The Café Lavinal celebrates its 10th anniversary

September 2016

The Bages café is to celebrate its 10th anniversary on 23 september 2016. Return to the grass roots...

At the heart of the Médoc vineyards, the local winegrowing population and visitors to the Route des Châteaux alike enjoy meeting up in Bages, a stone’s throw from the Châteaux of Lynch-Bages and Cordeillan-Bages. To visit the wineries, taste the wine, do a little shopping for arts and crafts and from the shops in the Place Desquet and to treat themselves to the hearty bistro cuisine of the Café Lavinal or the Michelin-starred gastronomy of the château Cordeillan-Bages.

The café in the village of Bages opened its doors in 2006 and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. At “Le Lavinal”, the vineyard folk meet up with Médoc marathon runners or visitors to the chateaux who find here the perfect stopover and activities that take one back to what Bages was over the centuries…

The revival of Bages

At the beginning of the 20th century, Bages – less than a kilometer to the south of Pauillac – was a very active wine-producing village. There were a cafe-cum-grocer's, a haberdasher’s, and even a blacksmith who also served as a farrier. The crus classés from Croizet-Bages and Lynch-Bages lived quite happily alongside several "pocket-sized" winemaking properties.

During the second half of the century, however, the little village went the way of many French country hamlets and was gradually deserted by its longtime inhabitants.

Yet, at the same time, the Médoc wine-producing area, which had passed through a long crisis, was graduallygetting back on its feet. Wine markets were recovering and developing from the 60s onwards, while at the same time, the efforts of the winegrowers were bearing fruit and production tools were being adapted and modernised during the last two decades of the century.

And the Café Lavinal comes into being

In Bages, Jean-Michel Cazes, owner of the Château Lynch-Bages, wanted to inject new life into the village he had known in his youth. Not in the form of a museum evoking the past, but rather as a contemporary living space that would be open to everybody, where one could eat, drink, sleep, learn, have fun, and even have a party! Launched in 2002, the project went on to make the village what it is today: a focal point for local life and a destination for visitors seeking an experience based on wine and the art of living that goes with it.

"Wine is not just a drink. It’s also a culture and a history, an environment, an art of living, a way of being... Authentic and original, a veritable universe that we want to showcase in our village." 
_ Jean-Michel Cazes

To start with, a dozen homes were renovated. All of them are now inhabited. In 2003, the former winegrowing village saw the opening of a bakery that was later to become the Comptoir d’Andréa. In 2006, it was the turn of the Café Lavinal, which takes its name from Berthe Lavinal, Jean-Michel Cazes' grandmother, whose parents had a rural café close to Villeneuve-sur-Lot. There followed the Cercle Lynch-Bages – the mecca of wine tasting –, the Bages butcher’s shop with its local specialities, and the VINIV vat room and cellars where wine devotees can create their own personal cuvée.

To celebrate 10 years of the Café Lavinal, join us in the village of Bages at 7pm on Friday, 23 September 2016!

For further info on the Café Lavinal