Find out how French rugby star Gérard Bertrand built a great wine business

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The work ethic and determination that made Gérard Bertrand, 58, a former French rugby international, has also helped him build one of the largest and most influential wine companies in France.

As a young man, he learned the basics of his father’s Villemajou estate in Boutenac, in the Corbières, Languedoc, before leaving for a bachelor’s degree in business administration and sport in Toulouse.

Winemaker Gérard Bertrand

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Winemaker Gérard BertrandCredit: AFP-Getty
In 2002 he began to revolutionize his growing portfolio of wineries

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In 2002 he began to revolutionize his growing portfolio of wineriesCredit: AFP-Getty

But in 1987, after the tragic accidental death of his father, Gérard returned to take up the family torch at the Domaine de Villemajou.

Totally immersed in the profession, in 1992 he created the Gérard Bertrand wine company in order to develop a range of wines from his beloved Languedoc and Roussillon in the south of France.

Bertrand was convinced very early on that viticulture, in harmony with nature, was the best way to reveal the qualities and typicality of a terroir and to produce great wines.

In 2002, he began to revolutionize his growing portfolio of vineyards by introducing the principle of biodynamics at his Cigalus estate.

Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological and ethical approach to agriculture, gardening, food and nutrition. Bertrand pioneered this natural approach in his vineyards to produce exceptional fruit that helps him craft amazing wines.

With 16 vineyards now under his ownership or control, Bertrand continues his quest to cultivate the best terroirs in Languedoc, then tell their story to the rest of the world.

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Now O’Briens Wine, which exclusively distributes much of the extensive Bertrand range in Ireland, is hosting a virtual tasting with this iconic winemaker on March 24. An event you will miss at your own risk.

Bertrand will join O’Briens Wine Director, Master of Wine Lynne Coyle, to guide you through a special case of tasting from the South of France.

It includes a bottle of Gérard Bertrand Cote des Roses 2021 (rrp €18.95), Gérard Bertrand Orange Gold (rrp €21.95), Gérard Bertrand Domaine de Villemajou (rrp €20.95) and Gérard Bertrand Cigalus (rrp 39 €.95). Total value: €101.81.

But this special and highly anticipated virtual tasting will only cost you €80 – including a tasting sheet and free wine delivery. A total bargain.

Go online now to obrienswine.fr and reserve your place, there are limited places left. The Monday before the event, you will receive a zoom link to the tasting.

If you can’t make it at night, don’t worry, O’Briens Wine will send you a link to the video and you can watch and join as you please.

ROSSO DI MONTALCINO, MASTROIANNI (ABV 14 PER CENT)

€34.95 rrp @ independent vouchers

THE pinnacle of Sangiovese production.

This fully matured wine with a brilliant ruby ​​color has a wonderful richness, evidently aided by its aging for up to seven months in large French oak barrels and another three in bottle before release.

Rosso Di Montalcino, Mastroianni (ABV 14 percent)

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Rosso Di Montalcino, Mastroianni (ABV 14 percent)

It has juicy and sour cherry aromas.

The palate is intense, delivering masses of dark fruit flavors with hints of spice, structured tannins and a wonderfully savory finish.

Enjoy with: Pecorino cheese.

ALTA MORA ETNA BIANCO (ABV 12 PER CENT)

€23.95 @ Wine O’Briens

A TRUE Sicilian gem, made from the indigenous Carricante grape – grown in high altitude vineyards on the slopes of the Etna volcano.

The bouquet is memorable – with notes of lemongrass, melon, pear, peach and even a hint of herbs.

Alta Mora Etna Bianco (ABV 12 percent)

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Alta Mora Etna Bianco (ABV 12 percent)Credit: Unknown, clear with photo office

The full-bodied palate is well structured, unctuous, with nice mineral streaks and a full bowl of citrus, green apple and pear notes.

The finish is clean and crisp.

Enjoy with: Perfect with seafood dishes.

PAZO BAIÓN ALBARIÑO (ABV 13.5 PER CENT)

€26.95 @ Wine O’Briens

EXCEPTIONAL, single vineyard, limited edition Albarino from an estate that has been around for approximately 600 years.

This cuvée comes from manual harvesting of 45-year-old vines.

Pazo Baión Albariño (ABV 13.5 percent)

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Pazo Baión Albariño (ABV 13.5 percent)

It is a straw yellow color with greenish reflections in the glass.

Fermented with wild yeasts, it presents intense and floral aromas of orange blossom and jasmine.

The palate presents citrus and tropical notes with a nice hint of salinity and a lingering and aromatic finish.

Enjoy with: Seafood.

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