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.