I’m off to France Tuesday to visit the world’s most famous wine region, Bordeaux.

An invitation arrived just a few weeks ago to join a press contingent of about 15 worldwide journalists as guests of the CIVB, or Bordeaux’s wine council. The group represents about 10,000 Bordeaux wineries and negociants. And yes, in the sense of full disclosure, it’s important to note they pick up all expenses to bring journalists to the event.

Every other year, even numbered ones, Bordeaux celebrates its iconic wines with this festival.

Depending on what web site you wish to believe, the Fete le Vin will draw between 300,000-500,000 visitors this week.

Saying I’m excited is a big understatement. I really enjoyed a wine trip to Southern France earlier this year and it left me with a desire to learn more about French wines. I’m not sure whether to admit or admit with some embarrassment that of all the wine regions in the world Bordeaux presents the biggest challenge. I have certainly consumed some Bordeaux wines but not much. And my knowledge base of wine regions is the thinnest when it comes to France’s iconic Bordeaux.

The Garone River runs through the heart of Bordeaux.

We will be participants in the festival which features wineries from Bordeaux’s 80 appellations, a nightly light show and concert, and plenty of culinary specialities sure to tantatlize the taste buds.

A good portion of the trip seems to be devoted to shining a light on tourism.. Bordeaux certainly is no Napa when it comes to welcoming the outside world. I look at that as perhaps the most interesting story to come out of this visit. We’ll see.

I hope to be Tweeting throughout the day and will blog each night. I will try, as access and time permit.s, to put up a photo album on the blog each evening.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com