Stephen Brook finds out how the new generation of energetic young winemakers in Bordeaux is rising to the daily challenges of managing the top estates...
Bordeaux’s Juliette Bécot of Château Beau-Séjour-Bécot 1GCCB
‘I studied oenology in Bordeaux and part of the course required you to work at a family estate, if you came from one,’ Juliette tells me. ‘So I worked with my father, Gérard, in 2000, and we developed a great relationship in the cellar because we understood each other so well. He decided to look for a property for me. St-Emilion was too pricey, but he found Joanin in Castillon, and I made my first vintage there in 2001.
‘My father was by my side, and when the crop was safely in the vats, he just handed the keys of the cellar to me, just as his father had done with him decades ago. It’s often said that we’re not really owners so much as guardians of our properties, which have to be transmitted from generation to generation.’
Although Juliette’s uncle, Dominique, still runs the family’s vineyards, Gérard retired in 2013 and Juliette has taken his place in the cellar. ‘I really didn’t want my father to retire. I still need his experience to make the right decisions, though of course he’s still around from time to time. But he has other activities that he enjoys and now he has the time to pursue them.’