Message in a bottle

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Q1. You live in the Gard, a famous area for wines and with a great tradition and history. What’s so special about the region?

"The Gard is a small ‘district’ with a lot of different areas: small mountains in the north and west with forests and remote villages. South the little Camargue (the ‘big’ Camargue being in the Bouches-du-Rhône on the other side) and the Mediterranean Sea.In the center, the Roman city of Nîmes, a dynamic trade center and a very colorful and animated town. East, we have the Rhône river, with Avignon on the ‘Vaucluse’ side. This is where I live, it is part of the Côtes-du-Rhône area, a well-known French quality terroir."


Our domain is a familial one, my great-grandfather started it when he came back from WWI.

Benoit Fabre, winemaker

Q2. What is your wine-making process? What grapes are used?

"We grow mostly red grapes, primarily the strong Grenache and Syrah as is customary here, but also the lesser-known spicy Carignan and smooth Mourvèdre for the reds, the fruity Cinsault for my rosé blend and the flowery Viognier for my white. We are the only ones left in my village to still harvest manually with a team of ten pickers. Then, my brother and I work in the cellar in a traditional spirit but with modern tools!

We are the only ones left in my village to still harvest manually with a team of ten pickers.

Benoit Fabre, winemaker

Q3. How widely are your wines sold?

"Our wines are sold via almost every possible channel: from our cellar door, at local restaurants, camping’s and bars, ‘caviste’ wine shops, via the internet, wine fairs and through export, mostly to the US, Canada, and Germany."

We are also getting our vineyards certified as fully organic.

Benoit Fabre, winemaker

Q4. How does one get into winemaking?

"Our domain is a familial one, my great-grandfather started it when he came back from WWI. My grand-father, grand-mother, father, mother, and brother all contributed to the development of our vineyards and wines. I studied and worked in IT first and I officially joined my brother part-time about 10 years ago, but you can say that I was always part of the familial wine business."

Q5. Do you have plans for improvements?

"Although a very traditional, seasonal and, ‘stubborn’ industry, agriculture is constantly moving and improving, due to climate change, modernization and, market requests. We very recently built a new modern storage area next to our cellar, so the wines can age better, and a little apartment so our customers can stay on-site for the night or a weekend. We are also getting our vineyards certified as fully organic."

Q6. How is your wine received?

"We make wines that we love, and we value the quality of our wines. If we feel a vintage is a little below-par in quality, we will lower the quantities, work on the blend or even decide not to bottle. Thanks to this, our wines are very well received on, with some bottles being awarded medals at prestigious wine fairs, like Signargues in Paris and Brussels. But most importantly our customers are faithful and follow us year after year, without even tasting the new vintages."

Corona had virtually no impact on winemaking and growing vines.

Benoit Fabre

Q7. What’s your role within Sofico? (How) is the corona life interfering with the winemaking?

"I am a part-time project manager and developer at Sofico, I help Sofico Services France maintain their legacy software, Car Systems. Corona had virtually no impact on winemaking and growing vines. The work needed to be done and we could do it with almost no restrictions as we mostly work individually, and, in the vineyards, it was easy. We had to take some extra precautions of course for the manual harvest but everything went fine. Selling wine on the other hand has been completely different, alternating complete shutdowns with unusually busy periods, like last summer."

Q8. What’s your favorite wine?

"I will be fair and not pick one of my wines, although we grow them to our taste. But there are many prestigious terroirs in France and many great wines, so if I have to pick one, I will go for another Viognier, a Condrieu, a white wine from the north of the Rhône valley. It is quite pricy, but occasionally, it is a nice treat."

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