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Jean David

In the late 60s, Jean David’s father gave him some vineyard plots to experiment with. They were the least productive (and thus considered the least interesting). What his father hadn’t realised was that the wine produced from them was in fact more interesting; quantity does not mean quality in the wine world. From a gut feeling, he decided to work organically from the get-go – a rarity at a time when many growers believed that chemical agriculture was the way forward.

Friendships were forged with winemaker friends from further afield, such as Jean-Pierre Frick, who shared the same values. Organic wine fairs were born, and slowly but surely, the world began to take note.

When Jean retired, he passed the baton to his son-in-law, Jean-Luc Auffret, — but it was more than just the winemaking baton that was passed. Jean-Luc, who had worked in IT beforehand, found himself working outside for the first time. There was no going back to his desk.

"Old vines are a treasure, they’re magic. If you want them, you can’t just get them. If the generation before you hadn’t planted them, they wouldn’t be there. So really, they’re not just a treasure — rather, they’re a heritage."

Jean-Luc Auffret

People:  Jean David & Jean-Luc Auffret 

Place:  Côtes-du-Rhône

Varieties:  Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, Counoise, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Roussanne and Bourboulenc

Hectares:  17

Farming:  Organic 

Wines: Click here

Did You Know? Although the wines of the domaine are blends, Jean-Luc has also begun to experiment with varietal wines. Tapatara is 100% Counoise, and Tipitiri is 100% Cinsault. Although they’re less well-known, they’re two underdog varieties that Jean-Luc is particularly fond of, and the wines produced from them are spectacular. They put in a lot of effort when it comes to replanting, working with the renowned nurseryman Lilian Bérillon to plant massal selection vines, instead of clones, when replacing dead vines.

These days, Jean-Luc manages all of the vineyards. But before Jean David had retired, it was actually another aspect of nature that first drew Jean-Luc to working outside. A close friend of Jean-Luc’s — Sylvère Petit — is a filmmaker and wildlife enthusiast. He launched a docuseries about animals, filmed from their point of view.

“He wanted us to be on the same levels as animals — not a human being telling us about them, as per all the other nature documentaries.”

One of these was about bees, so he learnt the ins-and-outs of beekeeping and kept bees with his father. Jean-Luc himself became interested too, and before he knew it, he had received some bee hives for a Christmas present.

"Before that, I knew nothing about bees. But I decided to learn as much as I could — buying books and speaking to beekeepers. I was still working in IT at the time, and when I was going to see the bees, I thought — hey, it’s not bad being outside… working with living things and the seasons... at the end of the day that’s just...

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