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Winemaker crushed to death by wine press

Bernard Rouanet, a winemaker in the Languedoc, died tragically last Thursday after his head was crushed in the wine press of his vineyard.

Bernard Rouanet (left). (Photo credit: Facebook – Domaine Rouanet Montcélèbre.)

Bernard Rouanet, owner of the Domaine Rouanet Montcélèbre vineyard, located next to the village of Cesseras in the Minervois region of the Languedoc, died last Thursday (17/08/2017) while attempting to repair his wine press.

Emergency services rushed to his vineyard, but were unable to save the winemaker from his death. Rouanet was buried in the church of Minerva in Cesseras yesterday (22/08/2017) – he was 57 years old.

Bernard Rouanet and his wife bought the 23 ha Domaine Rouanet Montcélèbre in 1987 and had recently introduced organic wine production practices to the vineyard.

The family’s vines are grown on clay and limestone at an altitude of 250 to 300 metres. The vineyard’s wines have won several awards, including a star in the Guide Hachette des Vins for its red wine and a silver medal for its white wine this year, and three stars for its rosé wine last year.

Speaking exclusively to the drinks business, Rouanet’s neighbour, Gerard Chabbert, paid homage to his deceased neighbour.

“It is very sad,” said Chabbert. “Bernard was much loved in the village of Cesseras, he worked very hard on his vineyard,” Chabbert, a retired winemaker said.

“He was trying to fix his wine press and he gave the order for the machine to be turned back on when the tragic incident occurred.”

“I do not know how the family and his children will cope,” he added.

For obvious reasons, the Rouanet family were unavailable for comment. French authorities have launched an inquiry into Rouanet’s death.

Domaine Rouanet Montcélèbre.

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