Christine was born and raised in Bordeaux France. She studied biochemistry and received her doctorate degree in Enology and Viticulture from the Bordeaux Institute of Enology. Her knowledge of sauvignon blanc is extensive as she made wine at Chateau Carbonnieux and La Louviere in Pessac-Leognan. Christine worked with the renowned Denis Dubourdieu and learned firsthand how to taste sauvignon blanc grapes as they ripen and how to harvest them to maximize the aroma and flavor of the wine.
In 1996 Christine moved to California where she engaged in winemaking and viticulture research for Robert Mondavi, Gallo and Trinchero. Christine also produces wonderful wine under her personal label Toquade.
In 2010 Christine assumed control of the viticultural programs and practices at our estate vineyard in Calistoga. In the spirit of the traditional French vigneron, a life she knows well from her years in Bordeaux, Christine manages all aspects of our farming, harvesting, vinification and bottling to ensure the highest quality, most expressive wines possible.
Harvest Update 2014
Shaken and Stirred: An Interview with Winemaker Christine Barbe
How has the quake impacted harvest?
It’s been a roller coaster. We started harvesting Sauvignon Blanc on August 23rd. The next morning at 3:30am the earthquake hit and picking came to a screeching halt. The winery where we make our wines had 800 barrels on the floor and a pool of wine from wall to wall. It was a disastrous mess that required five straight days of intensive work to clean up. Miraculously, Coquerel lost only one barrel of wine – 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon! The winery crew was incredibly patient and helpful throughout the whole process. We were fortunate that Miner Family Vineyards had room in their cellar for our Sauvignon Blanc. It is progressing nicely. The rest of our wines will be made back at our regular facility.
How would you describe this vintage?
So far the weather has been very dry with only 18 inches of rain this year. It was warm until July – prompting everyone to predict a super early harvest ‑ then it cooled down in August putting everything back on schedule. Surprisingly, our Sauvignon Blanc was picked the same date as last year.
Does this remind you of any previous vintages?
Except for the lack of rainfall it has been a little bit like 2006.
What grapes have been harvested so far and how do the wines look?
Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are all in and still fermenting. Petite Sirah and Tempranillo will be harvested by the end of September. The Sauvignon Blanc is very aromatic and crisp. The Chardonnay is still fermenting but it looks very good. Overall I am very excited about the quality of our 2014s. Either way, this will be a vintage none of us in Napa will ever forget.