In honour of International Museum Day – and as we once again begin to cautiously consider future travel plans – we take a look at some of the best wine museums around the world, from state-of-the-art facilities to the brilliantly quaint.
1. La Cite du Vin – Bordeaux, France
Opened in 2016, La Cite du Vin is a striking building designed to mimic both the swirl of wine in a glass and the curves of the nearby Garonne River. Over 10 floors you’ll find interactive maps, state-of-the-art exhibition technology, tasting rooms and a variety of restaurants, including Restaurant Le 7, which offers superb panoramic views of Bordeaux.
2. WiMu: The Wine Museum in Barolo – Barolo, Italy
Located inside a castle with a rich thousand-year history, WiMu gives visitors a complete journey through the wines of Barolo. Begin on the panoramic terrace with an exploration of the wine in history, myth and tradition, and descend to the cellar, where the region’s first Nebbiolo wines were made in the 19th century. Here you’ll find bottles and labels from all the towns that produce Barolo, and the opportunity to take some home with you.
3. Vivanco Museum – Rioja, Spain
Boasting an impressive 4,000 square metres of exhibition space, the Vivanco Museum dedicates its six large rooms to the relationship between man and wine over 8,000 years. You’ll find centuries-old vessels and farming tools alongside great works of art and audiovisual features. And outside, the museum’s crowning glory: the Garden of Bacchus, home to a vineyard featuring more than 220 grape varieties from around the world.
4. Port Wine Museum – Porto, Portugal
Located in the Cais Novo Warehouse – a building which dates back to the 17th century – the Port Wine Museum showcases the history of the Port wine industry and the impact its trade had on the development of Porto. Expect antiques, fine and rare bottles, captivating stories of wine producers and, of course, opportunities for tasting.
5. Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum – Santorini, Greece
Nestled in a cave 26 feet underground, the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum is Greece’s only wine museum, and offers an in-depth look at the millennia-old history of Santorini’s wine industry. Explore rare wine artefacts, cultural items and innovations, and then visit the adjacent family winery for demonstrations and tastings.
6. Pleven Wine Museum – Pleven, Bulgaria
Founded in 2008 and ensconced within in a cave in Kaylaka Park, the Pleven Wine Museum is home to the country’s first vocational viniculture school – which was opened in 1890 – and showcases everything Bulgarian wine has to offer. Through five spacious rooms, visitors can learn about the history of Bulgarian wine, as well as its current place on the global wine landscape. Its cellars are home to more than 7,000 bottles from all of Bulgaria’s wine-producing regions, with many available for tasting.
7. 1881 – Napa, California
The 1881 Museum in California’s Napa Valley features perhaps the most comprehensive exhibition of the valley’s early winemaking history. Learn the stories of Napa’s early pioneers, explore a remarkable collection of winemaking relics, and get lost in fascinating documents from the early California Wine Trade Archive. Afterwards, visitors can taste more than 50 wines by the glass from Napa’s finest producers within the property’s 150-year-old Victorian house.