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What is ‘family winemaking’?
«Vasha Vinnaya Karta» ¹5 (64) June 2004, «Vinnaya Karta» ¹5 June 2004

Primum Familiae Vini, association of the leading winemaking families, for the first time held its annual tasting in Moscow.

“VK” asked all participants the same question. How do you feel about owning one of the best wine estates in the world?

Egon Muller, Egon Muller-Scharzhof
That’s a big responsibility. But on the other hand, it’s a value work to be able to produce something, to see it growing from the beginning. There is little part of fun! It gives you a degree of freedom, that probably nowadays in the world is quite rare.

Dominic Symington, The Symington Family Port Companies
I am very proud to be a member of the family business. I am very proud to work with my brother and with my cousins. I think personally they trust me to work with them. I am delighted, it makes me feel very good. But there’s a huge responsibility because I had been given — along with my brother and my cousins — the responsibility of looking after the family business. It’s been privately family owned for 135 years now, directly, just ourselves, and Warre’s goes back 330 years. And if I take a wrong decision, it can affect the history of my family. We must make sure that we hand the business over to the next generation at least at the same condition as we received it. I am not the owner, I am just a caretaker.

Pablo Alvares, Vega Sicilia
For me it’s a great honour and a great responsibility. I love my work and I think it is a great responsibility to keep and to increase the quality and prestige. But I also think that now we know how to achieve it. It is necessary to do slow work each year, and everything is ok.

Hubert de Billy, Champagne Pol Roger
We are not alone. We have worthy competitors. If we rest on the laurels, we will not be able to keep aboard. There is always something new that you can do. For example, my sister, who is in charge of vineyards, is replanting vines on new rootstocks that give better quality grapes. We have just finished re-modernisation of one room in the winery and in the next 3-4 years we will do them all. We have a task of moving ahead without losing quality.

Frederic Drouhin, Maison Joseph Drouhin
We must be humble as we continue to lean. Each year is a new birth of wine, and we must treat every vintage with respect. There must be dedication and passion which we pass on to our importers, agents and consumers. These are the three parts — being humble, respect for vintages and desire to learn further.

Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta, Tenuta San Guido
It’s an honour, but we do not abuse it, especially my father. It’s a huge responsibility. We were lucky. During the war my grandfather had an idea to plant unknown grapes in the region of Italy about which nobody thought of from the winemaking point of view. His plan was right as gravelly soils and climate of the region are suited perfectly for these varieties. It was a huge success. On the one hand, this is great, but on the other, everything must be under strict control.

Alessia Antinori, Marchesi Antinori
To support was done in the past is a great responsibility, but it is just as challenging to do better in the future. We have a lot of work, and we continue to increase the quality of our wines. My father still takes all key decisions, but all 4 members of the family are involved. It is very important to have female approach. When the wines are produced, tested, assembled or tasted women have certain sensitivity which men sometimes do not possess.

Michel Jaboulet, Paul Jaboulet Aine
When you work in wine industry and achieve certain recognition, it is important to be humble. We got an opportunity to live in a wonderful winemaking region. The Jaboulet family has been making famous Hermitage wines for six generations since 1834. They are listed in all three star Michelin rated restaurants. To be part of the world wine elite is a great honour, but you must not be arrogant. Two-three bad vintages, and it can be difficult.

Philippine de Rothschild, Chateau Mouton Rothschild
I work every day to the full, I promote wines. I check that everything is ok with wine and that it stays as it should be. These are my daily duties, and I don’t feel anything about them. I just work. Of course, there is pleasure in it. It is incredible that I own such extraordinary estate. But it needs attention all the time, and I constantly take care of it. I buy new objects for the museum. It is very important, because people visit it. I spend a lot of time.

Etienne Hugel, Hugel & Fils
We try to be one of the established values that everybody refers to when he comes to Alsace wines. To maintain a certain reputation is already difficult enough. Of course, we try to increase the quality of our products because the reputation of any product is only as good as its quality. For us this is a fantastic recognition to be a member of PFV, because it’s by invitation and we know very well that we are not the only possible candidate in Alsace. So we were really touched when our colleagues came to us. It is a recognition that for us is more valued than being 100 points in Wine Spectator. Being recognized by your peers, your colleagues is the most important for us.

Miguel Torres, Torres
We, of course, feel proud and we have a sense of responsibility. I am the fifth generation now. It means many years of history, of hard work and dedication. I have to say I am not exactly like my father, and my father is not exactly like my grandfather. Everybody likes to have their own ideas, although we all share a lot of things. We are here for the next years. We will continue growing and making good quality wines because this is a very important aspect of Torres. We will be focusing more and more on the single vineyards and on better quality wines.

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