French Regions Are Fighting to Become the 'World Capital' of Wine

Burgundy reportedly has the edge. Bordeaux isn't happy.

We've seen similar situations in the United States: The Raiders are moving, where will they land at this time? Or Amazon is looking for new headquarters so cities bend over backward to lure them in. But in France, few things are bigger than wine — and so when the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) announced they were leaving their offices in Paris for new digs, the big question became where will they head next?

With 48 member states — including most major wine-producing countries except the United States and China — the OIV is one of the world's most prominent wine organizations, producing annual reports on global wine production and consumption. With such an international scope, some have dubbed the OIV "the UN of wine" and their headquarters wine's "world capital."

Vineyards at sunset. Gascony, France
Anton Petrus/Getty Images

Of course, certain areas of France believe they're already the epicenter of wine — namely Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne — and they've all been making their pitches to be the OIV's new home. (Rome is reportedly also in the running, but… come on.) François Rebsamen, the mayor of Dijon — which is where the OIV offices would be located if they end up in Burgundy — revealed to France Bleu, "We have solid funding, supported by the region," though he also declined to say how much "because the other competitors have not revealed their budget." So yes, this is a formal process.

In the end, the decision will be finalized with a vote of all of the member countries, a seemingly fair solution — except for one major wrinkle: It's France's job to choose which of its cities to propose for OIV approval in the first place, leading to plenty of French infighting. And things have gotten a touch testier since word got out that the French government appears to be leaning toward recommending Dijon.

News of Dijon's supposed lead caused the French news outlet Sud Ouest to question "Does Macron like Bordeaux?" — implying that the French president doesn't treat the region with the respect it deserves. Some grapes will inevitably turn sour.

As for the OIV, a spokesperson told Decanter everything is still up in the air. "A [French government] proposal for this location should be made at the next OIV General Assembly next Monday, July 12," they stated. "This does not mean that a decision will be taken next Monday. The OIV member states have a period of reflection and will vote during the next meetings in October 2021."

Regardless, the whole thing seems far from urgent: The OIV isn't planning to settle into their new headquarters until 2024 anyway.

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