Armand Heitz: Farmer of the Past, Present, & Future

Armand Heitz: Farmer of the Past, Present, & Future

My Burgundy experience began with a half day of harvesting grapes at Armand Heitz, a winery in Chassagne-Montrachet.

It was the perfect first day because Armand Heitz is a good example of the direction Burgundy is heading in. Armand is straddling classic Burgundian grapes, methods, and styles, while innovating with sustainable practices and new wine tourism options.

During our visit, we harvested chardonnay grapes (in 90+ degree bright sunny weather), ate a freshly grilled burger made from livestock and vegetables from the Armand estate, and marvelled at the modern updates Armand's wife, an architect, integrated into their chateau.

We also discussed Armand's vision for the future: to leverage 8,000 years of farming practices to propel his business into the future.

This means sustainable farming practices: hand harvesting grapes to protect the quality and longevity of the plants, incorporating farm animals and biodiversity into the estate, and abstaining for the "cides" : pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc.

Finally, we discussed challenges to the industry. Namely, climate change and big wine corporation. Independently owned wineries are fighter harder and harder to stay in business amidst global warming's effects on their harvest and big wine companies with their seductive financial offers. And margins in the industry are already low. 

Armand's solution to this problem is to diversity his offerings. In addition to selling wine, he offers wine tourism, lodging for short stays, and a restaurant that incorporates his estate-grown vegetables and livestock.

This level of creativity and flexibility is necessary in the current wine climate. I advise buying from independently owned wineries whenever possible to support passion-driven craft and to encourage their efforts to modernize and creatively serve consumers.

Armand Heitz bottle suggestions (all $40 - $60):

  • 2020 Lulune from Beaune - easy drinking Chardonnay. Lulune means "small spring"
  • 2020 Parcelle Interdite Vin de France - this is a Sauvignon Blanc. "Parcelle Interdite" means "prohibited plot" because Sauvy B isn't one of the official Burgundian grapes, but climate change is creating better conditions for hte grape.


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