Burgundy Wine Region in France

France is famous for wining and dining. So, it comes as no surprise that some of the most expensive wines globally, come from this country as well. The Burgundy region in eastern France is packed with small picturesque sub-regions, that each produces wine with a unique character.

Burgundy wine cellar France
Burgundy Wine Cellar

Wine Production

Burgundy wine is made mostly from 2 primary grape varietals – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Pinot Noir forms at least 60 percent of the overall production and the chardonnay grape varietal is usually around 37 percent. The remaining is divided among aligoté, gamay, and other grape varietals.

Wine production, primarily, works in three different ways in the Burgundy region – the négociants, the co-operatives, and owners who own both vineyards along with the winery. The négociants purchase grapes, or even wine directly from smaller producers and market these products under their own brand name.

The co-operatives for a closed group of organized grape cultivators who combine their resources to establish a winery for joint use. The last method is less common practice here and is attributed to the higher costs of owning and maintaining vineyards and wineries. 


With a predominantly continental climate, the Burgundy region experiences a very short span of summers and the winters are usually cool. In reality, these are not ideal conditions for grape growth. In addition to this, the frost and hail that comes with the advent of spring can prove to be fatal for flowering vines.

Burgundy France vineyard
Burgundy Vineyard


While the climate might not be favorable at all times, the soil makes up for it. Soil found in the Burgundy region vineyards is rich in minerality and adds extensively to the character of the wine. This is poor soil for most crops but it seems grape vines that struggle produce better wine. Which is probably a strong factor why winemaking is an important tradition for this region. In fact, in July 2015 the patchwork quilt designs of Burgundy vineyards were given the status of being a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Classification of Burgundy Wines

If you are interested in purchasing fine quality Pinot Noir or Chardonnay from Burgundy, then it is important to understand their wine classification,

  • Grand Cru (1%) – these wines are produced from the region’s top plots or climats. Overall, there are more than 30 Grand Crus and 60% of this production is that of Pinot Noir. These wines command unbelievable prices due to their powerful and complex taste.
  • Premier Cru (10%) – there are around 640 Premier Cru climats in Burgundy that produce this classification. These wines are slightly more intense than the Village wines.
  • Village Wines (37%) – the Burgundy region includes nearly 44 villages like Chablis and Macon and these wines are produced here. These wines are named after the towns from which the grapes are sourced.
  • Regional Wines (52%) – these wines are light and lively and are not produced from any set wine region.

Interestingly, Burgundy is not the largest wine-producing region in terms of volumes. However, it is still one that generates truck-loads of revenues in comparison to any other region in the world. This is because of its 1% of Grand Crus that are so exclusive and expensive. It is this 1% that attracts wealthy buyers worldwide who want to have bragging rights that they have some in their cellar.

The History of Château Pétrus and Its Wine Pétrus

Château Pétrus is an 11.4-hectare wine estate located in the Pomerol appellation of Bordeaux, France. Its production of red wine is mainly made from Merlot grapes. The estate is owned by Jean-François Moueix and his children.

While Pétrus is famous as one of the world’s rarest and most expensive wines, it had quite a humble beginning.

Pétrus History

The history of Pétrus is not well documented but records show that it dates all the way back to 1750’s, making it one of Pomerol’s earliest established vineyards.

The name Pétrus comes from the hill of Pétrus, where it is located. However on a more historical note, the property belonged to a Roman named Petrus during the ancient Roman times. This is evident in the wine’s logo which is a Greek counterpart of St. Peter, “Petros”.

Voisin to Loubat and Moueix

Like many of the Bordeaux estates, the then 7-hectare vineyard was sold and resold countlessly over the past years. From Pierre Voisin to the Brilhouets, it was eventually sold to the Arnaud family in 1770. The Arnaud family owned the estate for more than a century. By 1917, they had to sell the property and a shareholding company was setup. In 1923, Madame Loubat, owner of the famed Hotel Loubat in Libourne began to buy the estate shares. Eventually, she became the sole owner of the property in 1945.

During this time, Madame Loubat shared a contract with Jean-Pierre Moueix of the wine making house named Ètablissements Jean-Pierre Moueix. It was their partnership that gave Pétrus its international reputation today.

Ownership Turnover and Expansion

When Madame Loubat passed away in 1961, her niece, Mme Lily Lacoste-Loubat and her nephew, M. Lignac inherited Pétrus. However, she also left a share to Moueix, ensuring his continued influence on the estate and its wines. Three years after Madame Loubat’s passing, M. Lignac sold his share of the Pétrus to Moueix. It was in this year, 1964 that he brought in Jean Claude-Berrouet, who was the winemaker for the whole Moueix portfolio.

In 1969, Moueix added 5 hectares to the once 7-hectare vineyard, vastly increasing its size to 11.4 hectares. After his death in 2003, his son, Jean-François Moueix inherited Pétrus. Meanwhile, his other son took charge of the production. Meanwhile, Olivier Berrouet inherited his father’s place as Pétrus’ winemaker.

Jean-Pierre Moueix was once the owner of Chateau Fonroque in St. Emilion. When he discovered that negociants disliked his wine, he established his very own negotiant company to help sell his own wines. It was out of need that the largest, most important negociant companies for Pomerol was born.

Today, their portfolio boasts of ownership in La Fleur Pétrus, Hosanna, Trotanoy, Latour-Pomerol, La Grave and Lagrange. Pétrus has been described by connoisseurs as having an otherworldy taste. Rich, powerful and concentrated, it has characteristics of truffles, chocolates, Asian spices, and ripe, creamy, black fruits. It’s no wonder a 750mL bottle of this wine costs an average of $2, 630. That is a lot of money for a bottle!

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