Men and women

August 7, 2014

Jean-Marie Bordenave, an aeronautical engineer into Sweet Bordeaux

Jean-Marie Bordenave stumbled across the Sweet Bordeaux wines when he was little. The owner of  Château de Lavialle reconciles his job as an engineer and his passion for sweet Bordeaux white wines.

At Château de Lavialle in Donzac, it’s all about passion.  Jean-Marie Bordenave, the domain owner, is always there to remind you that. Because the vine is just his second job. Even though his initial interest was for Sweet Bordeaux wines, he first chose to work as an aeronautical engineer, before taking over the family business. “I’ve always worked on the vineyard. When I was very young, I loved helping my parents during school holidays and at the weekend. But when time came to start studying, I chose to become an engineer. This did not stop me, when I turned forty, to go back to my roots, while still keeping my job as a part-time engineer”, he tells us.

Selling directly at the property

When he obtained a Masters degree in wine domains management,  Jean-Marie Bordenave started managing the 12-hectare family domain. “I’m a very small craftsman, I have a very small farm and I had to learn on the job” the winemaker remarks. The majority of his  Loupiac and Premières Côtes de Bordeaux production is sold directly at the property. “This is how it has been for the past three generations. My customers are loyal. Some were used to buying from my grand-father”, he says. Through a wine merchant, Château de Lavialle still sellsits most of its fruity cuvées in England “because the English really like those wines as an apéritif in summer”, assures the winemaker.

Sweet Bordeaux, wines for the passionate

Of course, the small-scale producer welcomes visitors to his property. He offers tastings as well as visits of the cellars and the vineyards. “Respecting good value for money is essential to ensure customer loyalty”, he confesses. In this domain, his love for sweet white wines does the job. “It is difficult to make sweet Bordeaux white wines, because to obtain good grape quality, we are very dependant on the weather. In this industry, you will only meet passionate people!”, Jean-Marie Bordenave explains. And he adds: “but one thing is for sure, if I ever had to give up one of my activities, it will never be the vineyard”.