How Radical Risk-Taking Made Olivier Bernstein One Of Burgundy’s Top Producers

how radical risk taking made olivier bernstein one of burgundys top producers

Olivier Bernstein talks about making wine in Burgundy.

Olivier Bernstein

Olivier Bernstein, owner and winemaker for his eponymous winery, is not from Burgundy; he did not inherit a vineyard and yet, as of now, he owns two of Burgundy’s Grand Cru vineyards (that posses some of the oldest vines in the region) and he can claim worldwide critical acclaim for his wines. So, how did an outsider in Burgundy, a notoriously insular region, manage to elevate his wines into the stratosphere of connoisseurs and collectors in such a dramatically short period of time? He took extraordinary risks and trained his fanatical focus on raw materials.

Bernstein started out pursuing a much less risky career in international management with the TGV, but became increasingly enamored with wine. Realizing that his calling was in the vineyards, he obtained a degree in viticulture and oenology (from a school in Burgundy). At the age of 35, degree in hand, he purchased and began farming 20 acres of old vines in Roussillon. Alas, Burgundy’s compelling and complicated terroir haunted him and in 2007 he made the decision to return to Beaune and try to make wine there.

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