If I ever had to brand the best alliance between nature and mankind, it would be a vineyard on the Bordeaux left bank.

Go for a walk in one of these immaculately cared vineyards and just pause there for a little while. On the horizon line stand the waters of the majestuous Gironde estuary. Around you, each of the thousands of vines is a treasure, which is being taken care of individually. Tree groves break the continuity of the vine lines. And somewhere in the middle of this absolute natural perfection, a lovely styled little chateau catches your eyes.

Among all, I have a particular inclination for the Barton Estates and a considerable fondness and respect for their brand, the epitomisation of ‘Functional & Emotional’… and here is why. Functionally, their wines are among the very best, the finest and the most distinguished. Emotionally, just think about the three-generation family working together to bring to the world the sheer beauty and elegance of all what they relate to – their story, chateaux and vineyards, their wines and tasteful bottles…

Barton is obviously a luxury brand… although one anchored in discrete and simple class, finesse and refinement. It imbues exclusivity from its unique history, family values, product rarity and elegance, selected distribution…

My family and I were visiting this autumn, right at the end of the harvesting period. Before our stay, Barton would mainly be associated with some of the finest Bordeaux wines, which we would drink on our best evenings– and a fascinating 300-year old dynasty story. Now the brand stands for leading ‘Functional & Emotional’, after that we have been induced to the Barton alchemy by Lilian and Michel, their children Melanie and Damien and of course refined Eva, Lilian’s mother.

Barton estates are mainly known for Chateau Leoville Barton and Langoa Barton, respectively 2nd and 3rd classified Grands Crus (1855) located in the heart of the St Julien terroir. Among other glowing ratings, ‘Wine Spectator’ listed the Leoville Barton 2003 vintage in 3rd position for the top 100 wines of the year in the world.

But watch the space, as Lilian and Michel recently also acquired Chateau Mauvesin in Moulis, a transformational move for the Chateau and the whole Moulis appellation. And what was one of their first decisions? Rename the 550-year-old Mauvesin as Mauvesin Barton, the testament to the power of the Barton brand.

Let’s be a little technical about the Barton brand, reviewing and analyzing its 13+1 brand imperatives whose combination makes a brand successful.



As for their brand magic behind ‘Functional & Emotional’, no need to look much further than the other ‘5’ marks in the Barton 13+1 brand assessment. ‘Culture born & Authenticity’ originates from close to 300 years ago, when Irish Thomas Barton arrived in Bordeaux and created his own trading company, which later would become Barton & Guestier. His genuine passion for wines would pass from generation to generation and has certainly touched the three ones currently in command who perpetuate Thomas’ legacy – including their Irish roots which become evident when the family starts to dialogue in English.

Hence with Barton, amateurs and partners see respect for nature, protecting tradition, a deep sense of who Barton is and what Barton owes to others – all very remote from any compromise to the latest fashion or extravagance.

Barton is coherently about ‘People Led & People Leading’ to deliver the brand, with absolute ‘Rigor & Discipline’. Starting with the patriarch Anthony Barton, the whole family, the estate managers and oenologists and all involved imbue the aspiration to perfection…which guides their acts and teamwork accordingly. This search for excellence and high requirements means extremely demanding work, which we could observe as the pickers were hand harvesting the last vines on the day of our visit – perhaps even to the point where such high rigor may lower the ‘Joy’ to some extent?

Outcomes are outstanding: the Barton brand is ‘Strategy Guiding’ – everything would be decided according to its essence and character; ‘Trusted’ – both on products and the highly respectful relationships which we could observe with others; ‘High Value & Driving Value’ – building the brand over the long-term, as reflected in their price policy. As I was talking with Lilian, she was distantiating Barton from the considerable price escalation over the past 10 years in the region, preferring reason and stability to immediate and short-lived benefits.

Do these classy ‘country style’ values and features sometimes have their flip side? Quite naturally in the ways the brand lives its ‘Connectedness’ – biased to personal relationships over universality and technology; ‘Customer Centricity’ and ‘Partnering’ – grounded in long-term acquaintances; ‘Future Embracing’ – principally incrementing on tradition rather than revolutionizing.  Does it really matter? We couldn’t suggest it does, so much we wish Barton singularly protects its character and remains on their existing side of these trade-offs.

Families Barton and Barton-Sartorius, Chateau Barton Leoville Barton, Chateau Langoa Barton, Chateau Mauvesin Barton, you are beautiful! “Don’t change a thing”, as they say, and we will spend Christmas with thoughts for your dynasty and your feasting presence in our glasses.

From St Julien and Moulis, Bordeaux