As occupational hazards for the French winemaker go, losing your cellar building to an air compression shock wave caused by a low flying military aircraft is an unlikely one. As this particular aircraft caused the compression wave while manoeuvring to avoid a direct collision, it could have been a whole lot worse. With a near total disaster downgraded to a near miss, the necessity of rebuilding presented Phillipe Teulon in 1994 with the opportunity, albeit far from ideal, to redesign and upgrade. Such a random event could have brought 7 generations of family winemaking to an end but thankfully for all concerned this has passed into family legend rather than forming the basis of any obituary.
Having gained his oenology degree and benefitted from postgraduate experience in France and The Napa valley in California, winemaking at Chateau Vessiere is now in the hands of Vincent Teulon, the 8th generation. Attention to detail is one of the things that Vincent has brought back into the business. When you learn that during the harvest the aim is to have the grapes in the chais within 5 minutes of picking, that white grapes are harvested at night to avoid thermal shock and that all stages of wine making are performed under inert gas to avoid oxidation, you realise that Chateau Vessiere is in good hands. Vincent is also proud of the organic status of the vineyard and is increasingly using practices more often reserved for hard core biodynamism. He is firmly of the opinion that this combination of viticulture and wine making practice results in wines that are very much of grape variety and place. It is not in the least surprising that Vincent's wines are highly rated by the critics and that he has two stars in Guide Hachette.
While Vincent now runs the production, wine making for the Teulons is still very much a family business. Phillipe remains involved and on hand with all his expertise and Vincent's wife Lucie has the responsibility of both their children and the commercial side of the operation. Given the long heritage of winemaking at Chateau Vessiere and the commitment and attention to detail of the current custodians, it is clear that they are all set for what we hope will be many more generations to come.