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Laurent Delaunay


Hilde Chevillot


Born in Burgundy, the fifth generation of a family of Burgundy wine producers and traders, Laurent Delaunay found a new homeland in the Languedoc.

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Now aged 47, has he ever considered doing anything other than making wine? "One of my childhood memories is of my father and grandfather tasting wine" he says "They used to lock themselves away in what they referred to as their tasting office. I was fascinated."

Having taken part in the harvests as a teenager - he still has a great interest in vineyard work - he went on to study viticulture in Beaune then oenoloy in Dijon, after which he obtained a graduate diploma from the ESSEC business school.  The path forward was marked out.  Laurent then travelled for a time and spent a few months working on a wine estate in California.  He and his wife Catherine, also an oenologist, fell in love with the Languedoc 20 years ago. They picked up on the transformation taking place in this wine region. No longer tied down following the sale of the family estate, Laurent started out by launching a range of varietal wines, Les Jamelles, which quickly became a success.  He grew the business in 2005 when he took over the Abbotts wine company, with which he associated his name.  "We favour a resolutely high-end approach. In the Languedoc, you can get two different wines from the same vineyard plot. Probably more than anywhere else, quality can be influenced by vinification and ageing."  

Passionate about wine, conscientious and perfectionist, Laurent always strives to bring out the very best in his wines.

After acquiring more than fifteen years of experience at prestigious estates, Hilde is now our winemaker, vinifying the grapes after allowing them to macerate at length, and patiently overseeing the ageing of the wines at our winery in Marseillette, on the banks of the Canal du Midi in southern France.

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Since she was born, Hilde has more or less been exposed to the world of wine. Her oldest memory is one of her maternal grandfather who was in charge of printing labels for a wine merchant. He would give her the scrap paper that she would use for her drawings as a little girl. He would welcome people into his home, greeting them with "Come in, there is wine on the table!” That expression would certainly influence her! Hilde's parents were lovers of wine and they took Hilde with them from their native Belgium to explore the great winegrowing regions: Germany, Alsace, Burgundy, the Rhone Valley, Languedoc-Roussillon... already tracing the path that would one day lead her to the south of France!

She decided to study Agronomy, specializing in Fermentation Processes at the University of Ghent, after which she went on to obtain her National Oenologist's Diploma and Masters degree in Viticulture at ENSA in Montpellier.

She started her career as a winemaker in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where she learned to vinify high-end wines, then she went to Chile where she "worked on perfecting excellence” for Lafite Rothschild, at their Los Vascos estate.

Back in France, she took over the management of 3,300 hectares of vines for a large wine cooperative in the Aude department of the Languedoc. That is where she was finally able to put all of her know-how to the test. "Each plot has its potential, you just have to discover it and bring it to the forefront... That has become my specialty: studying vineyards and understanding how to bring out the best each plot has to offer.”

In 2008, the House of Baron Philippe de Rothschild in Pauillac put her in charge of overseeing operations in the vineyards and at the winery. She sought out the optimal plots for the production of the company's different brands, and with her selection of grapes from 1,300 hectares of vines, she customized the vinification process for each wine.

But she missed the Languedoc... and so Hilde came back to join Abbotts & Delaunay in 2013. This is where she flourishes in what she knows how to do best: watch over the vines and the wines as she would her own children, by combing the vineyards in order to get to know each of the plots, figuring out their potential and managing to bring out the best of each one.

"The patchwork quilt that is made up of the Languedoc region's varied terroirs is the playing field that I like best of all. Scouting out the ideal terroir, and adapting vinification techniques and ageing methods so as to respect the character of each appellation, there's nothing I love doing more!”

Abbotts et Delaunay
32, avenue du Languedoc  MARSEILLETTE  France
P:+33 (0)4 68 79 00 00