Laithwaite - how Tony Laithwaite built a wine empire
The secret of successful wine making

The secret of successful wine making

Admitting that someone else could probably do the job better is one of Tony Laithwaite's strengths.

'Not everyone's a genuis wine maker' he says.

Finding himself in that category, he experimented by bringing over Australian wine makers to work in France during their off season.

"They would come over for the harvest and we put them in places the French thought could not produce good wines because it wasn’t a certain way or in a certain place." He says.

"The Australian’s came over and said ‘this is bollocks, these grapes are fantastic’ so we just let them lose. The first one was in an obscure little village called Saint Vivien in the Dordogne." he explains,

"They’d never done anything and the guy who ran the cellar there was an open-spirited and generous sort, he said 'yes, give us one of these Australians and we’ll see what he can do'. He was amazed."

The Australian wine makers supassed expectation. "The first year was great and the second year was fantastic." Tony says, still with obvious relish.

The little Aussie experiment even started to make waves in respected competitions.

"I don’t think the judges even knew where Saint Vivien was, they would have assumed it was in Burgundy. Now-a-days you aren’t that surprised to see great wines coming out of the Dordogne region but back then a white wine from there was unheard of."

Image: Le Chai au Quai vineyards in Bordeaux, France

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