Introducing Winemaker Gavin Quinney
A brief period of rain brought on temporary fears of damaged crops, but finally this year’s excellent harvest has been picked and crushed.While the harvest is a huge part of everyone’s lives in Bordeaux, it is especially important for Gavin Quinney, owner of and winemaker at Château Baduc. In anticipation of the live Q&A chat he will host on Monday, we caught up with him to find out a little more about what drew him to his profession of 16 years.
BDX: How did you get into winemaking?
GQ: In my 20s and early 30s, I was mildly obsessed with wine – tasting, drinking, listening, learning – but I wasn’t in the wine business. When I left my job running the sales side of a computer business, I wondered whether I could make a career of it. I also loved visited vineyards and sort of got hooked on wine regions and all that they have to offer. I came to Vinexpo, the big trade fair in Bordeaux, in 1999. (It just so happens that my wife and I had sold our home in London, and were about to move into a house with our two small children. Dangerous…)
The sun was shining, it”s a lovely region, great city, near the sea, and so on, and I came to this beautiful château to taste the wine. When the owner told me he was selling the estate to a local buyer, I gently enquired as to how much for. I ended up staying for several hours and called my wife Angela the next morning.
“What do you think about moving to France?” I said.
“Sure, it could be fun,” she replied.
“That”s great. Because I”ve just bought a Château.”
BDX: What is a fond memory you have of your time as a winemaker?
GQ: We’ve been hailed on twice, which wasn”t in the script, in May 2009 and then again in August 2013. We lost a lot of the crop – over half – on each occasion. The response and support we got from our customers was extraordinary and, quite truthfully, gave us the drive to pick ourselves up and carry on.
BDX: What is your favorite wine to celebrate the holidays with?
GQ: We’re more than happy drinking our own white wines and rosé anytime, and our red as an everyday wine, but Bordeaux has such a wealth of fabulous red wines. I”d probably head for a lovely Pomerol, St-Emilion, Margaux, St-Julien, St-Estephe or Pauillac if the budget allows. And always a Sauternes or Barsac. Oh, and a lovely fizz from Champagne or from England. We”ve just made our first sparkling Crémant de Bordeaux here, but it”s not ready yet.
BDX: What is the most fulfilling part of your job?
GQ: A successful harvest. There’s a lot more to it than just picking the grapes. And when people, unprompted, say nice things about your work, whatever it may be. And I love exploring other wines from the region, and learning about what”s happening in the vineyard. It”s different from year to year, and from one place to another.
BDX: What do you do in your free time?
GQ: I cook quite a lot. I walk our three dogs around the vineyard (they”re called Margaux, Palmer and Pavie) and we live with our four children at home, although the eldest has now gone to university in England. I often go and look at other vineyards, visit châteaux and taste wine. And I watch what [Americans] call soccer. The English Premiership version. My family thinks I spend quite a bit of time on Twitter, Instagram and so on – mostly talking with others about wine, vines and stuff, of course.
Follow us on Twitter to tune in to our live Q&A with Gavin on Monday, Nov. 2 at 12:30 p.m. EST and submit all your harvest questions using #AskBordeaux.