Passing the torch from one generation to another


Blood and wine intermingled in this session moderated by Fiona Morrison MW - Co-chairman of Forging Links - as two generations of three great winemaking families shared their experiences of succession. In the wine business, especially in the production of wine, it is quite usual to see one generation inherit the responsibilities and roles from the previous one. This can be within a family ownership as at Torres in Spain or within a winemaking context as is the case for the Delmas and Berrouet families in Bordeaux. Six outstanding personalities in the wine business, Jean-Bernard Delmas, Jean-Philippe Delmas, Miguel Torres, Mireia Torres, Olivier Berrouet, Jean-Claude Berrouet, took the stage to explore the challenges, adventures and shared experiences of passing the torch from one generation to another. Each talked about their education and their career paths in preparing for their positions. They explored the context of wine and the state of the wine business when they began, together with more wide-reaching issues including how important family connections are in wine, whether it is easier to make wine today with all the technological advances at our disposal and how the wine business has evolved. The lively discussion was followed by a question and answer session as delegates took full advantage of the opportunity to hear first-hand the views of the distinguished panellists.

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Moderator Fiona Morrison Fiona Morrison MW has over 25 years of experience in fine wine in Europe and the USA. A winner of numerous awards for her wine journalism, she is a former head of external relations for the CIVB. Since marrying Belgian négociant and Le Pin owner Jacques Thienpont in 1997, she divides her time between Belgium and Pomerol.
Panel Jean-Claude Berrouet
Jean-Claude Berrouet oversaw 44 vintages as technical director of Ets. J-P Moueix before retiring in 2007 to focus on his family wineries.
  Olivier Berrouet
Olivier Berrouet succeeded his father as winemaker at Pétrus, having previously worked with Pierre Lurton at Cheval Blanc.
  Jean-Bernard Delmas
Jean-Bernard Delmas was born at Château Haut-Brion and succeeded his father as estate manager there in 1961. He retired in 2003 and was succeeded by his son. He has managed Château Montrose since 2006 when it changed hands.
  Jean-Philippe Delmas
Jean-Philippe Delmas is the third Delmas to hold the post of estate Manager at Château Haut-Brion since 1923.
  Miguel Torres
Miguel Torres, president and managing director of Bodegas Torres, is a member of the fourth generation of this family business.
  Mireia Torres Mireia Torres is technical director of Torres, and is one of the fifth generation of the family whose wine interests include vineyards in Catalonia, Chile and California.



The six panellists of this session comprise three father and child pairs; Jean-Bernard and Jean-Philippe Delmas (Château Haut Brion), Miguel and Mireia Torres (Bodegas Torres) and Jean-Claude and Olivier Berrouet (Pétrus). When Jacques Lurton and Fiona Morrison MW put together the programme for the Forging Links Symposium, they wanted delegates to have a chance to meet some of the most inspirational characters from Bordeaux and Spain. This was a never before held chance to meet some of the key people in the fine wine world and understand how knowledge is passed from one generation to another and how was wine was made in the past and today. This session comprises anecdotes, history, winemaking, research, humour and evident love and respect of one generation for another.



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