Immerse yourself in the history of winemaking at these 9 museums around the world
Wine museums provide a solid counter-argument to anyone who accuses a day at a museum of being “dry”. At these attractions, visitors can delve into thousands of years of winemaking history, learn about different wine regions, and toast to living history in onsite bars and tasting rooms.
From Australia to Austria, here are nine of the best wine museums in the world.
International City of Gastronomy and Wine
Opened in May 2022, the Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin in Dijon, France, covers an area of 700,000 square feet.
Highlights include the four-zone interactive exhibition space, where visitors can learn all about Burgundy wines and immerse themselves in the region climatic vineyard plots.
From there, head to La Cave de la Cité, a tasting area on three levels where you can taste 3,000 different wines, including 250 by the glass. The venue also includes the Burgundy Wine School, where tastings take place in rooms with 360-degree video walls.
Elsewhere in the museum, there is a street of gourmet shops and the restaurant La Table des Climats, which offers food and wine pairings.
World of Wine
Located in a cluster of converted Port wine cellars on the banks of the Douro River, the World of Wine (WOW) opened its doors to the public in the summer of 2020.
There are seven different museums at WOW. But some of the highlights include The Wine Experience, where you can learn about the drink’s history and production. There’s also The Pink Palace, an interactive museum that teaches visitors about rosé through a series of unconventional exhibits like a pink ball pit.
WOW is also home to 12 restaurants, bars and cafes. There’s also the Wine School, which regularly holds workshops and tasting sessions on everything from Portuguese bottles to how to pair wine with chocolate.
The history of wine
Franschhoek, South Africa
Located on the Babylonstoren wine estate in Franschhoek, South Africa, this museum opened in March 2022 to “celebrate mankind’s love affair with wine,” reads the estate’s blog. .
Visitors enter the museum through a giant twisting vine sculpture and once inside they can learn about wine culture from around the world. Some exhibits are traditional, such as the corkscrew display. Others are more contemporary, such as the poetry space, where you can pull a barrel over your head and listen to poems inspired by wine in seven languages.
Elsewhere on the Babylonstoren estate, you can take guided wine cellar tours, explore eight acres of gardens, and dine at two restaurants.
Australia’s National Wine Center
The museum’s Wine Discovery Journey is an interactive exhibition where visitors can delve into Australia’s 65 different wine regions and participate in hands-on activities like virtual blending. Guided tours are available here every day.
On the ground floor, you’ll find the Wined Bar, where you can help yourself to samples of 120 different Australian offerings using the self-service Enomatic dispensers. Wine flights and blind tastings are also available.
The Slovak National Wine Collection
The Slovak National Wine Collection is housed in the stone cellars of the 18th century Apponyi Palace in the Old Town of Bratislava in Slovakia. And its signature wine tasting gives you unlimited access to 72 varieties of Slovak wines for 100 minutes. In other tasting sessions, you can taste two, four, six or eight wines while a sommelier explains each one to you.
The cellars of Apponyi Palace also house the Viticulture Museum, which features exhibits that feature everything from viticulture tools to antique wine drinking services.
All notice boards and information points are translated into English.
Paris Wine Museum
A few minutes walk from the Eiffel Tower is the Paris Wine Museum, located underground in a maze of vaulted cellars dating from the 15th century.
The permanent exhibition at Vin Paris features more than 2,000 objects that offer insight into French viticulture. Guided and audio tours are available in English.
The museum holds regular wine tasting workshops, and topics range from “the difference between Bordeaux and Burgundy” to “comparing French and foreign wines.”
There’s also an on-site restaurant, with a menu of classic French dishes, like lamb confit and chateaubriand, and a wine list with more than 200 varieties of French bottles, chosen by the museum’s own sommeliers.
Tbilisi Wine Museum
You can delve into 8,000 years of Georgian wine history at the Tbilisi Wine Museum, located in the cellars of the 17th-century Karvasla Building in Tbilisi’s Old Town. Among the artifacts on display is a collection of ancient clay vessels containing grape residue dating back to 6,000 BCE.
The museum offers guided tours in English that allow visitors to better understand the timeline of Georgian winemaking and the art of using qvevri— large earthenware pots sunk into the ground — for storing and aging wine.
The museum has its own restaurant, which regularly hosts wine tastings.
The Old House of the Vine
The gnarled vine that undulates on the facade of the Old Vine House in the town of Maribor in northeastern Slovenia is recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest producing vine in the world.
Planted over 400 years ago, it has survived everything from the Ottoman invasion of Maribor to the Allied bombardment of World War II.
But there is much more to see here. Inside there is an exhibition where you can learn about Slovenian winemaking, learn about the tradition of the Maribor Wine Queen – a competition held every two years to crown an ambassador of Maribor wines – and listen the hymn of the old vine. All exhibit panels have sections in English.
The Old Vine House also offers tasting sessions, where you can sample up to five different local wines.
City of Wine
Shaped like a red wine carafe, the Cité du Vin is one of the largest wine museums in the world. Inside, you can learn about global wine culture and history (although special attention is given to Bordeaux) through a series of exhibits, videos, screenings, shows, shows, and more. audio exhibits and interactive exhibits.
The perfume station is one of the best known parts of the museum. Here, visitors can smell some of the scents that typically make up the aromas of wines from around the world, from lemons to waste paper.
The price of an admission ticket includes a glass of wine at the Belvedere bar on the eighth floor of the museum. This majestic bar is surrounded by a balcony-style open-air viewing area, which gives you a 360-degree view of Bordeaux.