Beaujolais' Georges Duboeuf: the wine industry bids farewell to a legend

Jacopo Mazzeo

Jacopo Mazzeo

06 January 2020

Beaujolais hero Georges Duboeuf died of a stroke last Saturday 4 January, aged 86.

He was widely known within the wine industry for his activity as a négociant and for his work to promote the image of Beaujolais Nouveau.

Duboeuf was born in 1933 in Chaintré in what is now the Pouilly-Fuissé AOC, in a family whose winegrowing heritage spanned four centuries.

His professional life began in the 1950s, when he started bottling wine and set up L'Écrin Mâconnais-Beaujolais, an association of wine producers whose purpose was to promote local labels.

In 1964, Duboeuf started Les Vins Georges Duboeuf. The business, still active today, has been in the hands of his son Franck Duboeuf since 2018.

‘Through his vision and his work, he gave life, colour, aromas and joy to the wines of Beaujolais,’ Dominique Piron, current president of Inter Beaujolais said of him. ‘He was a catalyst, taking with him other merchants and other winemakers which made Beaujolais the first vineyard in France to make the headlines in newspapers and on television, in France and around the world.’

Duboeuf's passion for Beaujolais wine and activity as ambassador for Beaujolais Nouveau gained him the nickname of Pope of Beaujolais.

‘Behind a warm, reassuring and almost bewitching voice hid a lot of things with a lot of force,’ said Piron. ‘It was taste, a nose, intuition, vision, a huge memory and above all a lot of work. With a lot of charisma but an equally discreet man, but just as comfortable with all the winemakers whose trade he knew perfectly, as with the many stars of show business who came to see him.’

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