Loire winemaker killed in crash
Frédéric Mabileau, a highly respected winemaker in the Loire appellation of Saint-Nicolas de Bourgeuil, has been killed in a light aircraft crash.
The accident took place on the evening of 31 August at the aerodrome of Saumur. According to local media reports, Mabileau was piloting the gyrocopter and as he came in to land he encountered difficulties leading to the fatal crash.
He was the only person on board and declared dead at the scene by emergency services. The exact causes of the crash are not known and are currently being investigated. He was 53.
Mabileau ran a domain of 26 hectares in Saint-Nicolas de Bourgeuil along with his wife Nathalie.
The fourth generation of his family to run the domain, his first vintage was 1991 and he took over fully after his father’s retirement in 2003.
He converted to organics in 2007 and, in the same year, reintroduced white wines to the domain’s portfolio; something his grandfather was noted for though Frédéric sourced his fruit from Anjou and Saumur.
As a team with Nathalie, he on the winemaking side she doing the sales, the domain was very successful and the wines are widely exported and held in very high regard.
The online journal Vitisphere carried quotes from various local figures who were in shock at the sudden news.
Sébastien David, president of Loire Vin Bio, said how Frédéric was always at the forefront of new innovations and techniques, trying out new things such as espalier training some vines and grafting a parcel of Cabernet Franc to Pineau d’Aunis.
The local syndicate meanwhile has announced it is putting together a support package for Nathalie and the domain to help it through the up-coming harvest and beyond.