The Family

This is a photo that moves me emotionally. I’m in the middle, sitting on my father’s ankles, wedged between my brother Gilles and my sister Claudine. I must be three or four years old. My little sister Josiane has yet to be born. But our “clan” is already formed, a tight-knit group. We share among us a love for simple things and a joyful energy which animates everything we do together.

My father Antonin was born in 1927. At 14, he started working at Domaine Pierre Amadieu, and at the young age of 30, he became the estate’s vineyard manager. He planted or replanted all the Amadieu vineyards, and worked with a horse, not a tractor.

A few years after the 1956 frost, which decimated the olive trees that were planted after the phylloxera crisis in the late nineteenth century, my father cleared the land that he had inherited from his father, who was a shepherd and the town’s postman. On this land, in the shadow of the Dentelles, he planted vineyards.

This was a key moment not only in the history of Gigondas but also in the history of our family.

Initially, my father sold his grapes to Pierre Amadieu. Then in 1978, he decided to start making wine, with just three tanks and an old press. His first bottled vintage was 1979, which he sold in 1981. Just one year later, my father retired from his post at Domaine Amadieu and devoted himself to his winery. He passed away in 1988 after a short illness.

My mother Genevieve was born in Avignon in 1934. My father’s boss at Amadieu had hired her as a governess for his four children. This is how Genevieve met Antonin. And the rest was history…

My parents built a life for us that was very secure and solid. We four children were always around. My mother as long as I can remember has taken care of the family’s wine shop in the heart of Gigondas.

With Genevieve, you don’t need to ask questions. She’ll tell you what you need to know, without you even knowing it!

I started working at our winery when I was 26 years old, in 1989, just after my father died. Before that, I worked in the cellars of Domaine Amadieu from 1981 to 1989.

It took me some seven or eight years to realize that the job I had taken on was a serious undertaking. I am indebted to Christian Voeux, who was then winemaker at Château Mont-Redon in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. He is a man of extraordinary knowledge and great humility. For nearly two years, we would meet with other winemakers monthly to taste wines from our region and beyond.

These meetings woke up the winemaker in me. They stimulated my intellect and my palate; I learned to taste wine properly, recognizing qualities and potential defects.

Gilles is my older brother. He first started working with my father at the winery in 1985. Once Gilles was on board, my father started leasing some vineyards in Lafare, which today are the source of our Beaumes de Venise. Gilles works mainly behind the scenes; he’s quiet, often taciturn, and he hates having his picture taken. His passion is our vineyards, and he has dedicated all his energy and strength to taking care of them.

Josiane is my little sister. She joined the family business in 2014. She takes care of the business office and administration, and often helps out my mother Genevieve in the wine shop.