Become a Bordeaux winemaker with VINIV
When it comes to classic, French, big-bodied vintage reds from Bordeaux, names don’t get much bigger than Lynch-Bages. However, unlike other wine chateaux, Lynch-Bages welcomes visitors and encourages oenophiles to indulge their every fantasy. From tasting, eating, cooking to winemaking, it is all on tap. Their excellence in wine tourism was recognised in November 2015 as Lynch-Bages & Cie were announced as a Global Winner at the Great Wine Capitals 2016 Wine Tourism Awards.
Access to the refined craft of Bordeaux winemaking and to the region’s best vineyards and wineries has historically been limited to those born into a winemaking family or those willing to make significant investments in the purchase of land and facilities – that is until VINIV was born in 2009. Their goal was, and still is, to allow wine enthusiasts to create their own barrels using all of the best appellations in the Bordeaux region. They are continually adding vineyards to their roster in Bordeaux’s most prestigious appellations such as Pauillac, Margaux, Saint Estephe and Saint Emilion. Their latest addition is in Pomerol, with a vineyard belonging to Chateau Clinet.
Commenting on the new additions, Stephen Bolger, Founder and CEO of VINIV, said: “Just the mention of Pomerol evokes scarcity and the best of Bordeaux wines. Working with Château CLINET is a privilege and the perfect response to our most frequent client request of recent years: Can I get access to Merlot from Pomerol for my blend?”
The process of VINIV winemaking typically comprises of six steps:
Step 1 – Introduction
A member of the VINIV team meets with you, either in a face-to-face or virtual setting, to introduce the winemaking process. During this meeting, they explain the journey that lies before you, gauge your desired level of involvement, and answer any questions you may have.
Step 2 – Select Your Vineyards and Varietals
The magic of Bordeaux winemaking comes from the perfect blend of any of the region’s three key varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet France. VINIV works with you to define your wine style, visit the parcels, and select the vineyards and varietals that will make up your initial blend.
Step 3 – Develop and Refine Your Wine Plan
They work closely with you to develop a detailed blueprint that covers the entire winemaking cycle. They will help you understand the process and ensure you are informed of all your options to make the best possible wine.
Step 4 – Participate in the Winemaking Process
The winery, located in the charming village of Bages directly behind Château Lynch-Bages, is your winery. Here, you can enjoy a series of unique experiences, from harvesting your fruit to vinification. They provide you with vineyard updates and you can follow your wine through the fermentation, aging, blending and bottling processes. You participate when and as often as you wish. When you can’t be in Bages in person, VINIV winemaking staff will handle every step.
Step 5 – Finalise Your Wine Blend
During ‘l’assemblage’, you taste your selected blend components and determine if changes are required to further improve your wine’s aromatics, texture and balance. They invite you to do this in Bages with their winemakers. VINIV can also organise off-site final blending sessions or send you your base blend, along with alternatives for comparison.
Step 6 – Design Your Label and Packaging
While your wine is aging in barrel, VINIV turns your attention to the design process and the final personalisation of your wine. This involves selecting your wine’s name and designing a label that is uniquely yours. Their graphic designer is here to guide you in this process and ensure that all legal requirements are met. You will also have the option to personalise your cork and select other packaging options.
The cost to produce one barrel (288 bottles) of wine depends on the vineyards selected for the blend, however a typical barrel ranges from £7000-£15,000. As a VINIV winemaker, members are not only granted access to the private and rarified world of Bordeaux winemaking. In addition to access to first-class resources and facilities, participating in harvest and wine production, custom blending sessions, and personal consultations with some of the world’s most esteemed winemakers, members are encouraged to take advantage of special opportunities designed just for them. These include The VINIV ‘Member Mashup’, tasting events and winemaker dinners, The Medoc Marathon and discounts for members.
There is no need to worry about where to stay – only a ten-minute walk away from the vineyard is the Cazes family-run Relais & Chateaux Cordeillan-Bages hotel, home to legendary two Michelin-starred chef Jean-Luc Rocha. The charming and talented chef has a unique understanding of his current terroir and an incredible ability to match it with the region’s wines, both of which make for unforgettable, delicate and harmonious meals.