So just exactly who, what, or where is a Berru? While you may not be familiar with the term, as a Champagne enthusiast, you have probably heard of Jacques Picard, or, if you have visited Champagne, you may have noticed the mountain to the east of Reims. Berru, which resides on the northern side of this mountain village, is home to the Jacques Picard Champagne house and impressive vineyards, and is probably most well known for the Mont de Berru, which served as a frontline in World War I. Champagne fans remain unfamiliar with the village because most of the vineyards in Berru are either owned by negociants, sourced by negociants, or send crop to the local cooperative. The only practicing recoltant in Berru is Jacques Picard. In fact, the patriarch of the Picard family, Roger Picard, put Berru back on the map in the middle of the twentieth century.
under the third generation led by José and Corinne Livens. Corinne is the daughter of Roger Picard and José is her husband. Both are intimately involved with the winery and lead the teams for viticulture, winemaking, marketing, and sales.
This once thriving Champagne village had almost ceased grape growing entirely by the middle of the twentieth
century. World War I had destroyed almost vineyards of Berru, leaving most of the villagers up on farming and move to other occupations.
all the to give World
War II didn’t help the late 1940’s, only two
area’s agriculture either, and by the people were still growing grapes in
Berru – Jacqeus
Roger Picard and his son Jacques. Roger knew the history of Berru and recognized
potential return to
of the land. Over time, they convinced others to the ancient practice of vine growing, and today it
is a thriving Champagne village. especially successful here, and it is
Chardonnay is popular with the
In fact, Pol Roger has holdings in Berru,
which just so happen to abut the vineyards of the Picard family.
José is currently the global face behind the winery, which is something he would never have predicted growing up. As a youngster in Champagne, he wanted nothing more than to leave and explore other wine regions. Bored by Champagne, he did work at Veuve Clicquot for a year as a young man, but soon something deep in his soul compelled him to become a traveling winemaker. Numerous clients in Burgundy and the Rhone Valley kept him busy and happy for a number of years, but just when he said he was never coming back to Champagne, he met Corinne Picard, fell in love, and ended up right back where he started: as a winemaker in Champagne. While it wasn’t the path he thought he would follow, José is happier than ever and so are his customers.
In the vineyards, José practices
(natural and reasoned farming practices). He has no rules that determine the age of vines at harvest or expiration, and believes that you should “take what you get when it is best” and “do the right thing at the right time.” The house still sorts the grapes in the vineyard itself, which is unusual in Champagne. He also successfully convinced the entire village to move to sexual confusion as the primary method of insect control. This method saturates the vineyards with man-made female insect pheromones which overpower the naturally produced phermones from the actual female insect. This confuses the male adults (they can't tell where the females
Although Roger Picard started off the family business, it is his son Jacques whose name graces the bottle. The family and their holdings have stayed united together over the years; they still maintain and farm all of Roger Picard’s original parcels. The winery continues to thrive
are) and leads to less vines. The end result
mating and laying of eggs on the
as Roger Picard helped lead Champagne, the family continues movement in Berru.
the village back to to lead the Champagne
Special Web Sample Edition - October 2010