Get the latest Alliance news sent to your inbox - Sign Up to our Newsletter

Olivier Cazenave et Château, France

Growing up in Libourne, it was inevitable that Olivier was to fall in love with the world of wine, but it’s his revolutionary approach to winemaking and desire to break the rules that sets him apart.

Having worked in export sales for a number of negociants, in 1998 he became co-founder and the buyer at ChateauOnline, one of the first e-commerce websites in the wine business. In 2003 he and Anne were married and decided they wanted their own vineyards, as he says: “you would have had to be crazy to buy a property in Bordeaux in 2003” … but that they did. After much searching they discovered a property, whose garden meanders to the bank of the Dordogne, just 5km south of Libourne. At that time the vineyard area totalled 4.5 ha and was planted mainly with Merlot and some old Cabernet Franc. With his father-in-law’s help they bought nearby plots and extended to 8 hectares. The first few years were about slowly replanting and discovering the terroirs and by 2016 all of his vineyards were worked bio-dynamically, with 2019 being the first certified vintage. Because of Olivier’s somewhat “revolutionary” approach to winemaking and love of breaking the rules, in such a traditional region, he created the Bel a Ciao label ... named after a revolutionary song which also features in La Casa de Papel on Netflix (you’ll need to Google it!). Here he produces an exciting Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc orange wine, with grapes sourced from a friend’s vineyard, which by 2021 will be organic.

Viticulture

Since 2016 all of his vineyards on his Libourne estate have been worked bio-dynamically, with 2019 being the first certified vintage. He strives for this in his less conventional projects too, so as from 2021 his orange wine will be certified organic.

Winemaking

“Being a winemaker isn’t only about knowing the vineyard and its growth, the wine and its evolution, or driving a tractor. It’s also about learning to work on your own, when everything goes wrong” … this attitude is very much applied in Olivier’s winemaking. Hands off, allowing the terroir to express itself, whatever the climate or fermentation throws your way. Dynamic, honest and reflective of human skills and ability to know when not to interfere.

Highlights
  • Olivier’s unique, informed yet unconventional approach in this most traditional of regions make him a producer to watch.
  • Immensely characterful, no SO2 added, IGP Atlantique Orange wine.
  • Natural vineyard practices, hands-on approach to ensure the highest quality fruit.