Jean-Claude Berrouet wins 2018 Winemakers’ Winemaker Award
Jean-Claude Berrouet, the former winemaker at Château Petrus, has been named as the 2018 recipient of the Winemakers’ Winemaker award at a ceremony during ProWein today, where more than 100 distinguished members of the wine trade gathered to celebrate his achievement.
The honour, which has been given annually since 2011 by the Institute of Masters of Wine and the drinks business, recognises outstanding achievement in the field of winemaking. The winner is chosen each year by Master of Wine (MW) winemakers and previous winners of the award.
Berrouet made his name working at Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix, where he was the head winemaker at estates such as Trotanoy, Petrus and also Dominus in California.
Born into the world of wine (Château Samion in Lalande-de-Pomerol is the family estate), as a child Berrouet remembers always being given a small drop of wine in his soup by his grandfather, who was doubtless keen to ensure that the young Jean-Claude would grow up loving wine.
Berrouet joined Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix in 1964, working at Château Magdelaine (an estate he greatly misses since it was merged with Belair-Monange) Trotanoy and Petrus, where he would remain for the next 44 years.
Renowned for his handling of Merlotin particular, Berrouet was also called into to help launch the Moueix family’s Californian venture, Dominus, in 1982, helping to produce its first vintage in 1983.
Although he officially retired in 2007, Berrouet has not stopped making wine by any means. One of his sons, Olivier, has taken over his mantle as director of winemaking at Château Petrus, but with his other son, Jean-François, he not only manages Samion and Montagne-St-Emilion estate Vieux Château St-André, but has been consulting at various properties around the world including in Israel, Argentina, Spain, Portugal and China.
In 2012 he was hired as the consultant winemaker at Twomey Cellars in California, where he was reunited with an old colleague from his days at Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix, Daniel Baron.
In addition to his success in winemaking, Berrouet has been recognised as this year’s winner as he has acted as an inspiration and mentor to many of the MW winemakers and previous winners of the award. They have benefited from his expertise through apprenticeships or working the harvest with him, before going to forge their own careers in winemaking.
Unable to collect his award at the ceremony Berrouet nonetheless commented: “To be recognised by the Institute of Masters of Wine and MWs known across the world for their expertise, is a wonderful tribute. I take great satisfaction from my philosophy of producing classic, traditional wines which have played a major part in the story of the wine regions themselves. Without my wines I am nothing, which is why I am so grateful they too are being recognised.”
Jean-Claude now joins Peter Sisseck (2011), Peter Gago (2012), Paul Draper (2013), Anne-Claude Leflaive (2014), Egon Muller (2015), Alvaro Palacios (2016) and Eben Sadie (2017) as winners of the Winemakers’ Winemaker Award.
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