A chat with Grégoire from Château Couronneau, producer of our Bordeaux
Father and son team Christophe and Grégoire Piat are the region’s leading practitioners in organic wine production. They craft ultra-ripe, flavourful Merlot-based reds from bio-dynamically grown grapes.
How did you end up becoming a winemaker?
In the beginning, my father was a wine merchant and my mother was a restorer of paintings. They had my big sister Blanche, and knowing that I was on the way, they decided to switch their city life for the countryside. My father sold his company and they bought a ruined castle on the extreme east of the Gironde. It was the start of a new adventure.
Why should a keen wine drinker visit your region?
That's a difficult question to answer 😊. In my mind, there's Bordeaux town, the Cap Ferret beaches, castles and charming villages all around… But specifically for the keen wine drinker...! Very simply, I would say that for a very long time our region has had wine at its heart. Everything is imbued with it; the history, architecture and stories. From the prestige of Grands Crus Classes, to vineyards such as ours - there's just so much here to take in.
Which part of the winemaking process do you enjoy the most?
I've been working at Château Couronneau for three years now. My favourite part is thinking, elaborating and trying new winemaking techniques. I'm trying at least two new techniques every year in order to progress and learn.
Is there anything that frustrates you about working in wine?
My main frustration is not being able to spend enough time in the cellar and in the vineyard. We're winemakers but our job is now administrative work for around 60% of the time.
Which environmental practices are most important to you?
No use of chemical products. Using as little phytosanitary products (pesticides) as possible. And promoting life and biodiversity.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
Surfing, visiting my family in Basque country and seeing friends in Bordeaux.
Which is your favourite season?
Summer obviously! Sun, waves and grapes.
What is your go-to music to unwind to?
Paradoxically, instrumental house music helps me to unwind!
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Going on holiday to Albania in September. Last year we went to Georgia, which was epic, and we are hoping Albania and Montenegro will be just as good...