Interview with Vincent Dienst, first Cellar Master at the Château de Bousval vineyard

Can you tell us more about your career path?
After my bioengineering studies at the UCLouvain, I went to harvest at the Domaine de la Vieille Julienne in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The hard work, the conviviality and the world of wine appealed to me immediately. I then followed a 2-year Master’s degree in Viticulture-Oenology in Montpellier and Bordeaux, which gave me the diploma of oenologist. At the end of this Master’s degree, I wrote a thesis on the potential of Belgian wine and I realised that there was a real potential in our country. As a lover of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, I travelled to different regions (Burgundy, Champagne, South Africa, New Zealand) where these grape varieties are cultivated in order to learn how to vinify them in different terroirs. I then came back to Belgium in 2016 where I had the chance to meet the team of the Château de Bousval vineyard and Mr Michel Verhaeghe who gradually gave me the reins of the winemaking.
What is your role at Château de Bousval?
I am responsible for all the stages between the grapes and the bottle of wine: pressing, fermentation, maturing, blending, clarification, bottling and labelling.
Every year I learn more about our terroir and try to adapt my practices to what nature offers.
I am also in close contact with our various professional distributors (wine shops, restaurants) because I like to have their feedback on our wines.
Apart from wine, what are your passions?
Getting out into the fresh air: cycling, running, climbing and mountain climbing. I also love to read, especially the classics of French literature.
What does the Château de Bousval mean to you?
An avant-garde vision, a project in which you have to be bold. A form of expression of a unique terroir. And also a very close-knit team.
How do you see the future of wine in Belgium?

A paradoxical view, no doubt. Global warming is increasing the viticultural potential overall, but certain extreme climatic events (late frosts, hail, torrential rains, droughts) are complicating our task.

There is a real craze for Belgian viticulture with a lot of enthusiasm from new project leaders. But many of them don’t realise the complexity and the amount of work required to manage a vineyard.

Do you have an anecdote or a nice memory (at Château de Bousval) to share with us ?
When we finish pruning in winter, we always have a barbecue in the plots, burning the vine shoots. It is always a very convivial moment when we have the satisfaction of a job well done. I also value the special moments when my wife visits me during the harvest accompanied by my son who tastes our grape juice before fermentation !