Lush vineyards. Wooded valleys. Rushing rivers. Morning mist and strong afternoon sun. This is C\u00f4tes de Bordeaux, where some of the best wine in the world is made. With 111,000 hectares of vineyards, Bordeaux is the largest AOC vineyard in France, producing around 665 million bottles by 5,800 winegrowers. Bordeaux actually has 65 appellations, and at the heart is the flagship C\u00f4tes de Bordeaux.\n\n\n\nSandwiched between the right bank of the Gironde River estuary and the Garonne River in the southwest of France, C\u00f4tes de Bordeaux is home to limestone hills, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Citadelle de Blaye, the fishing village and port of Plassac, and winegrowing families who have lived here for generations, who are ready to welcome visitors. Today, the AOC C\u00f4tes de Bordeaux consists of Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon, Francs, and Sainte-Foy, which have been under one umbrella since 2009. From clay-limestone soil to gravelly sand, the varied terroirs among these regions provide a diverse portfolio of wines made by the approximately 762 winegrowers here who rally around a common passion to produce elegant wines full of character.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nAlthough these winegrowers are producing wine in one of the most iconic regions in the world, they have not stopped innovating. \u201cI started ageing wine in amphora to try out a new experience,\u201d says Isabelle et Olivier Ch\u00e9ty of Ch\u00e2teau Bellevue. \u201cIt is also up to us, winegrowers, to offer new products to customers. I chose the amphora because terracotta is a natural and neutral material that respects the purity of the fruit and the expression of the terroir.\u201d\n\n\n\nOther growers have also turned to more natural methods. Monique Bonnet of Ch\u00e2teau Suau has been committed to organic farming since 2008. \u201cThis work philosophy has naturally led us to modify our range of wines,\u201d she says. \u201cThis is how we came to create several cuv\u00e9es without sulphur. These are the most natural wines possible, without inputs, without preservatives, and they are very easy to digest.\u201d\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nCarine and Franck Richard of Ch\u00e2teau Cru Godard also use organic methods. \u201cIn 1998 we took over the family property, which we farm organically with the greatest respect for nature. Working the vineyard while respecting the environment and people is a major commitment in our appellations, mainly made up of family properties,\u201d they share. \u201cIt\u2019s up to us to explain why we do it: a grower who cultivates his land and passes it on to his children, he wants to pass on something beautiful, good, healthy!\u201d\n\n\n\nAnd although Bordeaux wines have a reputation for being among the world\u2019s priciest, the reality is there are many affordable bottles coming out of the region that embrace current trends. \u201cIn C\u00f4tes de Bordeaux, we have great terroirs and wines at affordable prices,\u201d says Jean-Vincent Bideau of Ch\u00e2teau Petit Boyer. \u201cI produce all sorts of atypical wines: sulphur free, vegan, plot selection, single varietal, rarer white grape variety... My wines have taste and a contemporary look. My goal? To make \u2018new generation\u2019 wine!\u201d\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nAfter all, for many wine producers it\u2019s as much about having fun and being creative as it is producing high-quality wine. \u201cI don\u2019t take myself too seriously, and I make wines that are like me: natural, spontaneous, fun, affordable, and uncomplicated,\u201d says Ch\u00e2teau La Rose Bellevue owner Val\u00e9rie Eymas.\n\n\n\nIn the end, yes, C\u00f4tes de Bordeaux produces some of the world\u2019s best wines, but it\u2019s also home to a new wave of family vineyard owners that are bringing the appellation to the next generation. And anyone who visits the region will see that ingenuity firsthand.