Contrary to popular belief, even traditionalists in the French wine industry like to innovate
As anyone who has tried to make it themselves can confirm, quality wine rarely comes from amateurs. It takes skill, dedication and lots of money. At least it did before Crushpad came along.
The brainchild of a San Francisco wine lover, Crushpad allows individuals or groups of friends to produce their own top-quality wines. Now the firm has ventured to the "old world" with the arrival of Crushpad Bordeaux.
Being half-American and half-French, Stephen Bolger was the obvious choice to lead the new firm. Bolger says that despite being traditional, the wine community in Bordeaux is open to innovation. "People here have taken an interest. The growers are curious about what we're doing.
"This year we have 150 clients making 40 barrels of wine. These are wine lovers from all across the world who know what they like and are happy to experiment."
With support and guidance from Crushpad's experts, clients can be as hands-on as they like. Most have a clear idea what they want. This has included blending cabernet sauvignon grapes from Margaux with merlot from St Emilion. "It may upset some, but it's an intelligent approach to wine-making," says Bolger.
With a barrel costing £8,000, it's also one for wealthy individuals or groups of friends.