| Robert Ampeau, an extraordinary anachronism among growers in Burgundy, died on December 5, 2004, of a stroke he suffered while working in his vines in Savigny lès Beaune. He was 83. Ampeau was a legendary figure, and an admired colleague of the most important producers in Burgundy, including Aubert de Villaine, Lalou Bize-Leroy, Dominique Lafon, and Hubert de Montille, whose cellars all contain Ampeau wine. His death, however, was little noted in the popular wine press. Though he continued to work until he died, Ampeau had gradually relinquished control of the estate to his fifty-two year-old son Michel (shown here in the cellars). The parcels they cultivated together in Meursault and Volnay are easy to identify, if not for the grass that grows between the rows to manage water uptake (Robert Ampeau was one of the first to incorporate the practice in Burgundy), than for the obvious fact that the vines are all pruned neatly, exactly forty centimeters higher than their neighbors,' which is the height that their perfectly maintained, fifty year-old enjambeur (tractor) prunes them. The vines look like specimen plants; the enjambeur looks like a museum piece. Robert Ampeau was the proprietor of some of the most exalted vines in Burgundy, which he acknowledged was a great privilege, but he always described himself as un ouvrier (a worker). So it wasn't surprising to hear that he was buried with no one but his wife and son present. When asked by his friend and neighbor Jean-Pierre Diconne why there was no funeral, Michel replied that it was his father's wish. Robert had told him many times in his later years, that as a worker, it wasn't his place to inconvenience others by obliging them to attend his burial.