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Born and bred Medoc winemaker who revolutionised his father's estate
The son of a grape-grower in the heart of the Medoc, Guillaume always knew he would one day take over the vineyards worked by his father, and his father before him. But it was his visits to the local cooperative - where his dad’s grapes were blended in with other growers’ - that sparked a passion for winemaking in young Guillaume’s mind.
When he did take over the family vines 30 years ago, all Guillaume had to work with was a few spare tanks and some barrels he found lying around. In the decades since, he’s revolutionised his father’s estate into a fully-kitted out winemaking workshop where he can tinker with every stage of the winemaking process, with a perfectionist’s eye for quality.
His proudest moment was when he won Cru Bourgeois status in 2012, this special honour is awarded only to exceptional Medoc wines that aren’t from the old, big-name chateaus - as a stamp of top quality. It’s a testament to what Guillaume has been able to achieve at his dad’s old estate, and remarkably, he still sees more potential to come out of the old Poitevin vines. Potential he hopes to pass on to the next generation of family grape-growers.
Guillaume Poitevin's Story
Son of a vine grower in Medoc, I followed in the footsteps of my dad, and his dad before him. I always enjoyed working outside in the sun and the fresh air. Combined with my interest in gastronomy, it is very natural that I was interested in taking over the vineyard planted by my father.
I always enjoyed going to the cave cooperative, where the grapes produced by my father were brought and combined with the harvest of other producers. There is a certain energy that one can only feel during harvest. Seeing something like always makes one wonder: “How would I choose to complete this step? What should be the final blending of this wine?”. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to make a signature wine.
Although I was always curious about my father’s work, I really started to make wine about 30 years ago, when I took over my father’s vines. I started with a couple of tanks and barrels and developed the estate progressively. Today, the whole winemaking and bottling, and conditioning process are completed at the estate.
Waking up before dawn, I go for a quick tour of the vineyard then meet up with my team of workers at 8:00. I usually work with them for a couple of hours. I always go to the office at 11 to manage everything office-related. My afternoons are mostly spent working in the vineyard or in the cellar, depending on the time of year.
My team is composed of four dedicated workers, who work on the estate the whole year. They are dedicated and their work brings my wine to life. Additionally, my wife, Natacha also works at the estate and has supported me from the start. My dear friend Antoine Médeville, oenologist and co-owner of Laboenoconseil Pauillac, has been precious support in defining Chateau Poitevin’s signature.
I think that the hardest challenge is to reinvent oneself when working with a perennial crop. Trends are shifting quickly, and it is difficult to remain attractive when making traditional wines. Most of our experiments of the moments are done during the winemaking process: sulfite-free wine, amphora wines...
I dream of being able to pass on the estate to the next generation! I think that the estate still has a lot of potential.