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Page 6 of the interview with

Jean-Philippe Delmas
Château Haut Brion

When you work at Haut-Brion, where there is no crisis, do you think of the other wineries in Bordeaux and in France, and their current trouble?

Yes, of course. We cannot separate ourselves from them. Haut-Brion is closely linked to Bordeaux and reciprocally. I want to be positive, I believe in the potential of the wines of Bordeaux. I hope that the future will side with me.
It should be said that there was an unhappy choice at a given time. In 1956. we had a harsh winter in Bordeaux. There was one meter (39 inches) of snow for 15 days. Part of the vineyard was destroyed. Vines were dead, and a quarter of the vineyard was lost. We had to replant the vineyard. The wineries with strong financial backing replanted with the same density. The others planted with different densities with enough space for a tractor to move, and tieing up the vines higher. They divided by two the density but not the production. But if you produce the same amount of wine, the quantity of grapes per vine is too important, the load is too significant. It was a dramatic choice. Now, there is a dynamic to densify the vineyard.
In addition, Bordeaux has a very strong tradition of appellation, of identity, with Chateaux and vintages. At a certain level we should forget this concept of chateau to lead toward a concept of brand.

What would you recommend to improve the communication and marketing of french wines?

For the mass-market wines, we need a simple communication, clearly identifiable, with for example grape variety information.
For the greatest wines, it is another world, another style of communication. We always need to inform more and more. Anyway, we will have no choice. With the traceability, the law urges us to identify the wine making process from the grape to the wine bottle. The transparency today becomes an obligation.
The champagne has a very good communication for example. We can take inspiration from. For the other regions, it is very fragmented, and so it is more complicated to communicate to the world.
But in Burgundy, the dealers are well-know name, they are brand name, more a signature than anything else. In Bordeaux, I think that we will lead into this direction.

Do you think that a fourth generation of Delmas will follow your steps... in several decades?

I do not have a kid yet but I wish to have some. If one of my future children moves towards this way. If he has the skills and if the Dillon family is still there and trust him (I mean girl or boy), I would be delighted and proud. The same way as, I hope, my father is of me.

Go back to the beginning of the interview with Jean-Philippe Delmas, Chateau Haut-Brion

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Chateau Haut-Brion
Jean-Philippe Delmas


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