Portrait of Gérard BRU

The history of Château Puech-Haut is above all the story of a man who built his vineyard just as he built his own life. Starting from nothing, creating, achieving a dream without question, that’s how Gérard Bru, the estate’s owner, lives his life. He worked hard to fulfill his ambitions and always remembered to put one foot in front of another.

A few decades ago, there was a young, charismatic fellow, with imposing stature and turbulent ways, as he was described at the time, plotting out his way in the world. He bought and sold, borrowed and paid back a little of everything from everywhere to get ahead… Then the time came and the adolescent became a man. He created his first company and then his second. Never afraid of hard work, he was always ready to get his hands dirty. With an innate business sense, his enterprises took off. A few years later, he was a business leader in charge of a company that employed no less than 500 people. Then a larger firm, Alsthom, offered to buy his company. Gérard Bru decided to sell. He ventured for a while into corporate real estate before preparing to return to the land, which had been his objective for a long time. Well even though he quickly earned the label of “industrialist”, above and beyond all else, his first vocation was to work the land, and he began training as a child with his grandfather, who taught him the joys of hunting and grape harvesting in Minervois. This love was kindled by his father’s work as bursar at the National Agricultural College in Montpellier.

As with all of his passions, whether his appreciation for fine cigars (a major distinction of this great personality), or hunting for game of every type imaginable, including elephants, his credo is that of excess. While some may wonder whether this is a character flaw, in his case, it is a positive quality.

The beginning of the great adventure at Château Puech-Haut was the purchase of a plot of land for purely sentimental reasons. It is located about thirty hectares northeast of Montpellier. There were no vineyards there yet, just some olive trees and scrub vegetation. The farm hadn’t yet earned its A.O.C. classification, but there was no doubt but that this would be an excellent land for grapes, with its soils of clay and limestone with a top layer of rounded pebbles. The olive trees were pulled up and grape vines were planted in their stead, and the farmhouse grew into a “château” which emerged from the stones of the former prefecture that was then purchased. Some years later, the first wine was produced and expansion began. The master of wine warehouses, Yves Gruvel, was made redundant at a cooperative cellar. He is a man with his feet planted firmly in the lands and traditions of Languedoc. And since nothing is ever done in half measure at Puech-Haut, Gérard Bru hired Michel Rolland as an advisor from 1996 to 2006. Since 2008 we have been joined by Philippe Cambie “the” specialist in Côtes du Rhône wines with an international reputation, to work alongside our oenologist Mathieu Ciampi. Today the Estate covers no less than 165 hectares.