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Timeline: The life of wine professor Denis Dubourdieu

See a timeline of key moments in the professional life of Denis Dubourdieu.

Timeline: The life of Denis Dubourdieu

Following news that professor Denis Dubourdieu has died in Bordeaux, here is a timeline of some key moments in his life.


Born at Château Doisy-Daëne in Barsac.


Begins thesis at Bordeaux University under Pascal Ribereau-Gayon, after studying for first degree at Sup Agro in Montpellier.


chateau reynon, dubourdieu

Marries Florence David and takes over running Château Reynon when her father dies just a few months into their marriage.


Completes PhD on the molecular structure of botrytised grapes. He would go on to publish more than 200 academic papers – many of them having a direct affect in wine quality.

botrytis, botrytised grapes


First son, Fabrice, is born


Second son, Jean-Jacques, is born

clos floridene, dubourdieu1982

Further doctorate on filtering and fining botrytised wines.

Buys land to form Clos Floridène, in an attempt to show that great wine can still be made outside of the top classifications.

He also begins teaching at Bordeaux University and would go on teach many of the people running Bordeaux estates today.


Begins consulting for estates other than his own, at first specialising in white wines with partner (and former student) Christophe Ollivier.

This would eventually earn him the nickname ‘Pope of white wine’ in Bordeaux.

Valérie Lavigne, also a former student, joins the consulting group.


Becomes consultant to Château Haut-Bailly, marking beginning of red wine consultancy.

Haut-Bailly vines, decanter man of the year 2016

Château Haut-Bailly and its vineyards bathed in the summer sunshine.

1999alain rousset, dubourdieu

Begins work on the creation of a multi-disciplinary wine centre in Bordeaux with Alain Rousset, president of Aquitaine regional council.

doisy-daene, dubourdieu


Takes over from his father at Château Doisy-Daëne, where he was born.



Jean-Jacques and Fabrice begin working alongside their father at Château Doisy-Daëne.


Official inauguration of the Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin (ISVV) on 23 June.

ISVV, wine in Bordeaux, dubourdieu

2014doisy dubroca, dubourdieu

Buys Château Doisy-Dubroca from Louis Lurton to re-unite with Doisy-Daëne. The two were part of the same estate until the early 19th century.


Named Decanter Man of the Year 2016.

In July, and following a battle with illness, Denis dies surrounded by family in Bordeaux.

Aside from running several different estates and consulting to around 80 châteaux, he had been cited more than 7,000 times in academic work by the time of his death.


Denis Dubourdieu

1949 – 2016

Read more about what Denis Dubourdieu has done for wine lovers



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