Seventy firefighters have managed to prevent a fire at Château Suduiraut in Sauternes from getting out of control.
The fire broke out in a wing of Château Suduiraut that is rented out for conferences, but has left vineyards and winemaking areas untouched, said Christian Seely, the managing director of AXA Millésimes, which owns the Sauternes premier cru classé property.
Blamed on an electrical fault, the fire was very localised and no one was hurt, Seely told Decanter.com. The greatest damage was done in the dining room, kitchen and some bedrooms.
Asked if smoke taint could be an issue for the vines, Seely said no. ‘It’s not a problem at this time of year and the fire was in the middle of the château, not near the vineyards.’
All wine in tanks or barrels was safely sealed off, he said.
Flames began on the morning of 20 June, sending a huge plume of smoke into the air. At least 70 local firefighters battled to bring the fire under control.
All staff working at Suduiraut were safely evacuated and an investigation to confirm the source of the fire was underway.
This is not the first time Suduiraut has been hit by a blaze, albeit the first fire caused more damaged.
The property was burnt down during ‘the Fronde’ – as a series of French civil wars between 1648 and 1653 under Louis XIV are known – and then rebuilt in the second half of the 17th century.
Alongside its signature Sauternes, Suduiraut also makes two dry white wines. The most recent, Blanc Sec de Suduiraut, was first made from the 2015 vintage.
As well as wine, the estate is known for its elegant gardens, designed by King Louis XIV’s gardener, André Le Nôtre, who also created the gardens at Versailles palace outside of Paris.
Farr Vintners director Tom Hudson said that he didn’t expect news of the fire to impact sales of Suduiraut, although he added that, in general, ‘Sauternes remains quite a hard sell’ in the current market.
Editing by Chris Mercer
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