Christmas wine tourism: hit the road with WTA nominees and not only!


All of us who are part of the Wine Travel Awards community and who are just thinking to join, we raise a toast for 2022 full of unforgettable moments, that we want you to continue enjoying with us and wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Christmas is a special time when we make wishes, allow ourselves to dream, make new plans. And we dream to go with you on an amazing journey into the world of wine, to get new acquaintances and meetings, building own success story and future prosperity.

We wanted to bring you more insights what is going on at festive season around European wine regions, so for this work we collaborated with writers from USA, Brazil, France and Ukraine, enjoy!

Let’s celebrate Christmas at la Cité du Vin! (Bordeaux, France)

Author: Marie Berson

As the winter weather is already taking over the city, with its crispy coldness and beautiful lights ornamenting the streets, another special place is getting ready for the Christmas season. Right in the centre of Bordeaux, the majestic Cité du Vin has received a very important visitor that will not go unnoticed. Indeed, Santa himself has “visited and approved” the new Christmas offers proposed by the museum.

Have you ever hesitated about which wine to open for Christmas Eve’s dinner? La Cité du Vin has you covered! Throughout the month of December, workshops are proposed to discover the secrets of wine tasting. You will learn everything about the gestures, the codes and even the lexical field that can sometimes be an obstacle to fully enjoy the wine. And what is a better place than Bordeaux to learn how to combine quality wines and astounding gastronomy? There, you will be guided by experts who will tell you all about how to sublimate your dish and compliment your desserts with the appropriate type of wine. You will have the opportunity to taste qualitative festive products from the region, such as traditional foie gras or delicious chocolate of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. These workshops are a privileged moment to get personalized advice and give yourself every chance to have the best Christmas dinner ever.

To help you wait patiently until the 25th, la Cité du Vin has imagined the most original Advent calendar. Every day from the 1st of December until Christmas Eve, Santa left a present hidden somewhere in the museum. A clue to help you find it is given every morning on the Cité du Vin Instagram account @laciteduvin. It is a true blessing for the holders of the unlimited pass who can come back every day for the treasure hunt, and an extra surprise for punctual visitors. Tons of presents such as invitations to workshops or a selection of items from the concept store are waiting for you.

To combine the Christmas spirit and the festivities of New Year’s Eve, la Cité du Vin also proposes a special afterwork tasting of sparkling wines on the 23rd of December. You will learn different types of sparkling wines and tips to identify the method used to create these magical bubbles. On the 30th of December, another festive workshop is proposed: this time about the sweet wines of the world. It is a perfect opportunity to learn about the mythical wines of Tokaj, the famous Port wine or even the wonderful wines of Sherry or Sauternes.

If la Cité du Vin is giving presents to its visitors for the most wonderful time of the year, remember that the museum itself can also be a present. With the Cité du Vin gift card of 30, 50, 70 or 100€, you can treat your family and friends with an access to the 3000 m² of the permanent circuit of the museum, to the panoramic Belvédère wine bar or to the tasting workshops and expositions. The card can also be used in the shop and gives the possibility to buy one of the 1500 items presented in the concept store.

These amazing offers are not only a great way to fill the city with joy and wine for Christmas, but also a beautiful celebration after these complicated times that we all had to face. So don’t hesitate anymore on where to go. See you really soon in Bordeaux!

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte (Pessac-Leognan, France)

Author: Patricia Wilcox

All the team of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, a Wine Travel Awards nominee in the categories “Must Visit”, “Objet d’Art”, “Progressive Approach”, wishes the WTA community and everyone a Merry Christmas and a joyful New Year!

Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte lies just south of the city of Bordeaux in the Pessac-Leognan wine region. It is nestled amidst a sea of green woodlands, blooming wildflowers, and vines. To reach the chateau, you’ll have to brave your way down French country roads that far seem too narrow by American standards. The landscape is so verdant and vibrant you will think it’s impossible that you left metropolitan Bordeaux less than half an hour ago.

A 14th-century tower, built during the Renaissance, rises up from the sprawling vineyards, marking the heritage and legacy of the Smith Haut Lafitte estate. It looks as if it was carefully lifted from the hills of ancient Scotland and gently teleported to Martillac.

There is another, smaller tower, nestled toward the rear of the Chateau. It’s unprepossessing. Just one more beautiful piece of the stunning property. But it holds one of the most prized elements of winemaking at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte. It is a crucial piece of their winemaking prestige. It has no tanks or presses. It never holds any grapes. It’s filled with the warm smell of wood and smoke. The air rings with the ping, ping, ping of hammers hitting chisels. This is the Chateau’s in-house tonnelerie.

Visitors can reserve a workshop at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte to witness the magic of the in-house the tonnelerie for themselves! Or, stop by the Christmas Boutique at Smith Haut Lafitte (open daily) without prior reservation.

Christmas Fest in Champagne (Champagne, France)

Author: Giovana de Pardo Mêo

This is a holiday season. It’s time for mulled wine and fairy lights all around. Cities and houses already have its ornaments. You listen to “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” everywhere you go from malls to stories on Instagram. You can’t deny: Santa Claus is coming to town! To celebrate this period, many wineries are offering special activities. So, don’t forget to wear your ugly Christmas sweater or just some warm clothes and enjoy yourself!

The Champagne region of Reims hosts the Fest de Noël de Champagne, with a lively and bustling Christmas market next to Notre Dame de Reims Cathedral. Also in the region, in Epernay, which is famous for the Avenue de Champagne, a street with the beautiful champagne chateaux all decorated with magnificent decorations and lots of lights, there is the opportunity to taste the local delicacies harmonized with the best of sparkling wines.

Discover the World of Wine in the festive season! (Porto, Portugal)

Out of the white Christmas, in a little warmer place if you want to enjoy Porto, Portugal, WOW (World of Wine – a new fantastic cultural centre in the heart of Porto, dedicated to wine and wine tourism) prepared many activities during this period, from live music with the toy soldiers’ band, Christmas storytelling and workshops for children. Santa Claus himself is also present there every day until Christmas Eve. There is a beautiful Christmas market with local products and of course some wine options to go with it.

We wish that 2022 will bring us more quality wines and unforgettable travelling. We are certain that tourism is an opportunity for wine and wine is an opportunity for tourism! We hope that after these ¨pandemic¨ years the world of wine tourism will once again sparkle with new colors. Let’s do it together!