Bordeaux in May - Wine Tours and Other Things to Do

May is my favorite month in Bordeaux.  

It gets warm, but never too hot.  Some rain and thunderstorms bring freshness. 

Many Bordeaux wineries welcome visitors for tastings and tours. Saint-Emilion, one of the most prestigious wine areas in Bordeaux, holds an Open Doors event.

In this article, I share my impressions of Bordeaux in May and some of my photos.  

Table of Contents

May weather tends to be comfortable with night temperatures around 10C (50F), and 23C (73F) during the day

However, Bordeaux gets on average 15 days in May, with a monthly rainfall of 90 mm.  Afternoon thunderstorms are quite often. 

You may need to pack a light rain jacket for your trip to Bordeaux in May.

Cheateau Gruaud Larose in the Medoc has one of the most impressive gardens.

Everything blooms – the manicured chateau gardens and flowers on the city balconies.

My street in Bordeaux.

Street walks are comfortable on long spring days. 

May is a great time to enjoy multiple bars with outside terraces.  I have an impression that spending evenings in bars is what the Bordelais love the most.  Join the local crowds for an apero.

Bordeaux Victoire neighbourhood.

In the afternoon, I like to stroll Bordeaux Quays for people-watching, then cross the Garonne by the Stone Bridge and enjoy views of the 18th century architecture of Place de la Bourse lit by sunset.

Pont de pierre built in the early 19th century under the orders of Napoleon I.

Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux.

In May, vineyards are bright green and emerald with scattered poppies and wildflowers. Vines are growing vigorously.

Entre-deux-Mers vineyards in May.

Wineries are open to the public and offer guided tours, tastings, blending workshops, picnics, walk in the vineyards, and even barrel tastings of new wine.   

Views on the walls of Saint Emilion near Bordeaux.

May is the time when the great Bordeaux wines are put in bottles. 

By this time of the year, the wine that has been in barrels approximately 15 months is pumped back to big vats, blended, rested and is waiting for the bottling day.

Chateau Beauregard connects its vats to the bottling plant.

A mobile bottling plant is called to a property. A specially trained crew arrives on fully equipped plant on a truck.  The line rinses new bottles and fills them up with wine extremely fast. Labelling is usually not done at this point in time, but rather when the bottles are ready to leave the property.

Fine Bordeaux wines must be bottled on site according to the appellation rules. Therefore, it is a good chance that you will see the bottling process in actions on your Bordeaux winery tour.

May is a good time for bottling as the days are not too hot to damage the wine.

Chateau Beauregard, Pomerol, called in a mobile bottling plant.

I organize private wine tours in Bordeaux. Feel free to contact me if you are planning a trip.  

I have also summarized practical information on visiting Bordeaux wineries that may be useful.

During the first weekend of May Saint Emilion castles open their doors to the public. Wineries organize free tours and tastings. 

That is a rare opportunity to see many Saint Emilion wineries and taste wine at several different estates in a day.  

Tip 1: See my list and map of Bordeaux wineries to build your route. 

Tip 2: Guided visits during the Open Doors events are typically in French.  If you don't speak French, you may want to skip the 1-hour long tour and just do the tasting.   

Tip 3: Make a lunch reservation, as local restaurants could be crowded during the Open Doors weekend

The castle of Chateau de Pressac in May.

 

Wine tasting at Chateau Soutard, during the Saint Emilion Open Doors event.

Day trips to local historic villages and towns

Saint Emilion is a wine capital of the Right Bank of Bordeaux and one of the oldest towns in the area dating back to the 9th century.  

Other interesting towns to visit are Rions, Saint-Macaire, Bourg, Blaye.  

The town of Saint Emilion in May.

During my visit to Rions in May.

Visit La Cite du Vin and Museums of Bordeaux

Visit La Cite du Vin, the famous Museum of Wine in Bordeaux in a decanter-shaped building.  

Book your tickets online or  purchase Bordeaux City Pass.  Using the city pass, you can only enter Cite du Vin before noon.

Here is my video from La Cite du Vin.  

The European night of the museums is on in the second part of May, usually around May 20th.

Visit these museums on a rainy day in Bordeaux:

Bordeaux Natural History Museum

 

Musée Mer Marine Bordeaux (the Marine Museum)

 

Bernard Magrez Institut Culturel

 

Museum of Decorative Arts and Design

 

CAPC Bordeaux 

 

Wine Tastings in Bordeaux

You may check out local wine events in Bordeaux, taste at a wine bar or a shop, or attend a guided wine tasting.

Visit Oyster Farms in the Arcachon Bay

Oysters are in season, they are fresh and very affordable.

My favorite places for oyster tasting are the village of L’Herbe with with its colorful cabanas and tranquil waters , and the Gujan-Mestras area farms.

Check out more places to taste oysters in my article 8 Cool Things to Do in Bordeaux – Off the Beaten Path.

To reach Arcachon and Dune du Pyla, drive or take a train from Bordeaux Gare Saint Jean to the Arcachon station.  Train tickets can be found here

Alternatively,  a private driver can arrange an Arcachon and the Dune for you.

Dress comfortably to climb the Dune.

Oyster tasting at Arcachon.

We are at the top of the Dune de Pyla.

Embrace the ocean – surf or just walk endless sandy beaches at Lacanau, Cap Ferret, Carcans Beach or Hourtin Beach.

Flea Markets and Antique Fairs

The largest spring antique market Brocante de Printemps takes place from April 23 to May 9 at Place de Quinconces in the center of Bordeaux.  

Many great finds there. My personal favorite is French cookware.

Bordeaux is a great destination during all times of the year. Enjoy your visit to Bordeaux!

You may also find interesting

8 Cool Things to Do in Bordeaux

Bordeaux in March

Bordeaux in April

For more Bordeaux travel tips see my Blog and the Bordeaux Destination Guide.

Hi, my name is Polina. I am a sommelier and a wine tour guide in Bordeaux, France.

I organize private wine tours in Bordeaux.

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polinasomm
Author: polinasomm

Hi, my name is Polina. I am a sommelier and a wine tour guide in Bordeaux, France. I travel for wine in Europe, collecting the best wineries to visit, places to stay and eat.