Winegrower Luc Desbonnets has over 30 years global experience in wine growing and wine making since his debut in France in 1989. After completing a business degree, Luc travelled to France to learn his fathers culture and completed another degree in winemaking and viticulture in the Medoc appellation area of Bordeaux.
Leaving Bordeaux seven years later, Luc furthered his craft by managing large Eastern European productions in Hungary and Moldova for a further three years.
In developing Frenchmans Hill Estate, Luc steadfastly sticks to the techniques and protocols learnt whilst working in the 'grand cru' appellations of Bordeaux and Burgundy. He believes with the right sites and an uncompromising approach toward yields, vine and soil management, New Zealand matches it with many of the world's greatest wines.
The impoverished sandy/gravelly clays of Waiheke are ideal viticultural soils for the expression of truly cellar-worthy 'complex' reds that will evolve favourably over time. All Frenchmans Hill Estate wines are grown and made by Luc from vineyards that he established in 2006. Perfectly matching grape varieties to various micro sites to achieve what he describes as "unique earth expressions".
With the principle of "heat builds structure and light builds colour", Luc was strongly drawn to the to this uniquely well suited site which he purchased in 2005 to realise his dream of creating an iconic New Zealand wine.