaux

    L'Intendant Wine Shop in Bordeaux
    ••• L'Intendant Wine Shop in Bordeaux. Getty/Holgar Leue LOOK foto

    June 2016 saw the opening of La Cité du Vin which introduces you to the world of wine in a spectacular and very high-tech way. It’s a great new attraction, giving you a worldwide tour of wines and regions from Bali to Thailand, from western Europe to North America, from Bordeaux to Australia. You’ll need at least 3 hours to do this properly; a better plan is to reckon on half a day, ending (or starting) with lunch in the café or restaurant or a picnic on the banks of the Garonne outside the attraction.

    The Wine and Trade Museum (Musée du Vin et de Négoce) takes the conventional route. Housed in old cellars in the former wine merchant area of Chartrons, it’s a dusty, old-fashioned place where barrels, old documents, wine equipment, maps and short videos illustrate just how important Bordeaux has been in the history of wine.  You finish with a tasting of two different wines and the chance to buy. It's at 41 rue Borie, 00 33 (0)5 56 90 19 13. Open Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm. Adult...MORE €10.

    For a serious approach to wine, visit the CIVB in the Maison du Vin de Bordeaux, home to the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bordeaux (Bordeaux Wine Council). Here you can take a short or long and professional course on wine. Best for visitors is the 2-hour tasting (in English). These run just in the summer; check out the dates and information here

    Or you can just drop into Le Bar a Vins du CIVB at any time of the year for a great range of Bordeaux wines to sample. 3 cours du 30-Juillet, 00 33 (0)5 56 00 43 47. Open Monday to Saturday 11am-10pm.

    Bordeaux Wine Festival

    All wine lovers should try to visit during the Bordeaux Wine Festival, held each year at the beginning of June. It takes place along the quays and is a great opportunity to try top wines. It’s serious with over 120 Grand Crus on offer. This is not the place for casual drinking; a full tasting tour is €60.  There are also parades and exhibitions, and you can buy food plus a nightly sound and light show and fireworks. They also organise wine tours on Sunday, at €99 per person, and for €140 you can really push the boat out and enjoy a dinner accompanied by wines from a choice of 3 different Château vineyards around Bordeaux (transport included).

    Markets

    If you want the best lunch among locals, particularly at the weekend, make for the covered Capucins Market (Place Capucins, tramway C, stop at Saint Michel) where you can down oysters and white wine with the good citizens of Bordeaux. It's not beautiful, but inside it's a real treat. Open Mon-Fri 6am-1pm; Sat, Sun 5.30am-2.30pm. 

    Sunday sees the Marché des Quais (Quai des Chartrons), a producers' market along the river quayside. Another place for oysters and white wine and a whole lot of other food stalls as well. Open Sun, 7am-1pm for food and drink and to 4pm for crafts, books and more. 

    Wine Shops

    The best known in Bordeaux (and with the best architecture) is L'Intendant, offering around 15,000 bottles of wine from the humble to the lofty. 2 Allées de Tourny, 00 33 (0)5 56 48 01 29. Open Mon-Sat 10am-7.30pm. 

    Go to Cave Art & Vins for fine wines, particularly from Bordeaux. You'll also find whiskies and food here and Friday evening free tasting sessions (7pm to 9pm).  2 Place du Palais, 00 33 (0)5 56 06 35 44. Open Tues-Sat 10am-8.30pm; Sun 10am-2pm. 

    Don't miss La Vinothèque which has a huge selection of wines. 8 cours du 30 Juillet , 00 33 (0)5 56 52 32 05. 

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  • 03 of 04

    Wine tours around Bordeaux

    Chateau Coutet wine tasting
    ••• Chateau Coutet wine tasting. Mary Anne Evans

    The first place to book a wine tour is with the Tourist Office.  They run a variety of tours, from a half day Urban Wine Tour that takes you out to a château and ends at a wine Bar in Bordeaux itself, to a boat cruise which takes you by coach for a wine tour and tasting at a wine château followed by a trip to the Vauban fortress at Cussac-Fort-Médoc, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You return to Bordeaux by river with a tasting of Bordeaux wines included on board.

    The Tourist Office offers other tours as well, taking in over 16 wine estates which have Best of Wine Tourism Awards, meaning they have great architecture, gardens or offer more unusual tours. Most of them are in the prime wine regions in appellations such as Sauternes, Entre-Deux-Mers, Fronsac, Lalande-de-Pomerol, and Saint-Emilion. So take your pick.

    A Top Day Tour

    I went on a day tour to three different estates. All of these also welcome individuals so you can make your own way to each of them, and all have English speaking...MORE guides. The coach set off from the Tourist Office at ​9 am for an hour’s journey to Vignerons Tutiac (Côtes de Bordeaux) in Marcillac in Côtes de Blaye, northeast of Bordeaux. This large winery produces wines from 500 different estates. They also grow different varieties to test them in a special bio-diversity vineyard. It has a good range of wines at affordable prices.  

    Vignerons Tutiac
    La Cafourche
    33860 Marcillac
    Tel.: 00 33 (0)5 57 32 82 83
    Website:  (in French)
    Visits and opening times

    The next stop was for an excellent 3-course lunch in the former stables of Château Siaurac followed by a tour of the vineyards. It’s a lovely 19th-century classic mansion surrounded by trees and parkland, designated as one of France’s Jardins Remarkables. The owner, Paul Goldschmidt, offers individual visits and tastings (tours in English), workshops and meals. You can go one better and stay here. There’s a package at €580 for two people, and it comes with aperitifs, a candlelit dinner and breakfast, and a tour and tasting of the estate.

    Château Siaurac
    33500 Néac
    Tel.: 00 33 (0)5 57 51 65 20

    The drive to the last Château took us through the heart of top Bordeaux vineyards, past the likes of Pétrus and just half a kilometre from famous Saint-Emilion. Château Coutet is rather different from the other hugely expensive and prestigious estates. Château Coutet has been in the same family since 1601 and three generations still live on the estate. They might produce Grand Crus wine, but they are bio-dynamic, using no chemicals and harvesting by hand rather than machines. The small mansion is not grand, and the welcome is genuine. And the wines? Excellent and very good value.

    Château Coutet
    3330 Saint-Emilion
    Tel.: 00 33 (0)5 57 74 43 21
    Website:  (in English)

    Also, check out this Grand Crus tour

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  • 04 of 04

    Where to drink wine in Bordeaux

    Bordeaux cafe
    ••• Bordeaux cafe. Getty/John Harper

    There's very little that can compare to sitting in an outdoor cafe as the sun slowly sets, and drinking a glass of Bordeaux as you watch the world stroll by.

    The Tourist Office has an Urban Wine Trail route to download taking you on a wine bar tour of Bordeaux. Here are some recommendations.

    Just near the Bordeaux Wine Council, you’ll find Max Bordeaux, 14 Cours de l'Intendance, tel.: 00 33 (0)5 57 29 23 81.  Housed in an imposing Art Deco room, this is the place for tastings of Grand Cru Classé wines. £25 per glass introduces you to the likes of Latour, Margaux, Haut-Brion, Cheval Blanc, Mouton Rothschild and Yquem. Cheapskates can go for the table wines at £1 per glass.

    If you're visiting the CIVB to learn more, drop into Le Bar a Vins du CIVB at any time of the year for a great range of Bordeaux wines to sample. 3 cours du 30-Juillet, tel.: 00 33 (0)5 56 00 43 47. Monday to Saturday 11am-10pm

    The Italian owner of Le Wine Bar, 19 rue des Bahutiers, 00 33 (0)5 56 48 56 99, has...MORE an international outlook offering around 340 wines:  87 from Bordeaux, 88 from other parts of France, 87 from Italy, and 76 from around the world. You have to eat as well, but that’s no hardship with the Italian cheeses and charcuteries as well as foie gras and magret de Canard on offer. Monday to Saturday 7 pm to midnight; check the website for lunchtime openings.

    Chez le Pepere, 19 Rue Georges Bonnac, 00 33 (0)5 56 44 71 79, is a great convivial place for wines from around France (plus a good selection of beer), served along with special cheese and charcuterie, a bit of Jazz and a lot of rugby. Check out the special Wine, Song and Sausage pass for €10. Tuesday to Saturday 5pm-1.30am.