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Fall Might Find You…

August 30, 2009 - The Boston Globe - Travel


BORDEAUX, FRANCE: Sample a novel approach to French wine Traveling in wine country this fall? Check out one of the newest, and either one of the most unique or most out-of-place attractions in Bordeaux: La Winery.

“French men feel like they’re born knowing wine . . . or they’re supposed to,’’ says Pascal Babeau, Winery communications director. “But so often we feel like imbeciles in the tasting room. This place is made for people who don’t know wines.’’

Some say it’s about time. For better or worse, French wineries don’t have an American-style open-door policy for visitors. At many you have to call ahead to set up an appointment to visit. Now, they are playing catch-up.

“The US figured [wine tourism] out - even Spain and Italy did - but France is way behind,’’ says Arnaud Plard, Winery sommelier.

The Winery is completely out of step with Bordeaux tradition. The building is modern, the tastings use more of a “I like it/I don’t like it’’ approach to build a simple, personalized profile that can be taken to the shop and later to the table of The Winery’s restaurant, Le WY. Some French and connoisseurs balk at the gimmicky approach, but in 2008 - The Winery’s first full year - 50,000 people passed through its doors.

“It works because it’s atypical. People come here because they’ve seen two or three vineyards and want something else,’’ says Babeau. “If we weren’t different, nobody would come.’’

La Winery
Rond Point des Vendangeurs
Départementale 1
33460 Arsac en Médoc

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