Interview with Romain, Cellar Master
Can you tell us more about your professional career?
The beginning of my professional career is closely linked to the end of my university career. In fact, during my end-of-study dissertation as a bioengineer at UCLouvain, I decided to study the relationship between the water supply to the vine and the chemical composition of the grapes, i.e. their qualities for producing wine. This thesis led me to meet many vineyards and winemakers in Wallonia, including the Château de Bousval vineyard. I got on very well with the members of the team, and in discussion with Vincent, he offered me to join them for the 2021 harvest.
My thesis on vine and wine had only increased my already strong passion for wine, so I was happy to accept this offer to learn more about the fascinating world of wine. Following this first experience, Vincent Dienst and Michel Verhaeghe de Naeyer offered me to continue working in the vineyard and to train me in winemaking. I then had the chance to take part in 2 vinifications in 2022: in Burgundy at Pascal Marchand’s, with whom we work, and in Bousval. As the months went by and we talked, Vincent offered to continue training me and accompanying me so that I could gradually pass on the torch of winemaking here at Bousval.
What is your role at Château de Bousval?
My role at Bousval has evolved as I have progressed here in the vineyard. At present, this role mainly involves the tasks that Vincent was responsible for, i.e. all the stages between the grapes and the bottle of wine: pressing, fermentation, maturing, blending, clarification, bottling and labelling.
This role involves both learning and constant reflection, and it is this intellectual challenge that excites me. Every terroir is unique, every year is different, and my role is to always learn and remain humble because I think we are still learning every day.
Apart from wine, what are your passions?
I love being in the fresh air, going hiking in the mountains with friends, challenging myself with a climb or just walking around to discover new places. I also love cooking, trying new recipes or letting my imagination run wild. Finally, although I’m taking less time at the moment, I also love to read.
What does Bousval Castle mean to you?
For me, the Château de Bousval is both an ambitious and meaningful project, which seeks to develop in harmony with its environment. It is also an exceptional and timeless place. Add to that a great team and you have a truly unique working environment!
How do you see the future of wine in Belgium?
First of all, I am very curious and enthusiastic, I find the rediscovery of Belgian terroirs fascinating. Secondly, it’s a more paradoxical feeling, divided between the opportunity that global warming brings for Belgian viticulture, and the concerns also linked to climate change.
Do you have an anecdote or a nice memory (at Château de Bousval) to share with us?
If I had to choose only one, it would be without hesitation the end-of-harvest party in 2022! The harvest period is always a unique atmosphere, at the same time trying but also and above all bringing the team together.
The 2022 vintage was exceptional in terms of both quality and quantity, and this end-of-harvest party was just like this vintage: exceptional!
So a word of advice to finish: don’t miss the opportunity to taste this vintage when it comes out!