A friendlier, more welcoming France? In Bordeaux, the country’s oldest and most iconic wine-growing region, the answer is yes. Falling sales among its many bottlings (due to a large increase in worldwide production) have caused many Bordelais to embrace—not just tolerate—visitors. Once top producers here sighed when the tour group arrived; now they are gussying up their châteaus and actively courting enthusiasts, conducting animated tastings, and offering patient explanations of viticulture and classification. Suddenly, it’s downright pleasant to amble through the celebrated wineries of St.-Estèphe, St.-Julien, Margaux, and Arcins, and to explore the nearby regions of St.-Émilion, Graves, and the Médoc peninsula.

Inspired by:

Bordeaux’s Wine Growing Renaissance

— by Alexandra Marshall, Published Feb. 2008