By Fergal Gleeson
We caught up with Burgundian winemaker Pascal Marchand and Jeff Burch of Howard Park and Madfish fame recently. Pascal was in Australia to mark the 10th anniversary of Marchand and Burch, a wine making collaboration between France and Western Australia.
Jeff and Amy Burch are the proprietors of Western Australia’s largest family owned winery operating vineyards across the Margaret River and Great Southern regions. Howard Park has an extensive range from mid-priced to iconic wines.
Everyday wines are made under the Madfish label. It’s a thriving business that exports to all major markets. Jeff and Amys’ children Natalie, David and Richard are involved in senior Operational, Brand and Business Development roles.
Pascal Marchands’s got a fascinating history. He is from Quebec, aspired to be a poet and studied literature in university. His website describes him as “half a woodsman and half an old seadog” reflecting a stint in the merchant navy. After working a vintage in Burgundy in 1983 his dream changed to making great wine.
He was part of a new breed of wine makers in Burgundy. As Pascal puts it “There was a changing of the guard. Guys were taking over from their fathers. They had studied abroad. They spoke English. Things were moving on from the peasant style to a more open minded one.”
Pascal embraced biodynamics in 1988. “It was a very selfish thing for me. It was not for the people who buy the wine! I was a city guy, not from a grower’s family. Biodynamics helped me observe nature and understand her rhythms. I felt comfortable. I see more horse ploughing around Burgundy now! About 10% of wine in Burgundy is made biodynamically.”
He turned around Domaine Comte Armand over his 15 years there and then moved on to the larger Domaine de Vougaraie before setting up his own business.
Pascal first met Jeff Burch when Jeff was in Burgundy, tasting his wines in the cellar of Domaine Armand. They immediately struck up a friendship. When Pascal finished at Domaine de Vougaraie, they established Marchand and Burch. Their mission was to bring together the best of old and new world winemaking.
This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the winter edition of Marque Magazine