Jean Claude and Jean Pierre arrived at a time of great change in the wine business. The Bordeaux wine industry was rocked by the Maison Cruze affair and it was no longer possible to sell wine in bulk. Producers suddenly needed to bottle their own wine and find their own clients. The brothers set themselves two objectives: growing the business by planting vines on all their available land and thereby remaining competitive, and increasing their bottle sales in order to ramp up their margins.
In 1976, they bought up a failing farm which added 3.5 hectares to their land and gave them a welcome new addition to their range: the Lalande de Pomerol appellation.
At the time, it was still relatively easy to build up a client portfolio, as long as you were willing to tour France and find people to taste your wine. This generation suffered their share of drama too, with the severe frosts of 1985. While smaller in geographic scale than the deep freeze of 1956, the damage to the affected areas was still considerable.
It took some 8 to 10 years to fully restore the vineyards to their previous state.
And while this was not easy, it allowed the pair to create regular vineyards with a certified vine density of 5,000 vines per hectare.
This work to upgrade the vineyards came alongside a major effort to modernise the wine cellar and the wine-making installations. One of the lasting effects of this was the decision not to renew their production contract with the Montagne Cooperative, effectively doubling the volume of wine to be produced in individual cellar. To cope with this extra volume, they built a new building to house new stainless steel vats. These brought the total capacity to 6,000hl, and allowed the estate to thermo-regulate the fermentation process. The entire process was updated and upgraded, and this included their work in the vines to improve their yields and the quality of the grapes (green pruning, green harvests and a reduction in the use of chemicals).
With the purchase of a further 2.5 hectares in Montagne Saint Emilion in 2008, they handed the reins to the next generation. The 45 hectare estate they inherited consisted of 21 hectares of Bordeaux Supérieur, 18 hectares of Montagne Saint Emilion, 4.5 hectares of Saint Emilion and 1.5 hectares of Lalande de Pomerol.