Jestin said he has decided to retire after 35 years of helping to develop Maison Dourthe and Bordeaux in general – from exploring new vineyard management and winemaking techniques to promoting wines on the international stage.
‘Although no longer involved in the day-to-day side of the business, rest assured that I will continue to support the company as both stakeholder and trustee,’ he said.
Dourthe, founded in 1840, has owned fifth growth estate Château Belgrave since 1979 but also has several other properties in its portfolio and manages 500 hectare vineyards across Bordeaux, alongside producing in-house labels such as Dourthe No.1.
It has a strong reputation as a quality wine producer, and recently partnered with Australia’s Penfolds to create Penfolds II using Bordeaux grapes.
Jestin has been a prominent figure during a significant period of change for both Bordeaux wine and the company, although his statement emphasised the strength of the team rather than any individual achievement.
He added that his son, Valentin, has become the Dourthe’s global brand director after working with the group for nearly a decade. Frédéric Bonnaffous has been appointed chief winemaker.
Among other recent developments, Dourthe announced earlier this year that it had acquired Château Le Boscq in St-Estèphe, ranked as Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel. It had managed the property as a ‘tenant’ since 1995, and invested in winemaking improvements at the estate since then.
Last month, Dourthe launched ‘Les Parcellaires’ – three cuvées from specific vineyard sites. They include: ‘The Sémillon 54’ and Cabernet Sauvignon-planted ‘The La Gravière’ plots at Château Rahoul in Graves, plus the Cabernet Franc ‘Peykem’ plot at Château Reysson, a Cru Bourgeois Supérieur.
Only 2,500 bottles of each cuvée have been produced, debuting with the 2020 vintage.
Jestin noted in his retirement statement that a significant new chapter for Dourthe began in 1998, following a management buyout of the company by the Jestin, Chadronnier and Gouvars families.
Since 2007, Arvitis, owned by the Thiénot wine family, has been a major shareholder in Bordeaux companies CVBG, Dourthe and Kressmann, alongside the Chadronnier and Jestin families, Dourthe said.
Jestin said he was confident about Dourthe’s road ahead. The group has a 100-strong team, as well as partner growers – some of whom have been with the group for more than 30 years.