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The three wine towns are in the running to host the International Organization of Vine and Wine, the new Parisian building of which now offers only a temporary solution. Paying the rent, the French state is called upon to decide.
After the beautiful Parisian districts, which wine-growing city will welcome the International Organization of Vine and Wine next? The cities of Bordeaux, Dijon and Reims are in the running to host the UN of Wine, currently in need of premises corresponding to its stature as an intergovernmental organization.
Bringing together 48 member states in the world vineyard, the UN of Wine has just summoned the French state to find a permanent building within the year to properly accommodate its employees and regularly organized international conferences. Welcoming the headquarters of the OIV by international agreement, the French state provides the rent for the OIV and must now find a lasting solution.
Due to changes of owner and destination, the OIV left its opulent Parisian address of 18, rue d’Aguesseau (which it had occupied since 1966) for 35, rue de Monceau (still in the 8th district of Paris) at the end of 2019.
A Covid-19 pandemic and global confinements provided a possibility to reduce the lack of space in the new premises due to organizing more videoconferences. However, the approach of the OIV’s centenary (in November 2024) and the end of the mandate of its delegate general (in 2023 for Spain’s Pau Roca) seem to push the organization to want a quick resolution. Relocation to regions is now on the table while a Parisian solution seems difficult to achieve at present (exorbitant rents oblige).
Three cities have indicated their willingness to host the OIV: Bordeaux, Dijon and Reims. They are the so-called wine capitals of Gironde, Burgundy and Champagne, far from the neutral ground that Paris represented in terms of wine production.
“All the French candidate destinations are rooted in a vineyard. Bordeaux has the advantage of being the wine capital of the world,” notes Brigitte Bloch, Bordeaux city councilor in charge of the wine economy. Supported by local elected officials and the entire local wine industry, the Gironde proposal is to host the headquarters of the OIV within the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), a high place of wine history, where the classification of Médoc and Sauternes wines having been unveiled in 1855.
“The headquarters of the OIV would make perfect sense in Dijon, which is home to the only UNESCO university chair dedicated to vines and wine” defends François Labet, vice-president of the Bureau Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bourgogne (BIVB). The Vougeot winegrower believes that housing the OIV “would consolidate the place of Dijon and Burgundy as essential places in the world of wine. Being in a wine-growing area would be even more striking” for the OIV.
Emphasizing its proximity to Paris, the application of Reims offers a welcome for the OIV on the historic site of the Villa Douce, an Art Nouveau mansion. The University of Champagne Ardenne has not occupied the building since 2019. And it is currently returning at the Georges Chappaz Institute of Vine and Wine.
“We would be very honored if Champagne welcomes the OIV” indicates Maxime Toubart, president of the Syndicat Général des Vignerons de Champagne (SGV). “Driven by a general mobilization (inter-profession, town hall, UNESCO chair, university …), this candidacy “is very interesting from a technical point of view, but the decision is also played on the political level, surely at the highest level of the State”, notes the winegrower of the Marne.
While each candidate fiercely defends their case, backed by political and economic support, the arbitration and the decision on the location of the OIV (in Paris or in a vineyard) would ultimately remain in the hands of the State. The Élysée Palace indicates that the Ministry of Agriculture is in charge of the issue. The next general assembly of the OIV, on July 11, could allow progress on this eminently diplomatic issue.
Based on the vitisphere source