My past activities
Before Burgundy - Activitées éxercées pendant cette période
As a student, I enrolled in the merchant marine, sailing in the St Lawrence Seaway and the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean. This is where I was bewitched by the mists of « Avalon ». At the time, my dream is to become a writter, a poet. I started studies of French and Canadian literature, to stop them quickly. My work on the boats allowing me to earn enough money to ski, and to travel within the foundation of my culture and our civilizations in Greece, Italy and France. I also worked in hospitals with diseable children. Then came the idea to immerse myself in France for a year to feel an other face of the French language.
1983 : My arrival in Burgundy - Activitées éxercées pendant cette période
Wine has always been part of my family environment. At every meal we had some on the table, something quite rare at the time in North America. Around the age of 18, with a circle of friends, we organized tastings and read a lot of books on the subject.
This passion takes 5 of us to participate in an exchange programm to go to the harvest in Burgundy. It was a memorable human experience. We found ourselves at the Château de Chorey-les-Beaune. François Germain, the owner and winemaker of that estate, impressed by our wine culuture and our passion decides to hire us while his team was already complete.
He does not hesitate to give us responsabilities on the work in the winery. This was the begining of commitment which would never be stopped. The gear was engaged.
Feeling ready to immerge myself in the French culture I decided to return to Burgundy the following year, to work in the vineyards and registrer for the wine school in Beaune, in a special section for adults. I was the first of many foreigners to attend this school.
When the courses started, I had the chance to meet le Comte Armand who had heard of me from others winemakers. He proposes me to direct his wine estate in Pommard, le Clos des Epeneaux and become his winemaker. I accept spontaneously, a decission that would influence my whole life.
January 1985 to August 1999 - Le Clos des Epeneaux-Comte Armand, in Pommard, Burgundy - Activitées éxercées pendant cette période
At my arrival, the Domaine consisted solely of the beautiful plot of 5,28ha (13acres) the monopoly of Pommard 1er cru Clos des Epeneaux. Most of the production was sold in bulk to negociants from Beaune and Nuit-St-Georges. I had the mission to develop the estate bottling and achieved it within 5 years, in France to the Michelin star restaurants, in speciality wineshop but also exporting to all of Western Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania.
In 1994, the Domaine acquieres vineyards in Volnay and Volnay 1er cru Fremiets.
In 1995, a new expension with vineyards on Auxey-Duresses and Meursault. The Domaine is now farming 11ha (27 acres) and this will allow me, finally, to begin to vinify white wines.
In the early years of this adventure, in 1988, more precisely I became interested in organic farming and biodynamics, well before the current mode.
From the start, I was helped by the press, obtening several notes about 90 from the critic R. Parker Jr. The Wine Spectator got into it also, with great scores, even puting the Clos des Epeneaux 96 in 19th position in the top 100 list, ahead of all other wines from Burgundy.
Michel Bettane, the most influencial French wine journalist, declares the Clos des Epeneaux being the global benchmark of modern Pinot Noir.
Nostos Estate, in Crete, Greece: From 1993, in parallel with the Domaine du Comte Armand, I spend my summer holidays and travel to Crete for many short stays during the year, to help my friend Theodore Manousakis create Nostos Vineyards in the magnificiant arid mountains to the west of Crete, above Hania. We planted Rhône varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Roussanne and an indigenous Greek varietal, Assirthyko.
September 1999 to March 2006 - Le Domaine de la Vougeraie, in Prémeaux-Prissey, in Burgundy - Activitées éxercées pendant cette période
After 15 great years spent in Pommard at Comte Armand, a new oportunity, and wonderful challenge came to me. Nathalie Bergés-Boisset and her brother Jean-Charles Boisset, children of Burgundian tycoon Jean-Claude Boisset who is heading the 3rd largest French wine group, desire to create an estate that would be the showcase of their wineries. In the summer 1999, we gave birth to Domaine de la Vougeraie that consists of 38ha (94 acres) from Bourgogne AOC level to the Grands Crus (1/3 in the Côte de Beaune and 2/3 in the Côte de Nuits).
It is the largest Domaine to be created since World War II and in fact, one of the most important by its size.
My first attentions are to observe the nature, understand the terroir, respect the environment and control the yields. We develop and generalize organic farming and biodynamic. Again, this got a lot of attention from the wine medias.
Outside of Burgundy - Activitées éxercées pendant cette période
During these 7 years, heading the Domaine de la Vougeraie, I also participate in the development of several projects for the Boisset group outside of Burgundy.
Le Clos Jordanne in Canada: This estate was born in 1999 from a partnership between Vincor and Boisset. I supervised the planting of 60ha (148 acres) of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on the escarpment of the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario. I was the technical manager until 2006.
Thomas Bachelder, a Montrealer who has lived in Burgundy and attended the same school as me, was hired as winemaker and vineyard manager in 2003 and took the reputation of these wines to incredible heights.
Link : www.leclosjordanne.com
Viňa Progresso in Uruguay: Association with Pisano family.
Château de Pierreux in Brouilly, in the Beaujolais: Where we put in place new vinifications techniques more suited to the actual taste.
Link : www.chateaudepierreux.com
Château de la Croix Martelle in the Minervois, Languedoc: Where we put in place the organic farming and modernize the style of the wines.
De Loach in Sonoma, California: Important producer of the Russian River purchase by Boisset in 2004.
Link : www.deloachvineyards.com
Veranda in Chili: Exciting venture that we started in 2002 with Boisset and that I now continue with my Chilian's partners VC Family estate.
Lien : www.cw.cl
Schloss Halbturn in Austria: This is not part of Boisset, I helped here my friend Karl Heinz Wolf in the renovations of the winery and the cellar and gave advice on the management of the vineyards and the vinification and ageing of the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and the St Laurent. Very nice project. The Pinot Noir and the St Laurent had been acclamed by the local press and declared best of their category 3 years in a row.
Link : www.schlosshalbturn.at