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Home > News > Coverages > Major renovations at Château de Barbe Blanche in time for the 2014 vintage
19 Nov 2014

Major renovations at Château de Barbe Blanche in time for the 2014 vintage

An in-depth renovation took place at Château de Barbe Blanche in the Lussac Saint-Émilion appellation in preparation for the 2014 harvest. The vat room was modernised, a new grape reception area built, and a new grape sorting system introduced...  The purpose of this project was to enhance the winemaking facilities in the framework of our Environmental Management System , to reduce energy consumption, to improve working conditions and, above all, to participate in our ongoing quest for maximum quality.

Work began in spring 2014...

Cuvier Château de Barbe Blanche

Seeing as the electrical system was seriously in need of updating, it was decided in late 2013 to take advantage of this opportunity to completely renew the vat room at Château de Barbe Blanche.

Work began on the 2nd of April 2014, with the imperious necessity of finishing everything by late August in time for the 2014 vintage! The 18 vats were moved.

 The building's 700 m² concrete floor was entirely demolished, during which time a few bad surprises (such as load-bearing concrete beams) were discovered that increased the cost as well as causing delays.  However, it took more than that to stymie the 8 local firms working together on the project.

Our entire technical team was involved in this effort, which also provided an opportunity to rethink and reorganise winemaking: the grape reception system, temperature control, etc.

The final result is quite successful, both aesthetically and in practical terms.

The highlights of this metamorphosis :

  • the concrete floor is now entirely covered with tiles, which facilitates cleanliness and upkeep
  • a spacious technical area was created behind the cellar with an improved platform for receiving grapes
  • a wider entrance now provides for a greater work area. This is not only more practical for workers, but also makes it possible to welcome groups of visitors (a growth in wine tourism is expected)
  • a new temperature-control system
  • reinforced ceiling insulation
  • better extraction for CO²
  • improved working conditions for all employees (new toilets including ones for the disabled and transformation of the workshop/storage area into new changing rooms with showers as well as an area set aside for plant protection products).

The total cost amounted to 860 000 euros: 800,000 euros for the building materials, labour, and monitoring by Bureau Véritas, as well as 60,000 euros for new equipment. Vignobles André Lurton obtained financial support from FranceAgriMer since this project is perfectly in line with their policy of encouraging reduced energy consumption and improving working conditions in agriculture. 

These improvements mean that Château de Barbe Blanche is now fully able to comply with modern regulations in terms of environmental protection (thanks to greater energy saving) and safety.

The construction work was finished on time and the 2014 vintage took place in a great new facility. Next steps: renovation of the grape reception area outer courtyard planned for the end of the year, and modernisation of the barrel cellar in 2015...

The Delta Rflow: a very effective new grape sorting system...

Another innovation in the 2014 vintage was a new Delta Rflow system that not only sorts the grapes, but also drains them. It operates on the following way:

  • 1st step: The grapes are put onto the vibrating table where all water, undesirable juice, and loose seeds are rejected.
  • 2nd step: The grapes then go onto an extremely fast-moving conveyor belt and pass underneath an air jet (which can be regulated and positioned according to the sorting parameters)). According to the setting, any MOG (matter other than grapes) is eliminated: leaves, petioles, aborted berries, crushed skins, stems, and small dry grapes.
  • 3rd step: only grapes in good condition are retained and go to be pressed. 

This new machine is very important for Château de Barbe Blanche and symbolises a major new effort in the estate's ongoing quest for quality.