Bernard Duseigneur is adamant. Being a vigneron is much more than just a career. It’s a calling.
“It’s not a job. It’s a life adventure,” says the former investment banker turned winemaker, who joined his family’s original domaine in 2002.
Duseigneur is actually a fifth generation winemaker. The family had started growing grapes in the 19th century in Algeria before his father returned to France, when the country became independent, and purchased the initial vineyard.
Today Duseigneur makes his wines in Chateauneuf du Pape, on 12 hectares purchased from Domaine Monpertuis in 2013.
When he first joined the business, Duseigneur researched every facet of the industry, tasting far and wide to better understand wine growing. And the more he looked the more he became convinced that the future lay in biodynamic farming.
The Duseigneur family had a long history of growing organically and their domaine was certified as organic in 1998. Says Bernard Duseigneur: “It was just the way we always did things. We never used chemicals or anything, for generations.”
“But going organic doesn’t help you to make better wine,” says Duseigneur, who realized that the biodynamic wines he was tasting just seemed more natural, vibrant and complex than others.
Besides, he observes: “In biodynamic, you’re not sitting at your computer, you’re walking your vineyard, looking at nature, as a way of life, as a whole.”
“It’s important that now we—and the younger generation—have a better understanding of the environment. But the link of healthy soil and wines to terroir means nothing if you are not aware of the biodiversity,” he says.
“It’s key to the mineral element and the biochemical transfer of micro organisms into the feeding process of the plant. After 25 years we have found and now understand the identity that the soil gives the wine.”
Be sure to check out Duseigneur’s certified organic Côtes du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape certified biodynamic wines at the 2020 Vancouver International Wine Festival, February 22-March1, including a first chance to taste the formidable Catarina, Joanne, Le Songe de Catherine, and Catarina Clairette.
@ Vitis Magazine