Food & Drink

Bordeaux wine festival: The bi-annual wine event not to be missed

Bordeaux is synonymous with fine wine and great food - and never more so than when the Bordeaux Fête le Vin takes over the city!

Fine French wine has been popular on this side of the Channel for centuries; but despite the amazing variety on offer, many people get into a habit of always buying their favourite bottle and never trying anything new. This guide will hopefully sway your mind (and wine glass) towards a few new tipples.

Light show at the Fête le Vin

A brief history of the Bordeaux Fête le Vin

Bordeaux, the world capital of wine, is a fascinating place to explore at any time of year. However, for wine fans there is one event which just can’t be missed - the biennial Bordeaux Fête le Vin, a long weekend in which the very best of Bordelais wine, food and culture are presented to eager crowds from across the world.

Starting in 1998, the festival was created to celebrate local winemakers and traders, slowly growing to now hosting around 1200 winemakers from Bordeaux and the entire Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.

The 2014 Fête le Vin celebrated the relationship between Bordeaux and guest of honour Los Angeles (the two cities are twinned), with a huge open-air screen on the docks showing classic Hollywood films over the weekend. The tenth anniversary was marked at Bordeaux’s quayside with four enormous firework shows set to live music. Each year sees new and exciting entertainment alongside fine wine and food tastings.

Lush green vineyards with a picturesque town in the background with church spire under blue sky

When is the festival held?

The Fête le Vin returns every other summer, from mid to late June (typically around the summer solstice) and Bordeaux is entirely taken over by celebrations and events dedicated to the region’s most famous export. It starts on a Thursday, ending on the Sunday. Those planning to visit Bordeaux over summer should book early as the festival is extremely popular.

Tasting Passes

Almost 100 different appellations will be bringing their wine to the Fête du Vin, with a 2km ‘wine road’ stretching along the banks of the Garonne and offering wine from more than 80 different châteaux. A Tasting Pass lets you work your way along the road with your own glass, tasting as you go and enjoying discounts on the wines that you can’t resist. They usually cost around 21 Euros for 11 tastings.

two women pouring red and white wines into people’s glasses for tasting

Entertainment and attractions at the festival

For those who want to learn more about their favourite drink, the world-famous Bordeaux Wine School runs workshops on wine tasting, pairing Bordeaux with food, and even making Bordeaux cocktails throughout the festival. And if you find a taste isn’t enough, stalls all along the wine road and elsewhere in Bordeaux will offer regional specialities including oysters, charcuterie and foie gras, all with the perfect accompanying wines.

Other attractions include the spectacular Bordeaux Music Festival, which will be showcasing a variety of classical, jazz and funk acts each evening, and the nightly sound and light show projected onto the Palais de la Bourse.

How to get to the festival

Visiting Bordeaux, whether it’s to tour a vineyard, admire the UNESCO World Heritage city centre, or experience the harvest season, is always a treat. Best of all, this vibrant example of French life is just a day from the UK. Drive from Calais via the A8 and A10, you can plan stops at places like Rouen or Le Mans along the way. Once you arrive in Bordeaux, the festival is held along the quayside of the River Garonne.

Visit Bordeaux with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

Bordeaux is only 8 hours by car from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle in Calais, so you could be sampling the region’s hidden delights by dinnertime. And with no maximum baggage allowance on our shuttles, you can make sure you come home with enough wine to last you until the next Fête!

Become a LeShuttle member

Become a LeShuttle member and securely store, manage and use your information for faster and easier bookings - also now available on iOS and Android! Find out more or create an account.

Start your journey with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

In this article

More wine-lovers' adventures in France

Explore our tickets