We were invited by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux to their 2013 vintage tasting, at the Royal Opera House in September.
The ROH has a special place in my heart for it brings me back memories of when I was a dancer, and the time I met my husband in London, and of our excursions in London’s classical music and dance scenes. We were often at the ballet, the opera, or listening to chamber music at Wigmore Hall. Ballet is about precision, elegance, confidence. So is winemaking at this level. There are many parallels to the art of overseeing a vineyard and the training of a ballet dancer. Both must develop in a way that allows a creator to express its innermost vision of a transcendent world. The work of a choreographer is akin to the work of a winemaker.
New generations are slowly taking over. Digital is transforming the way Bordeaux is doing business. There is a surprising good number of women leading the chateaux, be it in winemaking, marketing and sales, or general operations. Some are giving continuity to a family business, some are invited to join at the the C-suite level. The business is still mostly run by families that have been in the region for centuries, but we see the new guard slowly taking over with some impressive results and a new, global, outlook.
Chinese capital has been investing in the region too. The country has overtaken France in the size of vineyards planted, so there is a desire by these new fangled producers to come and learn with the masters in Bordeaux, and some are buying wineries to better supply the Chinese market which, in spite of its slowing economy in 2014/2015, continues to drive global growth in the fine wine and luxury goods and services sector.