10. [Oenotourisme] Interview with Philippe MASSOL, Director of the Cité du Vin

24/12/2021 | Uncategorised

???? Interview with Philippe MASSOL, Director of the Cité du Vin????

For this new interview with Au MICRO de Bacchus, I am delighted to welcome Philippe MASSOL, Director of the famous Cité du Vin in Bordeaux.

He tells us about his career, his job and explains the origin of the Cité du Vin project and how he took part in it. He tells us about the future changes to come to the Cité du Vin with the renewal of the permanent exhibition.

We also discuss the subject of the attendance of the establishment by tourists as well as locals and the impact of recent months. Did you know that a Cité du Vin was going to open in Beijing? Philippe Massol teaches us!

Finally, we end with the famous personal section! ????????

Meet us every first Thursday of the month for a new interview with a personality from the wine-wine world! ????

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Hello everyone, I am delighted to meet you for this new episode at the MICRO of Bacchus where I go to meet personalities of the wine world

Today I have the great privilege of interviewing Philippe Massol, Director of the Cité du Vin.
Hello Philippe! Thankyou for accepting this interview and for playing the game. So first of all is ec what can you introduce, who is you? What is your background and how did you get to the Cité du vin?

My name is Philippe Massol, I am married I have three children, a little one a grandson also. We arrived in Bordeaux with this whole family almost 15 years ago. We came from Poitiers where I had the opportunity to work quite a long time at Futuroscope.

What did you do as a study?

A business school

How did you get to the Cité du Vin?

By a meeting in 2008: Sylvie Cazes, met not at all for this project. I am told about a project for a wine cultural center and then it started there and we are here today and it is a great adventure.

The Cité du Vin is a foundation. Why the foundation and not a company or an association?

When the city of Bordeaux, the client, had to finance the project, there was a lot of public money but they did not have enough. And so it was indeed necessary to fill in a significant way since we actually raised more than 20 million euros of sponsorship via private companies. French regulations mean that when a project is financed by patrons who exempt from taxation, the purpose of this project must be non-profit. This is the status of foundation that has been retained. 

Okay and how many patrons do you have at the wine city?

We had for its construction more than a hundred patrons.

Vineyards essentially?

Not only vineyards in any case many companies that whose activity was related to wine. But it is the very territorial, 95% of the sponsoring companies have an activity related to Bordeaux.

In all these sponsorships today, we are still on the same proportion or has it decreased?

For the construction it was gigantic it was actually patrons who gave between 100,000 and more than a million euros. Today, patronage for us is essential because they represent 10% of our annual revenues and make it possible to finance cultural programming. Each year it is between 800 and 900,000 euros that are raised from patrons, it is essential.

You have to come to the city of wine to discover this beautiful building, if you have not already done so. Do you know why this somewhat bizarre form of the city of wine? Can you explain why?

I will play again what the architects say. We have these two images that overlap. The first image is an old vine stock basically there is this graft so very irregular very rough with the vine that leaves on the side so we see at the base of the building and from its tower. Then you smooth it completely with a glass of wine turn in the glass, it goes up on the glass wall and it makes the city of wine!

There were several architects at the beginning?

At the time there was a competition there were 140 couples architect scenographers, because scenography is very important in this project. The jury selected five and one winner.

Can we now talk about the creation of the city of wine? Was it easy to have a long quiet river or did it take a lot of steps?

Oh yes it was not an easy project. It is a project that was initially long-term: 7 years, even if it was rather short for a large project.
Complicated but I was lucky to have two personalities who were bulldozers: Alain Juppé, it was essential when you have big projects like that that he be carried politically. He is someone who breaks down the doors and that was rather on the part we will say institutional. The same goes for wine with Sylvie Cazes. Who is actually the elected official in charge of the project and who is now the president of the city of wine. It has allowed us to overcome many steps. Especially the day when we realize that there is a lot of money missing. And the question of patronage arises, the idea of Sylvie Cazes. It was a success but it was at first not won.

Philippe can you explain a little bit how the Cité du Vin has evolved since its opening? At the level of both the cultural place and the types of tourism: leisure tourism, business tourism?

What has changed little and it is rather good is the attendance. Often a piece of equipment like this opens with a record first year and the 2nd year falls. We didn't. We have been relatively stable since the beginning with 400,000 people a year. What has changed, however, is the distribution of customers. At first it is the novelty so the local inhabitants come a lot the 1st year and then the notoriety abroad progresses with word of mouth. In the 1st year, just under 20% of visitors are foreigners, in 2019 there were 50%. It will soon have mainly foreign languages more than the French language. After it is also a place where you can come to work, business tourism, which is progressing. The important part also that is the 3rd source of financing is the shop part. So not the one who sells wine because the foundation does not have the right to sell wine but the one that sells everything related to wine except wine. It is an activity that has more and more impact.

Business tourism for the coup the Ateliers de Bacchus we know, because we have the joy of intervening here often and it goes very well, the rooms are super nice. So do not hesitate to come and do your seminars at the end of the year or at the beginning of the year for latecomers at the Cité du Vin with the Ateliers de Bacchus of course.
So there are other Wine Cities that are under construction: in Burgundy and abroad in Beijing. Do you support them in the development of their projects or not? As you are the first.

China yes we are an essential player since indeed since the start of this project we are really on a significant assistance on the contents. Then the cities that will have in burgundy we often have them in contact especially on the design phases on the other hand there will be no more link than that after the opening. The important difference between the cities that will emerge in France and ours is that the city of Bordeaux is a great journey in time and history, to discover the civilizations of wine. The other cities are rather there to promote a territory, to explain the terroir. So for the Chinese reflection we take up this universal dimension that we have here. Wine in its entirety!

When people come to the Cité du Vin they expect to discover and taste only Bordeaux wines where they know that anyway it is the wines of the whole world ??

Already the majority of visitors who arrive here do not know what the Cité du Vin is! This is what we see with the reception teams. At least 1 visitor out of e arrives and does not know what the city of wine is. What is it, what is there to do? We will have it absolutely all the time and it will last again because there are 90% of our visitors every year are first visitors. We welcome every year between 180 and 190 countries to the city of wine so and it is important because these first visitors for us are our priority target. Tomorrow, in 2022-2023 we will start to renew the offer of the city of wine to first keep this attractiveness that we have and that we have had from the beginning with this innovative dimension. And especially that in 4, 5 years we will celebrate our 10 years, the expectations of visitors will evolve so it is important to evolve! To try to get a head start on all this.

Hence the permanent course that will be renewed, a blush on all this. Thenyou have all this part also conferences that take place at the city of wine: "the harvest of knowledge" and others and that is themes also for the locals.

Indeed it was a way for us to bring back the inhabitants. That's why we do all these conferences, a lot of afterworks, tasting workshops that work extremely well. We are also doing temporary exhibitions: one that has just ended and one in preparation for 2022, a remarkable exhibition on Picasso: "Picasso the effervescence of forms", I find the title superb.

Congratulations and thank you for this beautiful news of Picasso at the city of wine in 2022.
Let us now turn to a current heading: eco-responsibility. Have you set up certain things, two three anecdotes that you have put in place.

When you host a company in a room, you will have a bottle of water but you will not have glasses. It allows not to wash a glass and when you actually know all the water you need to clean it. More serious when you do a temporary exhibition, it is very carbon consuming for the travel of the works. So we try to limit foreign works as much as possible. There is a real job that is done to reuse furniture. We have huge reserves in which we put all the furniture back when the exhibition is over. During an exhibition, the scenographers are given all the furniture, they are asked to use as much as possible.

There are still many things and it is true that in addition we have a committee that has been created within the foundation and with really collaborators who are very invested and who seeks to do many things so that on our very small scale we participate in saving the planet.

It is ok! Have you set up virtual tours of things like that?

Here we did it when we were closed. And then like many sites like us, as soon as virtual attendance was re-opened, so much so that we think we will stop the live. If I want to be in the news, I come to the city of wine, on the other hand we will reintroduce them after two or three days after being mounted at the level of our digital libraries.

All right! we can follow it on your site which is already well supplied with content. Do not hesitate to visit the website of the city of wine to learn more about wine here
Then we will move on to the personal section! You almost escaped it but nan we will pay attention.
If you were a wine, what wine will you be? Outside Bordeaux perhaps!

Then I would be a sparkling wine

Ahh full of bubbles, the side a little festive! A particular region?


Well there soon the month of December arrives, the ski resorts will reopen we are delighted if you were a ski resort what resort would you be?

It would be Pyrenean a and it would be rather on the side of the eastern Pyrenees and it would be called earlier Les Angles.A family resort where I have lived for about ten years

And last little question if you were a music what music would you be?

A hymn to happiness

Which one? We will find
Thank you very much Philippe Massol.
I hope that you have learned more about philippe and then about the establishment that is the city of wine and that you will enjoy coming to discover this place soon

see you soon, thank you

Here are the old interviews:

9. [Caviste] Interview with Pierre Antoine BORIE, owner of Cave BRIAU

8. [Vignoble] Interview with Simon RULLIER, Managing Director of RULLIER

7. [Oenologue] Interview Gilles de REVEL, Dean of the Faculty of Oenology of Bordeaux

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