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Vin en Vacances

Languedoc Guardians is our way of giving back by recognising, supporting, and promoting the amazing men and women who make their living from the Languedoc land – the place we call home.

Giving something back to the region who welcomed me with open arms has felt so good. When I arrived in Languedoc in 2009 with a dream to run vineyard tours in a little-known wine region I think a lot of people thought I was a bit crazy. First of all, I couldn’t speak French and secondly I vaguely knew only a couple of people, but I was determined to have a go.

One of the first people I met was Emmanuel Puy and his generosity with his time helped me to get my business going and I regularly took my clients to his winery to taste his wine and meet this humble and talented wine maker. He had inherited his vines from his father who in turn had inherited them from his father before him, but Emmanuel was the first of the three to make wine and put it in bottle. Up until that moment the grapes had always been taken to the local co-op or sold to Négociant. Emmanuel was one of the new generation bucking the trend and changing the quality of Languedoc wine.

As I explained in a previous blog post, Emmanuel stopped making wine a few years back, discouraged by the difficulty this region experienced trying to shake off its poor reputation as a bulk producer rather than a quality one. But last year he thought he’d give it another go and I was delighted to hear he was back in the business of making wine and looking forward to tasting his latest cuvees. But I hadn’t got round to popping to see him when I saw on Facebook his vineyards had been hit hard by spring frost. Take a look at Emmanuel showing us the damage to his viognier vines.

I remember the day Kate, my right-hand girl at Vin en Vacances, and I were on our way to a rosé tasting with Steve and Carol of Princess & Bear (Languedoc Wine Merchants in the USA) and chatting in the car about the frost. We had heard of many wine makers who had been affected and we wanted to help but what could we do? Gradually as we drove through the beautiful Minervois countryside the idea of Vine Guardians came to us.

‘But we can’t help them all’ said Kate, ‘how are we going to choose just one?’

 

 

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I immediately thought of Emmanuel Puy, so as I drove Kate messaged him and set up a meeting for that afternoon. It was a full-on day and after a tasting of over 20 rosé wines and a delicious lunch we headed to the Puys and met with Emmanuel and Leanne his wife and by the end of the day we had pretty much formulated the whole Guardianship plan.

The next day I wrote the mailing that would be sent out to all the Vin en Vacances clients and to members of Quaffers & Scoffers, our Gourmet club and by the next day we had our first Guardians.

Kate and I have been bowled over by the response and the generosity of people from all over the world. So far, we have over 100 people who answered the call and became Guardians and some of them came from far corners of the world including the UK, France, Brazil, Canada and the USA. But I saw a problem looming…

A Guardianship brings you 6 bottles of the Puy wine so getting the wine to various parts of the globe, especially the USA was going to be a challenge until I had another light bulb moment and asked two amazing Guardians if they could step in to help and that’s how Princess & Bear came on board and will be shipping Puy wine to the USA this autumn.

Last week Emmanuel and his wife Leanne invited as many Guardians as could make it to visit their adopted vines and see their names standing proudly at the end of the rows they are sponsoring. It was a touching scene to see so many kind and generous people gathered in the Carignan vineyard listening to Emmanuel passionately explaining how he keeps the vines so healthy.

Its not too late to become a Vine Guardian to Puy Vignoble as some rows are still unclaimed so if you know anyone who would like to become a Vine Guardian please send this email along to them and remember it also makes a great present.

Join the Vine Guardian Programme here

Last week Emmanuel and his wife Leanne invited as many Guardians as could make it to visit their adopted vines and see their names standing proudly at the end of the rows they are sponsoring. It was a touching scene to see so many kind and generous people gathered in the Carignan vineyard listening to Emmanuel passionately explaining how he keeps the vines so healthy.

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