Wine museums provide a strong counterargument to anyone who accuses a day at a museum of being “dry.” At these attractions, visitors can delve into thousands of years of winemaking history, learn about different winemaking regions and toast living history at onsite bars and tasting rooms.
Cité Internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin
Some of the highlights include the four-zone interactive exhibition space, where visitors can learn all about Burgundian wines and delve into the region’s Climat winegrowing plots.
From there, head to La Cave de la Cité, a three-level tasting area where you can try 3,000 different wines, including 250 by the glass. The venue also includes the Burgundy Wine School, where tastings take place in rooms with 360-degree video walls.
Elsewhere at the museum, there’s a street of gourmet shops and the La Table des Climats restaurant, which offers wine and food pairings.
WOW, The New Culture District
Set in a cluster of converted Port wine cellars on the banks of the Douro River, the WOW, The New Culture District (WOW) opened its doors to the public in the summer of 2020.
There are seven different museums at WOW. But some of the highlights include The Wine Experience, where you can learn about the drink’s history and production. There’s also The Pink Palace, an interactive museum that teaches visitors about rosé through a series of unconventional exhibits like a pink ball pool.
WOW is also home to 12 restaurants, bars and cafes. There’s also the Wine School, which hosts regular workshops and tasting sessions on everything from Portuguese bottles to how to pair wine with chocolate.
The Story of Wine
Franschhoek, South Africa
Visitors enter the museum through a giant twisted vine sculpture and once inside, they can learn about the cultivation of wines from around the world. Some exhibits are traditional, such as the corkscrew display. Others are more contemporary like the poetry area, where you can pull a barrel over your head and listen to poems inspired by wine in seven languages.
Elsewhere on the Babylonstoren estate, you can take part in guided wine cellar tours, explore eight acres of gardens and dine at two restaurants.
National Wine Centre of Australia
The museum’s Wine Discovery Journey is an interactive exhibition where visitors can delve into Australia’s 65 different wine regions and take part in hands-on activities like virtual blending. Guided tours are available here daily.
On the ground floor, you’ll find Wined Bar, where you can help yourself to samples of 120 different Australian offerings using the self-serve Enomatic dispensers. Wine flights and blind tastings are also available.
The Slovak National Collection of Wines
The Slovak National Collection of Wine is in the stone cellars of the 18th-century Apponyi Palace in Bratislava’s Old Town in Slovakia. And its signature wine tasting gives you unlimited access to 72 varieties of Slovakian wine for 100 minutes. In other tasting sessions, you can sample two, four, six or eight wines as a sommelier talks you through each one.
The cellars of Apponyi Palace are also home to the Museum of Viticulture, which has exhibits that feature everything from grape-growing tools to antique wine drinking sets.
All display boards and information points feature English translations.
Musée du Vin Paris
Just a few minutes’ walk from the Eiffel Tower is the Musée du Vin Paris, located underground in a warren of vaulted cellars that date back to the 15th century.
Vin Paris’ permanent exhibition features more than 2,000 objects that offer an insight into French winemaking. Guided and audio tours are available in English.
The museum hosts regular wine tasting workshops, and topics range from “the difference between Bordeaux and Burgundy” to the “comparison of French and foreign wines.”
There’s a restaurant onsite, too, with a menu of classic French dishes, like confit lamb and chateaubriand, and a wine list with more than 200 varieties of French bottles, chosen by the museum’s own sommeliers.
Tbilisi Wine Museum
You can delve into 8,000 years of Georgian winemaking history at Tbilisi Wine Museum, located in the cellars of the 17th-century Karvasla building in Tbilisi’s Old Town. Among the artifacts on display is a collection of ancient clay vessels containing grape residue that dates back to 6,000 B.C.E.
The museum offers guided tours in English that allow visitors to get a deeper understanding of the timeline of Georgian winemaking and the art of using qvevri— large earthenware pots that are sunk into the ground— to store and age wine.
The museum has its own restaurant, which hosts regular wine tasting events.
The Old Vine House
The gnarly vine that ripples its way across the façade of the Old Vine House, in the town of Maribor in northeastern Slovenia, is recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest producing vine in the world.
Planted more than 400 years ago, it has survived everything from the Ottoman invasion of Maribor to the Allied bombardment of World War II.
But there’s plenty more to see here. Inside, there’s an exhibition where you can learn more about Slovenian winemaking, find out about Maribor’s Wine Queen tradition–a competition held every two years to crown an ambassador for Maribor’s wines–and listen to the old vine’s own anthem. All the exhibition boards feature English language sections.
The Old Vine House also offers tasting sessions, where you can sample up to five different local wines.
Cité du Vin
Shaped like a red wine decanter, the Cite du Vin is one of the largest wine museums in the world. Inside, you can learn about global wine culture and history (though special attention is paid to Bordeaux) through a series of exhibitions, videos, projections, shows, audio exhibits and interactive displays.
The scent station is one of the most talked-about parts of the museum. Here, visitors get to sniff some of the scents that commonly make up the aromas of wines from around the globe–from lemons to old book paper.
The cost of an entry ticket includes a glass of wine at the Belvédère bar on the eighth floor of the museum. This lofty bar is encircled by an open-air balcony-style viewing area, which gives you 360 degree views of Bordeaux.
Last Updated: August 7, 2023