We don’t inherit the land of our fathers – we borrow it from our children.
St Exupéry after an African proverb
The commitment of an heir to respect previously acquired values
Once out of school, I used to dash off to the vines with my brother and sister to help my mother weed. I used to follow my father into the wine cellar to push the ratchet bar on the wine press from which flows the precious juice which ferments into new wine. As a young adult, I studied Biochemistry at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers (Conservatory of Arts and Crafts) in Paris and Business Management in the Luigi Bocconi University in Milan.
During my professional career, I have developed and put fluid clarification techniques into practice and I have taken part in major infrastructure projects for sustainable development. I have been lucky enough to study and work in the world of wine, from Georgia (the supposed birthplace of the vine) to the highest Bolivian plateaux.
Currently, I manage the family vineyard and respect previously acquired values in my work there. I am strongly committed to a responsible, sustainable production process. I look to the future of the estate with serenity and its transmission to my children.
Vines: A respectful approach to nature
The “Maison Henriette Dubourdieu” project is to limit the production area to 5 hectares (roughly 12.5 acres) so as to carry out the work almost entirely manually on the 18 000 grapevines which are to be found there.
The setting up of mechanical weeding systems is being generalized. We are rediscovering the old methods with the use of a winegrower’s plough to cover and uncover the grapevines and avoid using chemical herbicides.
The thinning-out of the leaves is done by hand throughout the whole of the vineyard. When the grapes begin to change colour, the ones touching each other are eliminated. The combination of all this work means that the vines are lightened out and the risk of the proliferation of fungal diseases is reduced.
In fact, because of this the use of treatment with chemical or biological substances is reduced.
The plots are surrounded by woods or hedges. These bocages regulate the temperature and are a paradise for insects which are useful for the vines.
“Maison Henriette Dubourdieu” is starting on a conversion to organic agriculture and is thinking of obtaining the HVE (High Environmental Value) certification.
Winemaking: Treading and destemming are a must
Winemaking begins in the vines with the daily tasting of the berries on each of the plots until the desired aroma is found. For this major task, “Maison Henriette Dubourdieu” is helped by an oenology consultant well-known for his expertise in the vineyards and his personalized advice.
On the big day, the grape harvesting starts as the desired ripeness has been reached. The experienced wine-pickers go through each bunch of grapes eliminating any undesirable ones and any debris. A final selection takes place in the wine cellar. The red grapes are destemmed and crushed before maceration/fermentation. The length of the maceration is different for each vintage and determined by the desired aromatic profile. The treading by foot is done twice a day and enables the aromas and flavours to be released.
Finally, the MOUSTROUN ®, a process used in wine preparation in the Maison Henriette Dubourdieu cellars is specific to the Tannat. It aims at obtaining the best possible tannic balance and an optimal content of anthocyanins well-known for their antioxidant properties.
The right sanitary practices, the optimal ripeness of the grapes, the close scrutiny of the fermentation all enable the use of sulphites to be reduced.
Bottling is done on the property thanks to a mobile, completely automatic bottling line which meets the highest health and quality standards of the H.A.C.C.P.