The home of Vin en Vacances is an old winery that had been abandoned many decades ago until we rescued it in 2017. It was slowly crumbling but still stood proud amidst the decay and over the past few years we have had the pleasure of breathing new life into it.
During the preceding 60 years the roof had fallen in and the ceiling had rotted as had the old barrels and foudre where the wines used to be made and matured. The building stands prominently by the swift and normally shallow waters of the Clamoux river in the pretty village of Villeneuve-Minervois close to Carcassonne. In the days of bulk wine production, it played it’s part in churning out the cheap deep red wines that Languedoc was once famous for. But when we found it nature had taken over. Misshapen fig trees smothered the courtyard and the old press was rusting away in a dark corner.
The stable where the plough horses had munched their hay after a long day in the vines was a forlorn looking place with rotting harness and old cartwheels leaning discarded against the walls. It was a tangle of forgotten jumble but for us it was a coup de foudre, love at first sight. We bought it without venturing upstairs as there was no longer a staircase and besides the floor was too dangerous to set foot on. But looking up through a gaping hole we could see an old carriage minus its wheels dangling on rusty chains from the rafters. It harked back to an era of prosperity. A time when Languedoc fulfilled a role of bulk wines for the masses. The carriage had been winched up when the moat-like river that swirls around the walls broke its banks and the horses and people fled. Perhaps they intended to come back when the waters receded but maybe the aftermath of the flood was too difficult to face or too expensive to fix. And so this place remained empty for six decades until we came along.
We feel privileged to be the current custodians of this lovely old building and look forward to welcoming you to L’Ancienne Cave to share a glass of the quality wine now produced in this region.