Jonathan Ducourt – Vignobles Ducourt
Photos Jean-Bernard Nadeau – Réalisation Arnaud Fleuri – English Version by Maxine Colas
Jonathan Ducourt was born in 1983 and, after studying Agronomy, I specialized in the wine sector (at the faculty of Oenology at Bordeaux University). My studies were coupled with fieldwork both in Bordeaux and abroad, in Italy, the Napa Valley and New Zealand. I realized that although Bordeaux is really at the cutting edge technically – in terms of vineyard management and wine-making – this is not the case commercially speaking. I discovered wine tourism in Italy, wine tasting clubs in the Napa Valley and found New Zealand and Australia adapting well to the globalization of the market…I returned to France to work in a commercial agent firm in Bordeaux. I managed the Asian market, focusing on China and Hong Kong.
In 2010, my uncle, who was the sales manager for our family business, told me he wished to retire. I jumped at the chance to concentrate on selling only our family wines. It has been two years now, and a real pleasure every day to be working with my family, perpetuating what our ancestors put in place and adding my own contribution.
I also promote Bordeaux wines in general, through my participation in the Planète Bordeaux marketing council, in the Wines of Castillon syndicate and the Côtes de Bordeaux marketing committee. I firmly believe that there is no competition between the industry’s players in Bordeaux and that our strength lies in pooling our resources and actions to reinforce our image.
The Ducourt vineyards
In 1858, our family made its home at Château des Combes, an estate with a few hectares of vines in Ladaux, a small country village south-west of Bordeaux. Over the years, our passion for wine became a professional vocation, and both the ‘savoir-faire’ and the vineyard were successively handed down and expanded. Today, the Ducourt family possesses one of the largest independant vineyard holdings in the region : 440 hectares of vines, spread out over 13 châteaux in the Entre-Deux-Mers and Saint-Emilion appellations, which produce 2.5 million bottles per year.
Each generation has managed to adhere to the philosophy dictated by our elders : to get the best out of each ‘terroir’ through a combination of traditional common sense and current techniques to produce ‘pleasure’ wines which are both authentic and affordable. Respecting the environment and our customers’ expectations is also essential to our work ethic.
Family comes first
You will find one or several members of the Ducourt family at each crucial stage of the wine-making process: my father and my cousin manage the vineyard; my brother is in charge of vinification, blending and bottling; my aunt handles the administrative work and the finances and my uncle is the company manager.
Every one of us has the same goal – to pass on the passion of wine-making to the next generation. Our main strength lies in the fact that we all get on well and enjoy productive, uncomplicated relationships within the family. Furthermore, we are constantly innovating. We were among the first to use Bag in Box packaging, thirty years ago. In the 1990’s we were among the first producers to obtain the ISO 9001 certification, and ours was one of the pilot companies to implement the environmental standard ISO 14 001. More recently, in the past eighteen months, we have been reviving the traditional drink of south west France called “Blanc Limé”, together with La Tupina restaurant in Bordeaux.