Check out the Highlights of October here
“Wine is bottled poetry.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)
Over my second week working at La Cité du Vin, I was able to attend a preview of our new exhibition “Douro, l’art de la terre au bord des eaux” (“Douro, an alchemy between air, land and river”).
What is “Douro” and why Portugal? First of all, it needs to be said that each year the Fondation pour la culture et les civilisations du vin gives a wine region or country in the world the chance to present itself through a cultural exhibition – for a period of three months. The aim of this is to let the culture and civilization of wine shine through while enlightening the public.
Douro, specifically, is the name of a river in Portugal. As I learned through the exhibit, Douro is also the name of a region where water, rocks, nature, animals and people come together in a wild mix. The wine-growing region of Haut-Douro has been registered as a World Heritage Site by Unesco since 2001.
Geographically, the Douro River crosses the country of Portugal from east to west for nearly 200 km, in the region that brings its name and where 26,000 hectares of vineyards can be found. This area is unique not only for the beautifully wild landscape but also for the savoir faire of its men.
And wild is how I would define the exhibit. Sauvage. Through the natural sounds of birds, wind and water, the soft lights in the exhibition area and the immersive art and video installations, the show emphasizes the relationship between man and nature in the Douro area of Portugal, and it does so through different angles and perspectives.
What I liked the most about the exhibit is its originality. It is truly contemporary, sensorial and raw at the same time, where past meets present. The dark ambiance gives it a secretive allure, so expect to focus more on the experience rather than traditional label reading. This show is everything but traditional (and we know too well how wine lovers like to break the rules a bit…).
It is important to mention that the exhibit was designed and financed by the City of Porto. As I read on the website, the curators Nuno Faria and Eglantina Monteiro want to express the social and political tensions that are proper of the land; they do so by portraying the wine / rural Douro while also featuring the city of Porto.
For this and much more, make sure to come visit us at La Cité du Vin if you’re ever in Bordeaux. The exhibit is on until January 6th, 2019 and it is highlighted by events, tastings and workshops to let you dig deeper!
In the meantime, learn more about the exhibit by clicking here.