Appellation Bourgueil's second Maison des Vins was officially inaugurated last night at a ceremony in the courtyard of the Château de Langeais. Fortunately after a series of late afternoon/early evening downpours recently the weather was well-behaved with the guests regaled with warm sunshine. (More below)
La Maison des Vins
The original Maison des Vins de Bourgueil, which opened in 1992, remains in the centre of Bourgueil, while the new Maison des Vins is a stone's throw from the château, which had 110,000 visitors in 2017. The Langeais' Maison, which opened for business on Monday 4th June, carries some 180 different references from Bourgueil. These are mainly red but with some red as well as a few whites – both still and sparkling – made from Chenin Blanc grown within the aire de l'appellation of Bourgueil.
Visitors to the new Maison will be able to buy a glass and taste a range of 12 wines, which will be rotated through the year. These will be served from a modern dispenser that keeps the wines fresh.
The proceedings were introduced by Alexis Caraux, the new director of Vins de Bourgueil, and continued with a speech from the Vice-President of the Bourgueil producers. Sadly Philippe Boucard, who has recently resigned as president of Vins de Bourgueil, wasn't present at the inauguration. A pity as he has been a important mover in getting the new Maison des Vins established.
There had been a previous joint-venture between Bourgueil and Montlouis to set up a Maison des Vins in Tours but this fell through.
I hope the new Maison des Vins will be a success. It has an attractive modern look and is very close to the château, so ought to attract a good number of visitors. We spent between 30 and 40 minutes in the Maison and were impressed by the level of knowledge shown by the staff. I understand that at least some of them are, for the moment, on short-term contracts that takes them to the end of the summer.
If this new Maison des Vins is a success then InterLoire might be persuaded to venture back into this sector of oenotourism. In June 2015 InterLoire's four Maison des Vins – Tours, Saumur, Angers, Nantes – closed following the need for the organisation to make sharp economies due to a financial crisis.