Christophe Cabanieu

Cellar Worker
Château d’Yquem

My Métier d’Excellence

I contribute to the vinification of wines at Château d’Yquem through my work with the barrels. When the grapes arrive in the “chai”, the barrel room, for pressing, I prepare the barrels to be filled with the musts. Once the alcoholic fermentation is completed, the ageing of the wine begins and my work with the barrels continues until the wine is bottled.  

The most important things you need for this métier

I like work well done, so I think you need to be very demanding, methodical and rigorous in your work, because the final quality of the wines depends a lot on what we do.  

My background

It’s actually rather atypical. I got a vocational degree in cabinet-making but it wasn’t that easy to find a job in the field, so for two years I worked picking grapes at Château d’Yquem during the harvest, and that’s how I joined the Maison. But in fact my ties with Château d’Yquem go back a lot further: my family has been working there for six generations! I learned the métier from people with years of experience at the Maison who passed on their knowledge to me. I also added to my know-how by taking continuing education classes in oenology at the university in Bordeaux.  

Passing on the métier to new generations

I’m very proud to be able to pass on the skills of this métier to young generations, the same way I learned. While techniques of course evolve, there are a lot of winemaking skills specific to Château d’Yquem that have been passed on for generations. These are things you can’t learn at school, so I have a responsibility to pass them on in order to preserve them. All the interns at the Maison spend some time with me to learn about the work we do with the barrels.