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Château Branaire-Ducru unveils new vat house and tourism space

Bordeaux château Branaire-Ducru has opened a new vat house, which had doubled the number of tanks to allow for greater precision vinification, becoming the first suspended vat house in Médoc.

Château Branaire-Ducru’s François-Xavier Maroteaux in the new wine tourism space [picture crédit: Brice Braastad]

The project is the culmination of three year’s work, in which the team worked in collaboration with Bordeaux-based designers Atelier des Architectes Mazières using local companies for the construction of the new vat room.

The new vat room has expanded the number of tanks from 38 to 75 stainless tanks, with 65 of those suspended, allowing for 100% gravity-fed vatting. The new vats replace the previous 237 hl barrels with smaller ones, from 59 hl to 95 hl, and will enable the team to concentrate on high-precision, parcel-by-parcel vinification of its 70 plots in order to highlight each plot’s unique expression of the terroir.

The new configuration has also enabled the team to keep the building’s footprint the same, thereby minimizing its impact on the environment.

In addition, the barrels are made of “mirror-polished” surface in order to significantly reduce the need for cleaning products and water and are thermally insulated with a double skin to limits thermal losses. The environmentally respectful design also integrates sustainable practise, such as filtering and treating the washing water in a communal purification plant dedicated to the wine sector.

François-Xavier Maroteaux, chairman and co-owner of Château Branaire-Ducru called the project “a bold endeavour” given it had been initiated in the context of COVID, but one that had been “very motivating for our team”.

Château Branaire-Ducru’s new suspended vat room. [picture crédit: Brice Braastad, supplied by Château Branaire-Ducru]

“It now allows us to offer even more precise wines and refine the house signature of Branaire-Ducru, while optimizing the working conditions for our employees,” he said.

The 2021, 2022, and 2023 vintages from the 4th Classified Growth in Saint-Julien have already benefited from these new facilities, it said.

The estate has also unveiled its new wine tourism space, adjacent to the cellar, and will offer a range of guided tours and tastings.

Maroteaux said he was delighted to unveil these new tour offerings, which would provide visitors with “an authentic and immersive experience within our estate”.

“Welcoming enthusiasts from around the world to discover the values that drive our property is a pleasure. The art of French hospitality is deeply rooted in the essence of our family history since its inception,” he said.

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