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Bouchard Pre & Fils expands

Published:  23 July, 2008

Charlemagne, three anonymous Cistercian monks, Duke Philippe the Bold, Duke Philippe the Good, Louis XI, Pasteur... It was quite a reception party that Bouchard Pre & Fils had lined up for the opening of its new purpose-built winery outside Savigny-ls-Beaune on Saturday 19 November, the famous figures from Burgundy's rich history present in sculptures that cast long shadows along the 140 metre-wall.

Inside, Joseph Henriot, president of Bouchard Pre & Fils, Bernard Herv, managing director, Bruno Ppin, export director, and the rest of the team were on hand to welcome the large number of press and trade visitors from all over the world who had been invited to see over the functional 10,000 square-metre facility. The culmination of ten years of investment and improvement at one of Burgundy's most important ngociant houses and vineyard owners, the winery should make possible the smoother translation of some pretty superior terroir: more than 70% of the company's holdings (86 of its 130 hectares) are grand or premier cru.

In his opening address, Henriot warned against complacency among his compatriots - It is no longer true that French wines are always the best ... Many Burgundies are not at the level they should be' - and set the new winery in the context of the need to get as close to perfection as possible' if France

is to stay in the race. Noting that Three-Michelin-star restaurants do not do their cooking on Gaz stoves', he explained that the winery had been designed to give the winemaking team the equipment and space that it needed.

The reception area is large enough to take in the grapes of several vineyards at once (the fruit from 40 AOCs will be processed here). On the ground floor or on the first floor below ground level are the latest Bucher Z80 presses, stainless steel and wooden vats with auto-pigeage, Rotomatic rotary fermenters and tables de trie. For the gentler handling of the fruit, as much as possible is transferred by gravity, while for parcel-by-parcel vinification the total number of vats is

more than 200.

Below ground, the impressive barrel chai benefits from all-natural ventilation. At a depth of 10 metres it needs no artificial humidity or temperature control - an environment which reduces to a minimum the drying of the barrels and the evaporation of the wine. Already with a capacity of 4,500 barriques, the subterranean space can be expanded by up to 50%; the walls currently do no more than hold back the earth, and can easily be knocked through should further excavations be required.