Château Smith Haut Lafitte is the authentic place with 6 centuries and a half of history. The current owners of the Château, Daniel and Florence Cathiard, devoted over 30 years to their passion – making wine in this marvellous estate located south of the city of Bordeaux.
A fun way to discover Château Smith Haut Lafitte’s winemaking philosophy at your own pace, focusing on the environment and biodiversity.
This 10-hectare open-air museum awakens the mind and the senses. Dotted with contemporary artworks, mainly by local Bordeaux artists, this immersive walking trail is sure to delight everyone.
The highlights of the Château Smith Haut Lafitte
Tree houses and sculptures in harmony with or juxtaposed against the surrounding landscape, viewpoints, a medicinal herb garden and honey house are just a few of the highlights.
The forest walk culminates in a wine tasting
The Château offers to its visitors “Forest of the Senses” trail where a tasting with two of the estate’s wines is at the program. The forest walk culminates in a wine tasting (fruit juice is offered to children). The Château is open from May to October. No booking required from 1 June onwards.
In accordance with the estate’s opening times, a wealth of activities, concerts and aperitif buffets are organised during bank holidays and Sundays from May to September (weather permitting).
The production of the estate compiles around 120,000 bottles of red (67 ha) and 30,000 bottles of white wines (11 ha). The mastery of great wine creation comes from the perfect alliance between the vine and its terroir. The team uses knowledge received from the in-depth study of the Château’s vineyard to adapt the vine culture to the characteristics of the soil within each of the vineyard’s plots. This allows them to pair each variety and what vine growing techniques with the best-suited type of soil.
Palace of the vines
Les Sources de Caudalie is a luxury 5-star hotel surrounded by vines and next to Château Smith Haut Lafitte Grand Cru Classé.
Located amidst the Grand Cru vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Les Sources de Caudalie has been welcoming guests since 1999.
5-star hotel, Vinothérapie Spa, 2-Michelin star restaurant, La Grand’Vigne, country-inn restaurant, La Table du Lavoir, wine bar and delicatessen, Rouge.
What approach does Château Smith Haut Lafitte implement to produce its wine?
At Château Smith Haut Lafitte, traditional viticulture techniques are implemented, such as earthing-up the vines or horse-ploughing the fragile white wine plots. There are already 8 horses for the vineyard in the Château’s stable. The use of chemical products is totally prohibited, and organic methods are favoured to fight the various dangers that threaten the vine. For instance, the Château’s team induces “mating confusion” in the grape moths through pheromone cocktails, uses typhlodromus mites to prey on the red spider mites, and prevents grey rot through the bacillus subtilis, which naturally prevents the development of botrytis.
The vine-growing cycle
The vine-growing cycle is enhanced with organic compost made of wine shoots left over from pruning, grape pomace, and manure from cows and horses. This natural fertilization process improves the quality of the soil and protects its vitality. A hedge plantation programme (more than 500 meters a year) and the installation of several beehives serve to strengthen the faunal diversity of the vineyard.
Château Smith Haut Lafitte constantly uses new technologies, such as tests with drones and the satellite imagery, to better monitor the vine growing cycle and the ripening of the grapes all year long. An even sharper tool is the on-board NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetative Index) that is use on its entire vineyard.
What wine does Château Smith Haut Lafitte produce?
At Château Smith Haut Lafitte, the grapes are harvested manually and carried in small specially designed 7 to 9 kilos crates. The grapes thus go directly from the picker’s hand to the vat room’s sorting table, unbruised and in perfect condition.
Apart from the Crus Classés wines, Château Smith Haut Lafitte produces its own young vines thanks to its nursery and its own rootstocks from its mother vine planted on the La Lande island: a protected and closed environment on the Garonne, ten minutes away from the chateau.
Grand Cru Classé Château Smith Haut Lafitte as well as the wine Le Petit Haut Lafitte got certified their authenticity due to the Prooftag Bubble Tag® technology. A QR Code on a bottle allows consumers to check the Bubble Tag™ and find in addition very interesting technical information to improve their tasting experience (vintage and wine making characteristics, tasting notes, etc).