Hennessy FROM GRAPE TO BOTTLE

FROM GRAPE TO BOTTLE

The process of making cognac is long and sophisticated. Locally grown Ugni White grapes journey through six major steps from the moment they are gingerly picked from their vines to that first sip as an exceptional cognac in your glass.

FROM GRAPE TO BOTTLE

Hennessy Harvest

HARVEST

THE FULLNESS OF TIME

Hennessy and its partners support sustainable viticulture.

Hennessy harvest

EVERYTHING BEGINS WITH THE GRAPES

Once a year, perfectly mature grapes must be harvested quickly and with precision. The mechanical harvests of the Charente vineyards allow extreme precision, both in quality and quantity. Ugni Blanc grapes are perfectly suited for our distillation process. A late-maturing varietal, it strikes the right balance between high acidity and a low alcohol content, which is ideal for well-balanced eaux-de-vie.

Hennessy harvest

COGNAC CAN BE CRAFTED ONLY IN COGNAC

A spirit which bears the Cognac Protected Appellation of origin (PDO) has to comply with regulated specifications, its grapes must be grown in Cognac, and the wine made from them produced here, defined by strict borders encircling the Charente River. You can taste the difference.

Hennessy harvest

AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE

The vineyards of Cognac have an exploitable surface area of approximately 75,000 hectares. This land is divided into six crus.

Hennessy harvest
Hennessy harvest
Hennessy harvest

THE CYCLE OF LIFE

Throughout the year, we follow the vines’ natural lifecycle. As winter falls, we prune and tie the barren vines. In the spring, the sap rises from the roots. The first leaves and buds appear. An unmistakeable scent fills the air. The first fruits appear in summer, the warmth of the sun maturing them in time for the Autumn harvest.

Hennessy distilation

DISTILLATION

TIME TO CONCENTRATE

Our distillation process has remained unchanged for centuries. Precision is key.

Hennessy distilation

TRANSFORMING WINE INTO EAU-DE-VIE

Between October and the 31st of March, at the latest, the distilleries are busy day and night. Passionate artisans fill, monitor, and cosset the traditional Charentais copper stills. This process of transforming wine into eau-de-vie harnesses the liquid’s volatile compounds. A long, delicate distillation preserves the soul of the wine.

Hennessy distilation

NOT ONCE, BUT TWICE

Double distillation is required to make eaux-de-vie for cognac. In the first, a raw spirit called “brouillis” is produced. The second distillation produces a much higher alcohol content. Only the middle part, the ‘heart’, is saved. This clear, colorless liquid is called eau-de-vie.

Hennessy distilation

12 kg - 9 L - 1 L

It takes approximately 12kg of grapes to obtain 1 litre of eau-de-vie. Pressing the grapes produces 9 litres of wine. Distilled once, this results in 3 litres of brouillis. Distilled a second time, it generates one litre of pure eau-de-vie.

Hennessy maturation

MATURATION

TIME AND TALENT GO HAND-IN-HAND

We don't just age our eaux-de-vie, we 'raise' them.

Hennessy maturation

BARRELS OF DEDICATION

Eaux-de-vie and wood age together for years, exchanging flavors and colors. Each eau-de-vie demands years of labor, as well as rotation between different barrels, so that it can reach its full complexity.

Hennessy maturation

RAISING EAUX-DE-VIE

Our eaux-de-vie are raised in chais – special, carefully monitored cellars. Temperature and lighting are important factors. Eaux-de-vie aged in more humid chais, close to the Charente river, can be mellower and rounder. Those raised in drier chais may have more character.

Hennessy maturation

A UNIQUE INVENTORY

The Hennessy reserve is one of the largest collections of eaux-de-vie in the world. It has over 350,000 barrels stored in 65 cellars. This inventory is the legacy of our predecessors, which we have treasured for over 200 years.

Hennessy maturation

BARRELS AND BOUQUETS

At Hennessy, a long-established tradition congratulates young cellar hands who set up barrels in a perfect row for the first time. Colleagues decorate their row with fresh flowers, left to dry leaf by leaf as the blend matures.

Hennessy selection

SELECTION

TASTING POTENTIAL

With the help of his Tasting Committee, the Master Blender selects the best eaux-de-vie.

Hennessy selection

8 GENERATIONS

Renaud Fillioux de Gironde shares a love of nature with his uncle, Yann Fillioux, Hennessy's 7th generation Master Blender. Exploring the forests near Cognac for hours, the elder shared his insights on his most powerful tool - the nose. On those walks, and during his 10 years on the Tasting Committee, Renaud soaked up the skills he uses daily as Hennessy’s 8th generation Master Blender.

Hennessy selection

11 AM EVERY DAY

For two centuries now, the Tasting Committee has met every day at 11am. They meticulously taste each eaux-de-vie, then select or reject it according to their strict quality standards. The ones selected will be tasted at least once a year to ensure their maturation process.

Hennessy selection

AN UNRIVALED LIBRARY

Today, there are thousands of different eaux-de-vie in Hennessy’s cellars; it is one of the largest libraries in the world. Each is unique, carefully selected by previous Master Blenders, then left to mature - yet tasted annually. Each eau-de-vie in our reserve is unique, which makes it a limitless collection for the Master Blender to draw upon.

Hennessy selection

THE ART OF DISCERNMENT

Unlike other spirits, maturation is not the only factor that determines the quality of a cognac. Only a meticulously selected blend of fine eaux-de-vie can lead to a distinct, superior cognac. This art of discerning is entrusted to our Master Blender and the Tasting Committee, who meet daily at 11am sharp to taste eaux-de-vie and evaluate their potential.

Hennessy blending

BLENDING

THE PERFECT BLEND? ALWAYS.

Consistently replicating perfection and taste.

Hennessy blending

CREATING CONSISTENT PERFECTION

The eaux-de-vie are of different ages and domains and will express themselves differently after maturation. A Hennessy Cognac is the result of the assembly of all these nuances, to reproduce the same result over time.

Hennessy blending

TO BLEND OR NOT TO BLEND

Every year, the Hennessy Tasting Committee reviews around 10,000 eaux-de-vie. Each eau-de-vie is meticulously tasted, then selected or rejected if it doesn’t meet the strict quality standards set by the committee. The ones selected will be tasted at least once a year to ensure their maturation process.

Hennessy blending

GENERATIONAL MASH-UP

Contrary to other spirits, aging is not the only factor that matters in the quality of cognac. Only a meticulously selected blend of fine eaux-de-vie make for a distinct, superior cognac.

Hennessy blending

NOTES, NUANCES AND CENTURIES OF SAVOIR-FAIRE

Our eaux-de-vie are of different crus, ages and domains. Once aged, each has its own personality. Disparate notes and nuances must not just co-exist, but complement one another. First, like blends are then assembled among themselves in specific proportions. The Master Blender is the orchestra conductor. Year after year, these distinct steps make it possible to achieve the same aromatic and gustatory qualities for which each of our cognacs is known.

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BOTTLING

BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT

We have never left a detail unattended in crafting our cognac. Why start now?

Hennessy bottling

PONT NEUF: DESIGNED WITH PURPOSE

Our building was designed as a bridge between history and the future. A model of eco-construction, it earned the highest environmental grade given. At Hennessy, sustainability matters.

Hennessy bottling

BUILT TO EVOLVE WITH US

We have room to expand. Breathing room. High-speed bottling lines, storage, sophisticated traceability systems, and logistics are all on site, delivering 240,000 bottles per day to 160 countries.

Hennessy bottling

PIONEERING ECO-RESPONSIBILITY

Pont Neuf has been certified as Exceptionnal - the hightest of HQE standards. For initiatives like landscape integration excellence. Energy performance. And water recycling, to name but three.

Hennessy bottling

FROM BARREL TO GLASS

Once the blends have been elaborated, bottles are prepared in our Charentais workshops and then are shipped to our distributors around the world. Each case begins its journey in Cognac, and we pay constant and serious attention to our ecological footprint, from packaging to modes of transport.