A native of the Languedoc, Ludovic Engelvin fell in love with the notion of viticulture already as a teenager. Without family vineyards of his own, he travelled and worked for various domaines to learn as much as he could. However, he didn’t yet have enough money to settle and dedicate himself to winemaking, so he became a sommelier, and eventually set up a wine shop.
Although impatient at the time, this stint working as a sommelier would become an indispensable experience for Ludovic. He was able to taste wines he otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to taste, and hence formed a complex palate, understanding what inspired him (and what didn’t inspire him). He was drawn more and more to the realm of organic and biodynamic farming, and natural winemaking. When the opportunity came to take on a parcel of vines in his home region, the call was too strong to resist.
People: Ludovic Engelvin
Place: IGP Gard, Languedoc
Varieties: Grenache Noir, Cinsault and Mourvèdre. Ludovic has also recently planted more Cinsault, as well as a massal selection of the very rare indigenous variety, Oeillade Noire
Did You Know? Ludovic worked with the iconic winemaker, Didier Dagueneau, in the Loire. It was here that he discovered the artisan approach to farming and winemaking. This experience, combined with the organic and biodynamic wines he tasted while working as a sommelier, convinced him to pursue this path as a farmer and winemaker.
LITTLEWINE met with Ludovic on a trip to London in 2022 for this interview
LITTLEWINE: Hi Ludovic, thank you for meeting with us. We love your wines, and admire your journey. Please could you tell us a little more about your beginnings?
Ludovic: Great to meet you. It all began after school, when I did an internship with a viticulturist. I like nature, and wine has always been interesting to me. My grandpa worked in wine, and even though I never met him, at my grandma’s house there were still barrels and things like that. I really enjoyed the internship, and it made me decide to pursue studies at an agricultural college. Then, I worked at various domaines in France, and also went to Rioja in Spain. In Rioja, I saw a different kind of viticulture and winemaking. It was very industrial, and that wasn’t the kind of wine I wanted to make. I came back to France, and went to work with Didier Dagueneau in the Loire. There, I discovered another kind of viticulture again. This time it was artisanal, and that gave me the desire to make wine and set up on my own. But I didn’t have money, nor did I have any family vineyards… It was complicated. So, I became a sommelier. That was great as it gave me the opportunity to taste many amazing wines that I wouldn’t have been able to try otherwise. It was fascinating.
LITTLEWINE: When (and how) did you decide to take the plunge to become a winemaker?
Ludovic: I started making wine in 2010, when I rented a little vineyard. I was also a wine merchant at the time; I had a shop near Nîmes. Then, in 2011 and 2012 I took on more vines, and eventually in 2013 I sold my wine shop to focus solely on making wine.
LITTLEWINE: How did you decide on making wine in the Languedoc – had that always been the plan?
Ludovic: I was asking myself the question: if I make wine, how will I do it? As I didn’t have any family vineyards or anything like that, it also became the question of where? At the start, I wasn’t actually looking for vineyards in the area where I came from; rather elsewhere. However, the opportunity arose to take on a parcel in my home region, and so I started making wine here. It became evident to me that I wanted to make wine from the region I come from, even if...