Bordeaux wine professor, consultant and château owner Denis Dubourdieu has been named Decanter Man of the Year 2016 for his outstanding contribution to wine over several decades - a career that will also see him awarded the Legion d'honneur in France.

You may not know it, but you have almost certainly benefited from the work and skill of Denis Dubourdieu in modern winemaking.

It was for this reason that Dubourdieu has been named Decanter Man of the Year 2016. Read Jane Anson’s full account of his achievements, as well as more tributes, in the April issue of Decanter magazine, out now.

After initially being turned down for a job at Château Latour as a fresh graduate, Dubourdieu has gone on to:

  • Be a consultant to some of the best Bordeaux wine estates, including Château d’Yquem, Cheval Blanc and Margaux (Pavillon Blanc)
  • Publish more than 200 research papers
  • Teach some of the leading winemakers in Bordeaux and beyond
  • Produce wine at his own estates, including Château Reynon, Doisy-Däene
    and Clos Floridène. He lives at the former with his wife of 40 years, Florence.
  • Found a prestigious wine education and research centre called the Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin, in 2009.

Wine research

Born in Barsac in 1949, Dubourdieu has also either carried out or overseen seminal research on:

  • The causes of premature oxidation in red and white wines
  • The origin of the vegetal, green pepper taste typical of underripe grapes
  • How to combat the barnyard smell of the brettanomyces yeast, or ‘Brett’
  • Identifying molecules responsible for aromatics in Sauvignon Blanc grapes and other varieties
  • The molecular structure of noble rot wines
  • Best practice in the vineyard and during fermentation to ensure the most aromatic wines in the final glass

For this, Dubourdieu has been cited in wine research papers globally more than 7,000 times.

It has also earned him a number of nicknames, including the ‘Pope of white wine’ and ‘the professor of Bordeaux’.

Tributes to Dubourdieu

Véronique Sanders, of Château Haut-Bailly, said, ‘He is involved in every aspect of modern viticulture and vinification, and is a joy to work with. He is able to capture the true identity of a terroir and its owner, and respect the characteristics of both.’

Dominique Lafon, Domaines des Comtes Lafon, ‘Denis Dubourdieu follows in the footsteps of the legendary Bordeaux oenologists like Emile Peynaud.’

Jancis Robinson OBE MW, ‘When we were looking for a European oenology advisor for the new Oxford Campanion to Wine, Denis was the obvious choice.’

Read Jane Anson’s full feature on Denis Dubourdieu by subscribing to the April issue of Decanter magazine, out now.


  • Hugo Rose MW

    A worthy winner whose profound research findings benefit both wine producers and consumers around the world. Salut, Professor!