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Independent winegrower: from vine to bottle

Elise and Mathilde, the two sisters at the head of Guillon-Painturaud, are independent winegrowers. Let's take a closer look at these terms, which contain a lot of information. What does Independent Winegrower mean?

The different types of cognac producers

Firstly it is important to remember that, in the wine industry, there are different types of producer. Their professions are different, as is their relationship with the product and the terroir.

  • Negociants: these are companies that buy wines and brandies from other producers. They then age the brandies themselves and make their own blends. The products are then sold under their own brand name. Examples for cognac: Hennessy, Martell, Rémy Martin, Courvoisier...
  • Cooperatives: these are groups of winegrowers from the same production area. The products are made from the harvests of all the members. An example in the Cognac region is Océalia.
  • Independent winegrowers: ah, here we are...

Independent Winegrower, a brand and a label

It all started with the initiative of a group of producers in the 1970s. These independent producers decided to promote and gain recognition for their expertise and their products. They had a very specific goal in mind: to protect their trade from the emergence of wine industries and to promote the quality and expertise of their products.

And so, in 1976, France's first confederation of independent winegrowers was born.

A few years later, in 1990, the confederation went a step further by registering a collective trademark with the INPI: the ‘Vigneron Indépendant’ (Independent Winegrower) trademark. A label was also created, to make it easier to gain recognition from consumers.

Today, more than 7,000 winegrowers have joined this confederation, proud to defend their unique expertise. But what exactly does it mean to be part of this group?

What does it mean to be an Independent Winegrower?

The Independent Winegrower label is subject to very strict conditions, in order to guarantee the quality and authenticity of the products. Independent winegrowers must adhere to a charter with a number of obligations.

The obligations of the Independent Winegrower

To obtain the famous Independent Winegrower label, the winegrower must :

  • be independent,
  • respect its terroir,
  • work on his vineyard,
  • pick his grapes,
  • vinifying and raising wine,
  • bottling its own production at the estate,
  • commercialise its products,
  • improve their skills while respecting tradition,
  • welcome, offer tastings and take pleasure in presenting the fruits of its labour and its culture*.
*Source: Independent Winegrower charter

Control over the entire manufacturing process

As you can see, the independent winegrower has complete control over the entire production process for its product.

In contrast to trading houses, a cognac house run by independent winegrowers collects, vinifies and distils its own wines. The relationship with the terroir and the product is therefore huge, and it is through perfect mastery of nature and its soils that the winegrower will begin to produce fine products.

Its expertise then extends to harvesting, with perfect control over the ripeness of its grapes, and then to vinification and distillation, where the aim is to produce the most aromatic and fine cognac eaux-de-vie possible. The blending is also carried out by the independent winegrower, who holds the secret to the authenticity and unique character of its products. Then all that's left to do is bottle on the estate and market it!

Why Guillon-Painturaud decided to become an Independent Winegrower in Cognac

The estate Guillon-Painturaud has held the Vigneron Indépendant label for several decades. If the estate continues along this path, it's because the philosophy of the Independent Winegrower is a philosophy that totally corresponds to it. Proximity to the terroir, know-how and passion for the product are values that the Guillon-Painturaud estate is very attached to and that make sense.

In fact, it's also about answering the needs of today's generations. Today's consumers are looking for real, local, artisanal products, and above all they like to know the origin and history of the products they buy. Guillon-Painturaud responds perfectly to this need by offering transparent and authentic cognacs and pineaux.

From the vine to the bottle, Elise and Mathilde are passionate about their work, and their guiding principle is to offer their customers the very best.

To find out more about these two independent winegrowing sisters, go to this article!

We also offer 4 wine-tourism activities at the estate to help you discover the expertise of Independent Winegrowers. Click here to find out more!

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