Three days of and away to Bordeaux at the beginning of this week – what a difference from our quiet valley of Lisson. Even if Bordeaux is a small provincial town compared to Paris or London, during VINEXPO, the most famous international wine trade fair pour professional buyers, it takes the air of a big city, with 40 000 visitors from all over the world, who come to see thousands of winemakers, who make their best to find new clients. Just have a look at the photos taken inside Vinexpo, which a fellow wine-blogger published two days ago, to see, that they deploy lots of pomp and circumstances, to attract attention and win the war of selling wines.
When I first saw that photo with the gleaming luxury car, I wondered, whether you would get it as first price of a lottery or if it would be given as an extra bonus to the most successful importer – but I think, like all the beautiful young girls in uniforms, it was just meant as an eye-catcher – sex sells, but sport-cars too:-)…
All around this official place, where black suits and ties are still a majority, even on a hot summer day and where you have to put on your smoking, when you are part of the VIP section, invited to one of the even more select evening receptions of the more famous Chteaux of the region.
I didn’t attend the official exposition halls, too much noise, too many people, too much choice, too much of everything for me, to be able to taste serenely and appreciate – I’ve noticed that often enough during my past years at PROWEIN, the other important European international wine trade fair at Duesseldorf, my home town, in Germany.
So I just discovered some of the impressing 19th century buildings of Bordeaux, which tell the story of it’s glory – with big avenues, huge squares, its impressing banks of the Garonne (which I called a river (riviere) by asking my way, to learn that this important flow is a fleuve).
But I also discovered the less glamorous off parts of the city, just turning around a corner or following one of the cours a little bit further on from the center.
Wine under all its form is omnipresent at Bordeaux, of course. Whether it is as vines as decoration in front of a wine bar or even to sell in a local flower shop (135 Euros – more expensive than a lot of bottles of wine)
Or if it is the special wine-books area of one of the last and biggest private book shops of France, la librairie Mollat, where I spend one hour lingering around their international choice of books about all subjects about and around wine.
I was allowed to run through the bookshelves and open all the books, without being bothered and even to take some pictures:
A readers and book collectors dream:-)!
As exciting as my discovery of Bordeaux was my first couchsurf experience, a volunteer-based worldwide network connecting travelers with members of local communities, who offer free accommodation and/or advice. Learning that there would be no bed at a hotel available under 230 Euros per night and having 3 nights to spend, I looked for an alternative solution – came across the couchsurfing web-page, dared to write to one of its Bordeaux members, a bit shy, because I could see, that the majority of the members could have easily been my sons or daughters, and was received with so much friendliness and warmth on two couches during my stay, that I immediately became an addict of the system!
Well I have not yet started to tell you about the main reason of my voyage: our first public OFF meeting of the European blogging winemakers at Chteau Luchey Halde – I think, I’ll have to leave that for my next post – my vines are waiting for me outside…
I just can reassure you, that we didn’t have any difficulties with the VINEXPO officials – we were far enough away from their main entrance and perhaps more considered as the usual inoffensive cannibals than as a real commercial concurrency.