Lasting Legacy

The roots run deep with this dynasty of French winemakers

The French wine making dynasty still going strong
The French wine making dynasty still going strong

France is home to some of the world's finest wines. In the Rhone Valley, the Chateau de Beaucastel winery traces its roots all the way back to 1549, when a barn and plot of land were bought by one Pierre de Beaucastel.

The estate now finds itself in the hands of the Perrin family, which has been associated with the estate since the early 20th century, when Pierre Tramier transferred control to his son-in-law, Pierre Perrin, who in turn passed the mantle to his son, Jacques.

Today Jacques' own sons – Jean-Pierre and Francois – work alongside other members of the Perrin family to manage the estate and produce a range of top quality wines.

The concept of "terroir" is hugely important to the family. "Terroir is four things: it's the grapes, it's the soil, it's the weather and it's the man with the habits and the work," Francois Perrin told CNBC's Lasting Legacy.

Jacques Perrin may have passed away in 1978, but his influence is still keenly felt among the family, and a special wine bearing his name has been created in his honor.

One of Jacques' biggest contributions was his decision to steer it in the direction of organic and bio-dynamic farming at a time when many other estates were using pesticides.

"He just went the other way because he had this kind of intuition that using all these pesticides was not a good thing to do," Marc Perrin, Jean-Pierre's son and a member of the fifth generation of Perrins to run the vineyard, said.

"And he was right."

"He was a very visionary man, we are extremely lucky," Marc went on to add.

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"I don't know if he knew he was right, he just did (things) the way he felt, the way he trusted and he happened to have seen things… 20 or 30 years before other people."

With such strong family ties running through the business, could they ever consider letting outsiders in to the decision-making areas of the business? The answer to that question, it seems, is to be pragmatic.

"Up to now we have been very lucky because we have had the sufficient knowledge and people within the family," Marc said. "But if it was not the case anymore, of course we would rather have non-family members which have the capacity rather than family members which (do not have)… the capacity."

Would this mean giving up a share of the business to a non-family member? "We are 100 percent family-owned, so it's never even been discussed to even give one percent outside of the family for shareholding," Marc went on to add.

The Beaucastel estate has been around for centuries, and the Perrins currently involved in its management are well aware that through their efforts today, they are laying the groundwork for tomorrow.

"You don't plant a vineyard for you, you plant a vineyard for the next generation," Francois said. "It's important to know that your work – what you are doing today – is not for you, it's for the next generation," he added.

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