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Generational Leadership and Sustainable Practices in French Winemaking: An Ethnographic Story of the Amoreau Family and Chateau Le Puy

Generational Leadership and Sustainable Practices in French Winemaking: An Ethnographic Story of the Amoreau Family and Chateau Le Puy

by Thomas Maier


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This book celebrates the amazing generational leadership legacy of the Bordelaise wine-growing Amoreau family. The story of Château le Puy goes well beyond their winemaking talent. The Amoreau family story provides remarkable lessons in leadership and enterprise management. In this book, Jean Pierre and Pascal Amoreau share their generational leadership styles and approaches through the lens of contemporary leadership philosophy, global enterprise management, and biodiverse viticulture practices found in French gastronomy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524660284
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 02/25/2017
Pages: 108
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.44(d)

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Part 1. French Gastronomy and Wine

French Culture and History of Wine Making

To put into context the nexus of winemaking excellence is to appreciate how the French view food and wine and their linkage to cultural heritage. Not only are the French proud of their gastronomic culture and heritage, French gastronomy and French winemaking in particular have been recognized as part of the world's heritage. In 2010, the Global press publications announced at a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization committee meeting in Nairobi that French food and wine is a traditional cuisine among submissions from twenty-nine countries for the "intangible" heritage. The declaration decried the "Gourmet meal of the French as follows:

"The choice of good products, mainly rural, the assembling of dishes and wines, to embrace the naturalness of French Gastronomy and the diversity of the terroir and products. The uniqueness of French Wine-that is based on French food and wine paring together, are one of the few countries with that fundamental strength."

Of special note in the aforementioned UNWTO declaration is the emphasis on food and wine pairings. So unique to the French culture is the importance of drinking wine with food and eating food with wine.

The naming of wines

Wine is categorized and named in several different ways. For the most part, wines are classified as either red or white and then by the type of grape or varietal from which they are made. In terms of white wines, the grape varietals are Semillion, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling. Red wine grape varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Carmenere. Factors influencing the production of wine are climate, soil, and geography. In France, the personal dedication of its people, her rich history, and her gastronomic tradition combine to make French wines the world's benchmark of quality.

There are several classifications of French wine:

* The top quality wines are identified as Appellation d'Origine Controlée wines, and French law dictates that these wines are made from specific grapes grown on specially pruned and tended vines in a certain area. They are regulated according to alcohol content and the yield per hectare (1hectare=2.47 acres).

* France's better wines are identified as Vins Délimités de Qualité Supérierure (VDQS)

* Less expensive wines are called Vins de Pays, and

* Vins Ordinaires are unclassified wines often blended from different areas. These and the Vins de Pays are the common table wines, easily available and reasonably priced. Historically speaking, the most famous wine growing regions of France and perhaps in the world are Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne.

Bordeaux Heritage-"Wine region of the world"

Approximately 22 miles northeast of the renowned wine-producing region of Bordeaux sits the town of Saint-Émilion. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Saint-Émilion is a medieval village with prehistoric origins. In part due to the UNESCO designation, and centuries of diligent stewardship by the French people, Saint-Émilion retains its medieval charm through architectural and natural wonders. The heart of the village is located on a natural limestone hill, where the Monolithic Cathedral sits atop the town as its crown. The cathedral is one of many Roman influences found in the area. The style of the cathedral is distinctly Romanesque, carved out of rock, and accompanied with Gothic style finishes.

The influence of the Romans in Saint-Émilion cannot be understated. In fact, it was the Romans who established the first vineyards in the region during the 2nd century. While the region prospered due to its pivotal location on an early trade route, one of the most crucial moments in the development of Saint-Émilion was the residency of its namesake monk. In the 8th century, a monk named Emilion inhabited the village, and in appreciation of his years of good works and devotion to God, the town was bestowed the name Saint-Émilion. As the legend of Saint-Émilion suggests, other monks soon followed to the area and put into motion the first commercialization of the wine vineyards. Outside of Bordeaux city center, with its steep, narrow cobblestone streets, are miles of vineyards dotted with historic châteaux around them. The surrounding vineyards of Saint-Émilion and St. Cibard, embody the quintessential, enchanting French viticulture landscape. However, much to the pride of winegrowers in and around the village of Saint-Émilion is their distinctive terroir. The fertile land, quality soil, and temperate climate yield vines that have prompted royalty, wine aficionados, and international consumers to declare Saint-Émilion wine "the king of wines". Living up to this moniker, is the Amoreau family and Château le Puy.

Historically speaking, the gastronomy of Bordeaux can be easily overwhelmed by the great wines of the region. However, regional dishes from Bordeaux, like their wines, are refined and rich in flavor and taste. There is a bountiful supply of market fresh products harvested from the land along with rivers steeped in fish in the Bordeaux region.

In Pauillac, they are known for their extra tender lamb; Agen is looked upon as a first rate vegetable center, while plums are appreciated by everyone in the area. In Saint-Émilion, they produce a unique Duck confit or according to Jean Pierre Amoreau "the best fish in the region" from the Gironde river. Médoc has its tripe, snails, and for Bordelaise entrecote and the now famous Bordelaise sauce made of shallots, claret, butter, beef marrow, tomato sauce, thyme, salt and pepper, with a touch of nutmeg. One would not be surprised to hear of the use of spices in classical recipes and sauces since Bordeaux was traditionally a port where ships of the world unloaded.

Today, Bordeaux is best known for its fine dining restaurants featuring the likes of Périgord black truffles, foie gras, and confit de canard. Michelin Chef Joel Robuchon has recently launched La Grande Maison, a sophisticated mansion with opulently appointed guest rooms accompanying his gourmet restaurant. According to Robuchon, "Bordeaux is rich in natural foods and bountiful ingredients". Whether its Bordeaux oysters from the Bay of Arcachon, freshly grown raspberries and asparagus or milk-fed Pauillac lamb, there is an abundance of natural foods to pair with exceptional wines. Much like his fellow winemakers from the region, Jean Pierre Armoreau's favorite dish is "Lamproie à la bordelaise", an eel-like fish from the Gironde estuary. It's slow-cooked in red wine and seasonal vegetables, with veal bone and Bayonne bacon from the Basque Country.

While Bordelaise cuisine is unique to its regional terroir, Bordeaux is best known for its wines and vineyards. The major reason for successful winemaking in the Bordeaux region has been and remains the excellent environment for growing vines. The geological foundation of the region is limestone, leading to a soil structure that is heavy in calcium. The Gironde estuary dominates the region alongside its tributaries, rivers, and the ever-changing Atlantic-oceanic climate. To the French, the concept of terroir plays an instrumental role in wine production and various viticulture practices with top wine producers creating wines that reflect the place they are from, down to the specific plot or hectare. What is unique about Bordeaux is soil, delicately composed of gravel, sandy gravel, stone, and clay.

The Bordeaux wine region dates back to the ancient Romans who were the first to cultivate, plant vines and produce Bordeaux wine. At the time, the Bordeaux region was perfect for cultivating grapes made for wine. The unique soil and growing conditions offered winemakers the ideal conditions to raise vines. Once the wines were made, easy access to the Gironde River provided a viable shipping platform for distributing wines all over Europe. In the 1300's, Saint-Émilion wines were among the first Bordeaux wines to be exported to England for the enjoyment of King Edward I, forever establishing their reputation for quality. The Brits believed if the French wine was good enough for their king it was certainly good enough for them. Thus, the connection of the Bordeaux wine trade to England.

The English were not the only country that has been linked to the Bordelaise region. The Dutch came to know Bordeaux through their involvement in building roads and expanding the transportation networks associated with the newly found wine trade throughout the region. Having discovered the quality wines of Bordeaux, the Dutch became major purchasers and consumers of French wine. That in itself led Dutch engineers to the idea of draining the swamp and marsh lands of Bordeaux, paving the way for more available land for wine crops. By the 1600's, the emergence of brand names such as; Haut Brion, Margaux, Lafite and Latour became the wine of choice for discerning consumers throughout the world. Bordeaux was now on the map as one of the premiere wine growing regions of the world.

In the 1700's, appellation boundaries (specific plots of land) were mapped. The collective Bordelaise areas were known as the Vignoble de Bordeaux. Consequently, wines began to be sold by the regional designation and area where the wine was produced. Consumers soon began to purchase wines from their favorite appellations and began learning the similarities and differences between the wines and wineries in each appellation. At the time, several well-off Bordelaise land owners and members of the royal family began building magnificent châteaux and estate vineyards such as: Nicolas Alexandre and Marquis de Segur. In fact, they counted numerous Chateaus among their real estate portfolios in the Medoc appellation of Bordeaux.

The Medoc region of Bordeaux has long been associated with the rich and powerful, a land of fairytale castles, medieval villages, châteaux and rolling hills of vineyards. The Bordelaise region was and remains a special place for royals with noble bloodlines and a penchant for a life of luxury. They had both the vision and finances to create one of the worlds premiere wine regions. It was not long before Bordeaux wine was popular with royalty all over the world.

At the time, unique to the Aquitaine wine region was the onset of the negociant; negociants were brought into the wine trade by Chateau owners in order to sell their wine. For Chateau owners, dealing directly with the consumer would seem to be goush, hence the need for an intermediary to interact with the commoner. Negociants satisfied a need for Chateau owners and were able to prosper through advance purchase of wine before bottling and resale to the market. In some cases, negociants became so powerful they were able to finance banking needs for Chateau owners. Consequently, Bordeaux became the only wine producing region where customers never had direct interaction with the Chateau and their owners.

The Bordeaux wine region is segmented into several micro-regions including Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Médoc, and Graves. There are four different classifications of Bordeaux, covering different parts of the region. The wines of Bordeaux are varied and are produced in a myriad of styles from a divergent range of terriors and soils. For simplicity, it's easy to divide the wines of Bordeaux into 3 main regions. The Left Bank, or Medoc, which consists of Pauillac, St. Julien, Margaux, Saint Estephe and Haut Medoc. The wines of the Medoc are what many consumers think of first when discussing Bordeaux wine. They are Cabernet Sauvignon based and are among the world's finest red wines built to age. Bordeaux wines from the Left Bank are always blends and depending on the style of wine the producer wants, as well as their terroir, the blends consist of Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Malbec.

In 1855, select Bordeaux wine growers embarked upon a significant marketing designation. They classified only a handful of estate grown wines as first growths. Since it was the first classification of its kind in the wine trade, Bordeaux wine rapidly became an international marketing phenomenon. Demand for first classified Bordeaux wines increased significantly driving prices upward.

The Bordeaux classification of 1855 covering (with one exception) red wines of Médoc and sweet wines of Sauternes Barsac. The 1955 classification of Saint-Émilion, which was updated approximately once every ten years, the last in 2006. The 1959 classification of Graves 1959 initially classified in 1953 and was revised in 1959. The Cru Bourgeois classification, which began as an unofficial classification, but came to enjoy official status, was last updated in 2003. However, after various legal turns, the classification was annulled in 2007. As of 2007, plans exist to revive it as an unofficial classification. The famous first-growth red wines from the Bordeaux region are considered some of the most expensive wines in the world. The first-growth wines are:

* Chateau Lafite Rothschild

* Chateau Marguaux

* Chateau Latour

* Chateau Haut-Brion

* Chateau Mouton Rothschild

In Bordeaux, the most popular grape varietals remain Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Pauillac is home to 3 of the 5 First Growths, Chateau Latour, Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Chateau Margaux, located in the Medoc appellation is from Margaux. The wines of the Medoc usually display cassis flavors and when aged, take on tobacco and truffle characteristics.


Merlot is one of the most widely planted grapevariety in Bordeaux due to its early ripening properties. It performs well in cooler soils, producing wines with vibrant color, roasted fragrances, and flavors evocative of redfruit (such as plums) and figs.

Cabernet Sauvignon

The gravely soil associated with the left bank of Bordeaux provides the required temperature for ideal ripening of this typically late ripening grape. Known for its structural prowess, Cabernet sauvignon boasts hearty tannins and flavor components of blackened fruit and berries.

Cabernet Franc

The perfect complimentary grape varietal for blending, Cabernet Franc adds freshness, style, and perfume-scented fragrance that blends well with other primary grape varietals.

Sauvignon Blanc

Typically associated with dry white wines, Sauvignon Blanc, brings the required necessary acidity, minerality and citrus aromas.


When it comes to less-sweet white wines Semillon brings a balanced, rich apricot and honey fragrance with a rich, pleasurable bouquet.


As a secondary blending grape, Muscadelle compliments both dry and sweet white wines with musky flowery overtones.

Geographically speaking, the right bank of Bordeaux consists of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion. In the right bank, Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the dominant grapes from these regions. In the best vintages from the Côtes de Francs appellation, the wines of Château le Puy, rival the best of wines produced in the Bordelaise region, offering rich forest flavors; dominated by ripe red fruit aromas and a full bodied palate that reflect velvety tannins. Château le Puy is one of the finest wines of Saint-Émilion benefiting from centuries of generational winemaking expertise and bio-dynamic practices unique to the Amoreau family.

Today, Bordeaux wines and Château le Puy in particular, remain the world's most popular and sought after wines. Often, Bordeaux wines are the number one wines purchased by collectors for cellaring all over the world. Bordeaux wine dominates the auction sales market. Château le Puy is classified in the Côtes de Francs appellation. The Côtes de Francs is located on the limestone plateau of the terroir of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. The altitude is 110 meters, while Saint-Émilion and Pomerol 46 meters to 9 meters. This difference in altitude allows the vines to have a more temperate climate than 2° Celsius lower than those of Saint-Émilion and Pomerol.

The climate is sunny, warm and dry. It is milder than in the other two names. The wines are thinner, less spirity with natural acidity underpinned. The wines age better and longer. Moreover soils of Saint-Émilion and Pomerol are mainly clay, gravel and stony. The Côtes de Francs soils are silty clay and clay-sand-lime on clay and limestone base. This feature gives the wine more structure and winemakers do not need to use new barrels to flavor wines. The tannins of the grapes enough to structure the wine. According to Jean Pierre Amoreau, historically speaking:

"the wines from the terroir of Côtes de Francs served as wine doctor in the last century. They were purchased primarily by professionals from Saint-Émilion to improve their wines. The reputation of the wines of Saint-Émilion were made thanks to the contribution of the qualities of the wines of the Côtes de Francs. That is why the Côtes de Francs are not known nor recognized. This practice is now prohibited and the wines of the Côtes de Francs are sold directly and are increasingly recognized".


Excerpted from "Generational Leadership and Sustainable Practices in French Winemaking"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Thomas A. Maier Ph.D..
Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

Preface, vii,
Introduction, xi,
Part 1. French Gastronomy and Wine, 3,
French Culture and History of Wine Making, 3,
Bordeaux Heritage-"Wine region of the world", 5,
Bordeaux Grapes, 11,
The Terroir of Château le Puy, 14,
Profile of Château le Puy Grapes, 19,
Family Tradition, 28,
Seasonal Food and Wine Pairing, 35,
Part 2. Château le Puy-Winemaking Fundamentals, 37,
Wines of Château le Puy, 37,
Food and Wine Harmony, 41,
The Sommelier, 43,
Seasonal Food and Wine Pairing, 46,
Part 3. Amoreau Generational Leadership Profile, 47,
Leadership Styles and the Winemaking Enterprise, 52,
Innovation and Wine development, 67,
Seasonal Food and Wine Pairing, 72,
Part 4. Amoreau Sustainability Practices, 74,
Land, 74,
Generational Legacy, 79,
Enterprise Management, 90,
Château le Puy-Systems Perspective and Customer Relationship Management, 92,
Seasonal Food and Wine Pairing, 94,

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