14th June 2010
Bernard Magrez owns 35 vineyards around the world and is promoting wine tourism at his estates in Bordeaux. He talks to The Luxury Channel about his love for wine and his new venture….
Where will visitors on the wine tours go?
We have five properties in Bordeaux for people to visit. We are in Saint Emilion, Graves, Medoc and in the Entre-Deux-Mers region, so the visitor can compare and contrast all the great terriors de Bordeaux in one package. Our vineyards are in the great areas of the region and we have unique access to important producers. Each property has its own style and personality, as does the winemaker.
What is special about the tours?
Our mission with the wine tours is to offer the maximum pleasure, involvement with the history of the chateau, then dinner and possibly a stay in the chateau itself. People would travel in a vintage car or perhaps have a helicopter tour, and have a tasting lesson or even a blending lesson where they make their own assemblage of wines and compare those to actual wines from the chateau. It gives people a real chance to understand wine much more profoundly.
What inspired you to start this wine tourism venture?
I noticed in Spain there were some excellent examples of wine tourism. I then decided to go for this concept in Bordeaux, but I’m choosing to concentrate on a high-end proposition, to reflect the quality of our chateaux, including Fombrauge, La Tour Carnet and Pape Clément.
You own 35 vineyards around the world. Where might you go next?
I am fortunate enough to own some top Crus in Bordeaux and I diversified into Portugal, Spain, South America and Napa Valley. I’ve been to Croatia several times and there are excellent reds and whites there, and there are also fine wines in the Crimea. But I would say at this stage, 35 wine properties are sufficient for me!
Which wine from all of your collection would you choose to drink at your table?
One would be my wine Chateau Pape Clément and the other, a wine called Priorat from a region near Barcelona and Tarragona in Spain. They’re made on a very difficult, very dry, sloping terroirs and are marvellous red wines.
What makes the ideal wine, philosophically?
Wine is always a cultural product, not just a luxury commodity. It is a product of the land and of effort. A winemaker is an artisan, always looking for excellence in his work. When he achieves this, he becomes an artist.
Read our report of a Bernard Magrez Luxury Wine Tourism holiday here.