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The Sauternes and Barsac wine AOC is a small segment of the Bordeaux wine region where sweet white wine is produced. And while Bordeaux is mostly renowned for its red wine, the Sauternes appellation is actually one of the most prestigious wines in the world attracting many tourists traveling to Bordeaux.

There are many options when it comes to visiting the vineyards of Sauternes, everything from small family-owned wineries to big producers settled in stunning châteaux. If you have limited time in Bordeaux, knowing which wineries to visit isn’t always obvious and that’s where my article comes in handy. In this article, I gathered all the wineries I enjoyed visiting in Sauternes and Barsac, including the touristic experiences they offer. 

It’s important to know that most wineries ask you to book your visit in advance (even though some might offer you a spontaneous tour), that’s why I included a link to book a tour next to every château mentioned in this article. Public transport in this region is not very developed so you will need a car in order to get from Bordeaux to Sauternes and visit wineries, here you can find some good offers.

If you like Bordeaux wine, you should also check out my articles about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion and the Medoc wine route, two of the other famous wine areas in Bordeaux.

What you need to know about Sauternes wine

The Sauternes (and Barsac) appellation covers five small villages in the South of Gironde: Sauternes, Barsac, Preignac, Fargues, and Bommes located between two rivers, the Garonne and the Ciron. Sauternes wine owes its rich taste to Botrytis Cinerea, a fungus found on the grapes in this small part of Gironde. In Autumn, a morning mist is created when the cold water of the Ciron river meets the warm water of the larger Garonne, stimulating the formation of a fungus, also known as the noble rot. 

In order to achieve the sweet taste, only the ripe grapes are picked up, which makes the harvesting process longer and more complicated. But that’s also what makes the visit to Sauternes so interesting. 

Wineries not to miss in Sauternes and Barsac

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey – the fancy winery

The Sauternes oped doors weekend introduced me to the Lafaurie-Peyraguey winery, which back then I chose to go to mostly based on how impressive the château was.

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey in Bomme is one of the oldest chateaux in the region, dating back to the 13th century. The Château with its 18.5 hectares is located on a hill, 70 m above sea level, just next to its prestigious neighbor Château d’Yquem. It is also one of the most esteemed wineries in the Sauternes wine region, recognized as a Sauternes Premier Grand Cru Classé in the 1855 classification.

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey is open every day (10:00 – 19:00) in the high season and from Thursday to Monday (10:00 – 18:00) in the low season. You can visit the winery by appointment only.

You can book your tour in Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey here

However, this beautiful place is more than a winery! The Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 5 stars Hotel was opened in 2018, receiving a Michelin star for its Lalique restaurant in its first year. Since then it became a must-stop for those looking for a luxurious experience in the Bordeaux wine region. If you’re looking for an idea for a romantic weekend, this one is definitely a great option. Book a stay here

Château d’Arche

Another chateau I had the chance to visit this year is château d’Arche. The 50-hectare winery in the Sauternes village dates back to the 17th century and has one of the most beautiful views of both the vineyards and the little church of Sauternes. The visit itself takes place at their modern facility where you will find the vat room, tasting room, and a beautiful shop. Just across the road you will find the beautiful 17th-century house where their hotel is located.  

Château d’Arche is open daily all year long and offers many touristic experiences. One is the discovery visit of the Sauternes wine, a tour that takes about an hour and includes an explanation of the Sauternes making process. On this visit you get to see their cellars and vineyards and taste 3 different wines of the chateaux – you can book the visit here

Château d'Arche - one of the best wineries to visit in Sauternes
View from Château d’Arche

If you want something more active, you can also rent an electric bike at the chateau for a day/ half day, stroll around Sauternes admiring the view, and then finish with wine tasting at the chateau. If you’re mainly interested in wine tasting, book their workshop where you’ll learn to better understand the characteristics of the different wines the château offers. See other activities offered by Château d’Arche here.

If you’re planning to discover several wineries in the region, you could also stay the night in Château d’Arche. Book your stay here.

Château Guiraud

Château Guiraud is one of the biggest wineries in the Sauternes and Barsac AOC, spreading over 128 hectares. The winery, specializing in biodiversity, is classified as Premier Cru Classé (first growth) in the original classification of 1855. 

Château Guiraud is renowned for the many touristic activities and events it has been offering in the past 30 years. There are two English tours you can do on a regular basis. A tasting tour where you’ll learn all about their wine-making process and compare different vintages. The other is a more active tour where you take an electric bike from the château and use a special app to discover the property. Book their tours here

Château Guiraud one of the best wineries to visit in Suaternes
Château Guiraud

Château de Rayne Vigneau

Le Château de Rayne Vigneau in Bommes is another one of my favorite wineries to visit in Sauternes. Imagine yourself sipping wine at a bar in a beautiful little château, glancing at a sea of vines from the top of a hill, that’s what a visit to Château de Rayne Vigneau feels like. 

The château is positioned at the center of a single-block vineyard of 84 hectares and was labeled as 1er Grand Cru Classé de Sauternes in the original 1855 classification, making it one of the top wines of Sauternes. 

Rayne Vigneau is known for being very welcoming to tourists and will usually offer wine tastings even if you didn’t book a visit in advance (even though I always recommend doing so in case there’s a surge of visitors). In addition to their classic tours, Château de Rayne Vigneau offers fun activities like wine tasting on a tree, an escape game, and a trip around Sauternes on an electric scooter. See all the details here

The winery is open daily from April to November and is closed on Sunday during low season.

Château de Rayne Vigneau
The cellar of Château de Rayne Vigneau

Château de Myrat

Château de Myrat is located in Barsac and it’s one of the wineries I love to recommend to families visiting the Bordeaux wine region

The Château dates back to 1700 but since 1937 is owned by the famous Pontac family. Apart from their great wine and the beautiful property, what makes the visit fun for kids is the cute animal garden, with chickens, rabbits, dogs, and more. See more details about the château here

Château de Myrat is open for visits every day, upon appointment only. Here’s the email to contact and book: myrat@chateaudemyrat.fr

Château de Myrat
Château de Myrat

Château Filhot

Château Filhot, another Grand Cru Classé winery, is one of the most impressive castles in the Sauternes AOC.  The chateau was built by Romain de Filhot, an advisor to the Bordeaux Parliament in 1709, and has stayed in the family since. It’s one of the biggest estates in the region, covering 350 hectares with 65 hectares of vineyards in the village of Sauternes. Château Filhot is also known for its stunning English park, created by Bernard Fischer in 1845. 

The winery offers tours without prior appointment from Monday to Friday, although I recommend booking in advance if you want a tour in English. If you’re planning to visit on weekends, booking is required, here’s the email to contact the château: filhot@filhot.com

See opening hours and more information about the winery on their site

Château Filhot
Château Filhot

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If it’s your first time in Bordeaux you may also like to read some of the following “intro to Bordeaux” articles I wrote:
The Ultimate Guide to a weekend Bordeaux 
The best districts in Bordeaux 
Where to stay in Bordeaux 
What to do in one day in Bordeaux
Things to do with kids in Bordeaux

*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

The Cité du Vin is one of the most popular attractions on the tourist trail in Bordeaux. In the last couple of years, it has become one of Bordeaux’s most iconic institutions even though it’s quite new. The Cité du Vin was inaugurated in 2016 with the goal of celebrating wine and educating people about its production and history. The spectacular building can be seen from afar and uplifts the grungy port of Bassin a Flot, where the museum is located. Its shape is inspired by the movement of wine swirling in a glass. What’s inside the 55m giant and why do so many people rush to visit it? In this article, I’ll offer you a glimpse into what is considered to be the best wine center in the world. I’ll explain what you’ll experience in the main exhibition, what other attractions are offered and why it’s worth visiting even if you’re not a wine lover. Step with me into Bordeaux’s fascinating wine world.

What will you find in Cité du Vin in Bordeaux 

My good friend Julie calls the Cite du Vin an amusement park for wine lovers, and that in my opinion, describes it the best. It’s an interactive journey into the wine world offering anything from videos, touch screens, sensory tables and more. On your journey you will discover all the important wine regions in the world, learn about the different types of grapes, the fermentation process and on the history of wine in different areas across the globe.

The permanent exhibition includes 19 sections divided into six areas. The first area is dedicated to the wine regions of the world and welcomes you with huge screens portraying breathtaking images from the world’s most famous wine regions. It’s a beautiful video getting you into the mood to learn everything you can about wine. 

cite du vin - wine of the world
The most beautiful wine regions in the world – all photos by lost in Bordeaux

The second part is much more technical and will teach you about the whole process of how grapes turn into wine. Although there are quite a lot of technical explanations involved, the Cité du Vin made it interactive and entertaining enough to intrigue even those not obsessed with wine. One of the best sections in this area is the wine portraits. Flat touch screens, surrounded by gigantic wooden bottle shaped statues, help you explore the major wine types, from red to sweet whites and onto the sparkling ones. 

cite du vin - different types of wine
An interactive way to learn about different types of wine at the Cité du Vin

The third area is about wine and civilization. Here you’ll learn the history of wine routes and how the sea voyages of wine transportation used to look like. The fourth part is dedicated to imagination and has a magnificent space where you can lay down, listen to music, close your eyes and think of wine. 

cite du vin - aromas of wine
The buffet of the five senses

The fifth area is called “wine and you”, and includes my favorite part in the museum, the “buffet of the five senses”. Plenty of different food items from fruits to honey and cookies are presented in front of you on two big tables, allowing you to explore different wine aromas. The sixth and last area is dedicated to the hosting city, Bordeaux. Here you will learn about the wine history of the biggest wine region in France and the tale of the city itself. 

When you finish exploring the exhibition, you will move to one of the best parts of the visit – the wine tasting. For that, you need to go back to the ground floor and take another elevator to the 8th and last floor of Bordeaux’s wine museum. The floor is called the Belvedere and offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Bordeaux. You can choose one wine from one of the regions the exhibition is currently focusing on and take your glass to the balcony to admire the view. A perfect ending to this enriching experience. 

wine tasting cite du vin
wine tasting at the end of the tour

How to explore Bordeaux’s wine museum?

The permanent exhibition is so big that you need at least half a day to cover it all and let’s face it, some people don’t have the time nor the patience for that. If you have only two-three hours to visit the cite du vin you have four trails you can follow. The museum offers four self-guided theme tours that focus on different aspects of the wine world. 

The Essentials tour

This tour is supposed to take up to an hour and a half (If you follow their recommendations) and will get you familiar with some of the most famous wine regions in the world. You will meet winegrowers (virtually of course) that will tell you about their traditions, the grapes they use and the volumes of their production. Just touch the screen on one of the tables dedicated to Argentina, Georgia, Italy, France and more. You will then explore the design aspect of wine with videos of beautiful wine cellars and trendy wine bars. The trail also includes the senses table and wine portraits that allow you to acquire a lot of new knowledge about the different types of wines. Their guide instructs you on how much time to spend on every station so you can actually end the tour on time.

cite du vin - wine makers
Meet the winemakers of the world

The Making wine tour

Besides the “wine of the world” area, this trail includes the “E-Vigne” section that is dedicated to the grapes and their selection by winegrowers. This is a very interactive station with some kids’ trivia questions about winemaking. Most of this route focuses on the “metamorphoses of wine” section, which will teach you all about the vats, fermentation and aging in barrels. The tour takes about an hour.

cite du vin
Learn everything about winemaking

Feast your eyes tour

Another shorter visit can be done with the “Feast your eyes” trail which leads you through some of the more colorful sections with screens and music. This one is particularly recommended to those who are not very interested in wine and just came for the flashy experience. 

Cite du vin  - colors of wine
A fun place even if you don’t like wine

Did you know that a visit to the Cité du Vin can be kids friendly?

Last but not least is the Juniors tour for kids ages 7-12 years old. This trail will help your kids discover the wine world. It includes all the sections where they can touch, smell, look, feel and play. They will smell the aromas on the senses table, answer trivia questions about grapes, watch an amazing cartoon about the wine journey in the sea and discover the history of Bordeaux through an interactive game. 

What else is there to do at the wine museum? 

When you finish the permanent exhibition don’t be in a rush to leave the Cité du Vin, you still have a lot of things to do there. First of all the ticket includes access to the temporary exhibition as well. The Museum regularly hosts great exhibitions that focus on different aspects of the wine world. At the time of writing this article, the temporary exhibition was dedicated to the wine of Argentina while previously there was a beautiful exhibition that portrayed the relationship of wine and glass. The temporary exhibition is located on the first floor where you will also find a beautiful library of wine-related books. 

glass expo in cite du vin
Great temporary exhibitions at the cite du vin – glass and wine

The first floor is also where the wine tasting workshops are taking place. Several modern rooms dedicated to daily wine workshops in French, English and Spanish (mostly during the high season). The English workshop is mainly dedicated to Bordeaux wines while those in French are varied. You can choose workshops about specific wine regions or learn how to match wine with cheese or chocolate. 

If you’re looking for other places in Bordeaux to taste and learn about the wines of the region, you should check my article about wine tasting in Bordeaux.

Wine tasting workshop at the cite du vin
Wine tasting workshop at the cite du vin

On the first floor, you will also find the amazing wine shop that includes around 800 bottles, with 600 of them representing non-French wines. The seventh floor is the fancy Le 7 Restaurant that offers a beautiful view of Bordeaux.

All the practical details you need to know before going to Cite du Vin

Tickets and prices

The ticket are a bit pricey but definitely worth the one-time experience. A regular ticket that includes the permanent and temporary exhibition and one glass of wine costs 20 euros for an adult, 9 euros for kids and free for kids under 6 years old (you have to present something to prove it). A family pack is 50 euros and worth buying if you are two adults and two kids. 

The museum is very popular and sometimes the lines to buy tickets can be quite long. To avoid that you can purchase the tickets online in advance and head straight to the entrance door when you arrive. Click here to reserve your tickets in advance. 

Opening hours

The opening hours of Cité du Vin are Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm and Saturday – Sunday and bank and school holidays from 10am to 7pm. The hours change in the high season so check them out on the site of the museum before going. 

How to get to the wine museum

The easiest way to get to Cité du Vin is by tram B that passes through the center of Bordeaux. The station is called “Cité du Vin” and it’s located just next to the museum. If you come from the other side of the Garonne river you can also take the public transport boat (BAT 3). It accepts the same ticket as a tram but you get there in a more stylish way 🙂 For more information about the hours and stations of the BAT3 – click here.

Another option is taking the city bikes from one of the V3 stations that are spread all over the city. The ride from the city center to the wine museum is one of the best things to do when visiting Bordeaux. I’ve even included it in my article about the best things to do in Bordeaux in one day

What else is there to do next to the wine museum

If you don’t have anything planned after your visit to the museum don’t rush to leave this cool neighborhood. As you will see, Bassin a Flot, the port of Bordeaux has a totally different feel and look than the elegant center of Bordeaux. This is one of the rising districts of Bordeaux with plenty of street art, bars, music venues and even a chic market. If you want to learn more about the neighborhood around the museum check out my article about the north district of Bordeaux

things to do in Bacalan Bordeaux
The Bacalan district in Bordeaux

If you want to explore the Bordeaux wine region more in-depth check out my articles about the best wineries in Saint Emilion and about traveling in the Medoc wine region.

If it’s your first time in Bordeaux check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux to get familiar with all the must-see places in the city. To help you choose a place to stay I’ve gathered a list of the best hotels in the center of Bordeaux as well as a guide to the districts of Bordeaux to help you find your preferred AirBnB location.

Lost in Bordeaux helps you enjoy the city and region in many ways so be sure to follow us on facebook/Instagram for more daily updates on things to do and see. Or better yet, join my newsletter where I share a lot of exclusive info about Bordeaux and the region – sign up here.