Owner of Château
IT WAS DURING A VISIT TO THE VINEYARDS OF THE ENTRE-DEUX-MERS THAT
I INTERVIEWED ALAIN DUC, OWNER OF CHÂTEAU DE LABORDE.
The estate emerges calmly in the heart of the vines, ready to bear witness
to the story that Mr Duc will tell us today.
Mr Duc, tell us about the history of your estate.
«Its history dates back to the 12th century. The first part of the house was used to keep sheep at the time. It was in 1600 that the owners developed a private cellar. The house later passed to General Darmagnac, a hero of the Napoleonic saga, who finished his military career on 28 August 1830, a few weeks after the start of the July Monarchy. His tomb, right by the château, is overlooked by an obelisk, bearing witness to his exploits in Egypt.»
How did you become the lucky owner of Château de Laborde?
«My great grandfather bought the wine estate in 1870. My grandfather later took over and took the estate in a different direction by signing up to the Rauzan co-operative, of which he was a founding member. In the 1970s it was my father’s turn to take over the management of the vineyard in collaboration with the Cave d’Espiet, of which I have been president for more than 25 years. My daughter, Karine, is in the process of ensuring the succession.»
So it is a family history then…
«I have always lived in this house. I invested in renovating it, with respect for its original style, and continue to plant vines to ensure the upkeep of my vineyard.»
What is its special character?
«80 ha of vines in a single block, made up of 65 ha of red and 15 ha of white. I work in the vineyard just as I work in the cellar, with rigour. I optimise my farming by using natural products like demineralised water, which reduces the amount of spray needed by half. Today 5 people are working there full time.»
Why have you followed your forefathers and committed yourself to the co-operative?
«Their convictions have become mine. The wine co-operative allows everyone to be fulfilled and to be professional in their trade. The winegrowers farm the vineyard, the co-op vinifies the wine, and Producta Vignobles sells it. We are specialists, each in our own field, but with a common purpose. In this way the co-op
provides the values of trust while leaving everyone the opportunity to express their own qualities. Each vineyard bears the mark of its winegrower. Our palette of wines is therefore extremely rich and varied. I have been president of the Cave d’Espiet for 25 years, and they call me the “suggestion box”. It is true that I like to move things forward, to anticipate and develop projects without losing my breath, but always with conviction and desire.»