It had to be Bordeaux...
Recently, Gare St Jean, Bordeaux’s sprawling 19th century railway station added a new retail store to its array of restaurants and book stores: Le Pavillon des Vins de Bordeaux, a state-of-the-art wine store opened in May 2017. Being a major tourist hub and centre for commerce as well as one of France’s largest cities, Bordeaux sees considerable commercial and tourist traffic. It is one of France’s biggest seaside resorts and — most importantly, the world’s foremost wine destination.
Wine stores abound in Bordeaux, but naturally. Interestingly, Le Pavillon doesn’t fit the typical travel trade profile of outlet, as it combines in-town shopping sophistication with a wide range of wine — from €3 to €1000 for new wine enthusiasts as well as wine connoisseurs.
I interviewed the young entrepreneur-owner, Pierre-Antoine Borie, on this newest add-on at the train station. Borie already owns an established, traditional wine store in town — Cave Briau.
Ruma Singh: Why did you decide to open a wine store at this location?
Pierre-Antoine Borie: Bordeaux is inevitably connected to wine; the new fast trains (LGV) will help the city immensely. It made sense to offer a wide-range of wines at the Hall 3-Belcier of the train station at the heart of the new "Euroatlantique" neighborhood.
With tourists and international travelers, which wines (countries, styles and price ranges) are most popular at Le Pavillon des Vins de Bordeaux?
Borie: Of course, Bordeaux wines represent 90% of our sales; the other 10% are divided among champagne, spirits and wines from outside Bordeaux (France and abroad). We are also offering little goodies (wine openers, decanters, etc.) and books around the wine universe that people like to buy as a souvenir or gift.
Cave Briau has a long history and connection with Bordeaux futures and serious wine buying. Does Le Pavillon also offer advice on buying of Bordeaux wines?
Borie: Most of our wine buying at Le Pavillon are in futures in common with Cave Briau to assure ex-château wines and the best value for customers. At Le Pavillon, we also select some wines which have a bigger demand on the export market than in Bordeaux to try to give the best selection. The staff worked at Cave Briau prior working at the train station shop, so they offer the same level of serious advice on wine buying. This remains very important for us.
Are there any advantages to buy at Le Pavillon des Vins de Bordeaux, rather than a wine store in the city? Better price, selection?
Borie: Le Pavillon offers attractive prices for our customers as much as the town stores. The travelers shouldn’t find a bottle more expensive because they are at the train station. In fact, they should find wines at very good prices as we are very close from where the bottles are produced!
No space in your luggage? We also ship wine all over the world. We keep chilled champagnes, white wines and rosés available for last minute buys and also provide a delivery service to clients within Bordeaux and abroad.
You opened shortly before Vinexpo 2017. What was your experience during this period?
Borie: During Vinexpo we had a lot of foreign customers who were very pleased to find our shop and to be able to go home with excellent last-minute Bordeaux wine bottles bought just before catching their train. Many didn’t have time to go shopping in Bordeaux city centre, so this was a bonus surprise!
Do you plan to offer tasting sessions, interactive workshops, etc. at Le Pavillon des Vins de Bordeaux? Do you think it will work well here?
Borie: We are thinking about doing tasting events with the restaurant next to us and to also offer food and wine pairing experiences. We already do similar events at Briau Reception (a special room at Cave Briau).
Le Pavillon des Vins de Bordeaux is located right outside Belciers's Hall 3 so we can use the terasse outside for these events. The new place, Belcier, is home to many companies so many people come not just to catch a train but also to work there; young people who enjoy having a chat with friends over a glass of wine!
Pavillon des Vins de Bordeaux
Square of Hall 3 Belcier
Gare de Bordeaux St-Jean
137 rue des Terres de Bordes
33800 Bordeaux, France
(Open 365 days a year including Sundays, from 10am to 8pm)