Last week, I was very busy with business meals and meetings : 9 business meals and only 5 with Murielle and myself.
The opportunity to talk freely about everything during my meal, and with a smile, even if it is often about serious subjects: trade in Tahiti, sales in China and India, our group of owners in the town of St. Etienne de Lisse, a book on Bordeaux (another one...), Swiss friends looking to buy a property with great potential in Saint Emilion and it is not simple, for they are unfortunately scarce and expensive, other friends lucky to own several beautiful properties in Pomerol and Saint Emilion, but whose notoriety and wines are below their incredible potential. More to follow, even if I reduced my work as a consultant to take care of my business, I can freely make a kind of assessment, and give some advise.
The wines I drank this week are : 3 Bordeaux which costs almost nothing, bottled in the properties by my company in Blaye, Bourg and Lussac, then La Violette 2007 superb (it was shut tight last year), Cheval Blanc 2004 pure elegance next to Valandraud 2004 still hefty, powerful. The 2007 Blanc de Valandraud N°2 which will be renamed Virginie de Valandraud Blanc starting in 2009 or 2010, the N°1 will simply be replaced by Valandraud Blanc.
The whites were still being picked last week, reds will wait until this week.
2010, a year with great potential (again, will tell doomsayers), just a few problems, as usual, maybe a bit more than usual. Waiting for the pips and the skin to ripen has an obvious time discrepancy, in my opinion. Sorting all those damn berries shot by coulure (problem during flowering) on old vine stocks of Merlot.
More sorting and seeds to remove, burned clusters, grapes shriveled either by the sun, or most likely by deficiencies depending on the area, a side-effect of water shortage mostly visible on young vines with real problems depending on the area, there will be again second wines this year.
We will probably have very low yields, regardless of the terroir, (we’re used to it): which should be around 25 hectoliters/hectare (1.4 tons/acre) in top terroir and for 1st wines and 35 hectoliter/hectare (1.95 tons/acre) on 2nd cuvees.
Before being certain, we still have to wait until the grapes are in.
Our balance sheet stops on 08/30, our turnover slightly dropped mainly due to the delivery of the 2007 vintage, with less business than 2006 and, of course, the 2005 vintage!
The next report should be better considering our “order book”. The recurrent problem of a company is not its revenues or profits, but instead the level of its inventory, cash-flow and taxes (in France, small companies pay 33% on their profits, while large and rich groups pay between 8 and 20%. That’s French fiscal equality. This point is currently being studied by the government to help small companies become more competitive, like in Germany).