Mogens Olesen, owner of Château Lecusse, and a serial entrepreneur

The 72-year-old Dane answers our questions in impeccable French, in the car driven by his wife.

Mogens Olesen first trained in Copenhagen as a horticultural engineer, his studies including genetics, growing plants and producing fermented cherry wines - a major Danish speciality at the time.

It was therefore only natural that he and his wife, who comes from a family of horticulturalists, should buy a nursery north of the city. They stopped selling plants and focused on breeding roses and clematis. The company, Poulsen Roser, now employs a dozen people and files about 30 patents a year. Mogens explains how, at the beginning of the 1990s, the financial success they achieved by creating a dwarf rose in a pot, gave them the idea of investing in a vineyard in the South of France.

After spending six months at INRA in Versailles after graduating, but also in Fréjus, he had developed a fondness for two things – wine, which he drank with colleagues at lunch, and a mild late autumn. In Denmark, summer is often over by the end of August.

His aim of having a small estate, but one “with good soils and something to do”, led him to buy Château Lecusse, which then had 10 hectares under vine. Gaillac is a mature wine region with clay-limestone soils that retain water well, and weather that is conducive to winegrowing.

Twenty-seven years later, the entrepreneur, who spends nearly 6 months a year on the estate, has significantly expanded the property to 52 hectares of vines. His greatest pride is garnering good tasting scores for his high-end wines matured in new barrels. His biggest disappointment? “French administration, especially for labour laws!” The estate also encompasses a few hectares of lavender for producing oil, saffron, roses and olive trees.

Fourteen years ago Mogens, who never stops working, even bought a “breeding farm to protect wild animals (rhinoceroses...)”, which are then sold to wildlife parks.

Does he think about retirement? Not on your life!