Henry Frédéric Roch founded Domaine Prieuré Roch in 1988. Mindful of the wine-making traditions and pedological singularity of the Burgundy terroir, he developed and enhanced the domaine by scrupulously applying the ancestral methods of tending the vines, the vinification , and cellering which have historically made the wines of Burgundy so glorious, methods known today as “organics” and “bio-dynamics”. Becoming co-director of Romanée Conti following the death of his brother Charles, he shares his viticultural vision and his passion of fine wines with Yannick Champ, whom he has nominated co-director of Domaine Prieuré Roch.
The first winery was established…
to handle about seven acres.
As I always plan things
with a generous margin,
it easily held the harvest
from 9 or 10 acres.
the Clos des Corvées
came into our holdings in 1995,
it was not the same thing,
we had to deal with nearly 25 acres.
So it was a bit tight in itself,
it was complicated:
zigzagging around the press alone.
The press was nearly 4 metres long,
and over 2 metres wide.
This made things complicated
accessing the tanks.
Our winery floor at the time…
was in really bad condition.
Cleaning up evenings
we really noticed how bad.
It took us three or four hours to clean,
so we knew
we needed to find other solutions.
We began looking into other places,
right from 1995,
to set up the winery.
First it was the problem
of finding the right land,
finding the right location
for the vineyards during harvest…
So this was a project that matured…
in our minds for over ten years.
So when we finally built it,
all those ideas we had had
were put into place.
It ended up as a modern building.
It is practical.
Very simple, very sober,
with small comforts and facilities:
ice water circulating
in a closed circuit.
This is connected
to cooling jackets on the vats,
in order to control the temperature.
Carbon dioxide lines
in order to inert the tanks…
during the pre-fermentation phase,
all of these are small comforts
but are much appreciated.
Now it takes less than an hour
to clean the winery at night.
That is also a fantastic luxury,
to the extent
that we can even clean it midday.
We can clean between two sessions,
we have the light
to see clearly inside the winery…
This decreases many problems
related to unnecessary fatigue.
It is a rectangular box
which is highly adaptable.
This is also a good idea,
because every year
things are a little different.
We need to adapt,
to question any new winery set-up…
to how the year is planned.
We cannot say every year:
this vineyard’s grapes
will go into a specific tank.
Possibly some will go
for 3 or 4 years in a row,
in the same tank,
But we don’t want to be inflexible…
During the fifth year
we may need to put it into…
either a smaller or a bigger tank.
we must always remain very flexible.