BARRICAS / BARRILES DE ROBLE / BARRICAS DE MADERA
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
The winemaker, photographed last year in Bordeaux during the presentation of Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute. / Pierre Andrieu (AFP)
He likes business, land, music, art, vine, wine and life. And olives. This latest passion is recent, supervening as love at first sight in Catalonia, while he was looking for a farm in the Priory. From there he took Bernard Magrez an old ancient tree to replant their land in Bordeaux. Perhaps the first witness to the search for immortality of this great vineyard owner. "At 76 years, never have enough time. I have hurry to do good, give back some of what life has given me, "said Magrez, Mr. and philosopher, in his original farm Pape Clément (have other 39), grand cru appellation of Graves, whose vineyards are perfectly aligned resist the urbanization of the city of Bordeaux.
Three flags restallan the wind above the entrance. The first contains the weapons of the master of the house, "the crossed keys of excellence on burgundy background." The second, "a papal tiara and keys of St. Peter", in honor of the sovereign pontiff Clement V, founder of the vineyard in the fourteenth century. The third, the blazon of Morbihan, a reference to the parental origins. "I never expressed the slightest tenderness", criticizes, but he was my father. I constantly told was useless. And put it in writing, I carried a label attached with a safety pin to the back to school. I sent an apprentice, with 13 years at an establishment specializing in Luchon. I learned forestry, some botanical and craft of sawing wood. There was another bad guy like me whose name was François Pinault . He has done no wrong. If my father could see me now, would be astonished and proud. Or so I hope. "
The "rogue" trader was welcomed at Jean Cordier, then owner of the vineyards charismatic Talbot and Gruaud Larose. From errand boy, ie simple messenger, went to take charge of a small shop that sold declining port. The company became a huge. It was the early sixties and a commercial revolution born in the U.S. was about to reach Europe: hypermarkets. The first Carrefour opened in 1963. "It was in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois," recalls Magrez, who knocked in large stores as they were established. "Every city wanted a. He had to run to supply the whole world. "
Besides port, rum Magrez proposed. Then punch, tequila and, finally, a whiskey, he called William Peel. "It was the best idea of my life," he explains. "He started with a simple concept: France is the top consumer of Scotch whiskey in the world. I decided to work product quality, the shape of the bottle, the label, and I thought a good selling price. " For 15 years it was the market leader.
"The culture with an eye toward others is the only thing left to face challenge when you have won everything"
Also bought Sidi Brahim, a Moroccan wine label and created Malesan, a Bordeaux wine brand (12 million bottles a year). "During the first six years I was on the verge of ruin. He worked like a slave. I played it all. Always double or nothing. He never slept more than five hours, and many or sleep. He had cold sweats. I pursued the same nightmare: I saw in the Commercial Court by depositing the balance. Then, everything went so fast ... ". Thus came the fortune, career. In 2004, he sold all the Castel group to pursue the great wines. They were smaller amounts, but it acquired farms were classified, and the regions selected. "Pape Clément belonged to a family of Versailles," he says, "and my father had a minority stake. First I bought that part, and then the rest to the owner. " Magrez owns 40 vineyards today. And a private plane to visit. Besides Pape Clément, their star labels are La Tour Carnet , Fombrauge , Les Grands Chenes and Poumey. In addition, several wines in Côtes-de-Bourg, Côtes de Blaye, Languedoc and Provence, and others in Spain, California, Morocco, Uruguay, Argentina, Japan, Chile. In total, 850 hectares of vineyards. Of these, 290, premier cru and grand cru. "I'm not a collector of vineyards," he says, "I just came pursue adventure. 15 years ago, people remained attached to a single wine, always the same. It varied little. Today goes in search of new emotions. And I do not do more to respond to consumer demand. Forty vineyards: 40 different emotions. "
All bear his signature, imposed as mark of quality. When lands in a new company, its reputation for devouring ogre raises prices. "Every meeting we have in the negotiating process 500,000 euros cost me more," he admits. Magrez makes every effort to keep the business, but if it fails, move to another subject without any bitterness. And again lie in wait. "Ideas are always lurking. When you are your own boss and owns 100% stake in your company, making decisions alone and often goes too fast for others. Others are rather frightening and which put the brakes ".
Magrez read everything that is written about the business world and loves the stories of winners: "There is always an idea to borrow." He also loves to press and bankers. The press because, by dint of talking about a product or a person settles his image in the public mind: repetition equals reputation. And the bankers, because they have always trusted him. "When I started in 1962," he recalls, "there were many who turned a blind eye if I could not meet a deadline."
The serenity came with age. "The vital achievements are measured by what you give," he repeats. After having collected vintage cars, bronzes and Flemish paintings (flowers and still lifes of the XVI and XVII), joined with passion patronage. He bought 2.2 million-euros-a stradivarius who baptized Fombrauge (one of its grands crus of Saint-Émilion) and entrusted the French virtuoso Matthieu Arama , soloist of the orchestra of Bordeaux. "There is only one hundred stradivarius traveling the world. The majority belong to foundations. The other, between 300 and 400, always sleep in safes and do not touch ever. A waste! "Why muzzle the nightingales? And from there, to a sponsorship covering environmental protection, medical research (oncology, cardiology) and the arts. For them founded the Bernard Magrez Cultural Institute , which is responsible for promoting artists. "It leaves a permanent footprint with a foundation in business success. Culture with an eye toward others is the only remaining challenge to be faced when he has earned it. "