A guest post by Louise Hurren…
Louise Hurren moved from London to the southern French wine-making region of Languedoc-Roussillon in 2002. She works with Languedoc-Roussillon wine producers, providing marketing and communications consultancy to help them promote themselves and their wines to an international audience.
The Outsiders http://www.facebook.com/Outsiders.Languedoc is her personal project.
So: there was an English man, an Irish man, a French man and a… sounds like a bad joke, right? Add a Swiss woman, a couple of Swedes, an American, a Dutch woman, a Welsh man, and you’ve more or less got the Outsiders.
I created this group in 2010 because I wanted to do something that was more creative that your average wine tasting by grape variety, by vintage, by wine style or by appellation. As a public relations consultant working in the wine field, I still get asked to do more traditional-style tastings, but what gets me excited is being to create my own group based on their stories, their willingness to muck in, their personalities.. and yes, the quality of their wines.
Since moving from London to Languedoc-Roussillon in 2002 I’ve been introduced to a whole bunch of wine producers, some of whom are more gung-ho than others. It’s the gung-ho guys I’m attracted to. Life is too short to sit around waiting for chance to come knocking at your door. I want to make things happen – so I did.
I asked people who seemed like-minded if they wanted to join a very loosely-organised, informal group of winemakers. What they’d all have in common would be their “otherness” – they had all chosen to come from somewhere else in the world, to make their own wine, here in Languedoc-Roussillon. “Somewhere else” could be Azerbijan or Australia, France or New Zealand. It wasn’t about nationality: what mattered was the deliberate decision to make quality wine, and to make it here, where the terroir, climate and geology combine to make a package with real potential.
No-one in the Outsiders group was born and bred in a Languedoc winemaking family – far from it. A couple of the Outsiders were involved in making or marketing others’ wines before crossing the line and becoming producers themselves. Brigitte Chevalier was head of export with Jean-Luc Thunevin in Saint-Emilion, while Eric Fabre was previously with Château Lafite: both ditched Bordeaux for a life more southerly.
The other Outsiders do not come from wine backgrounds: their former careers include nursery school teaching, business management, advertising, sales, strategic planning, TV production, property construction, investment banking, finance and taxation. With their previous experience in other fields, in other countries, they bring a different vision, and what I hope is a refreshing approach. Coming from “outside” means having an alternative perspective, which can translate into doing things differently.
The Outsiders are:
Domaine Cébène www.cebene.fr
Domaine Jones www.domainejones.com
Chateau de Combebelle www.combebelle.com
Mas Gabriel www.mas-gabriel.com
Mas des Dames www.masdesdames.fr
Chateau Rives-Blanques www.rives-blanques.com
Domaine Treloar www.domainetreloar.com
Chateau d’Anglès www.chateaudangles.com
Domaine Hegarty Chamans www.hegartychamans.com
La Grange de Quatre Sous (no website)
Domaine de Calet www.domaine-de-calet.com
Domaine Vella Frontera www.vellafrontera.com
Domaine Sainte Rose www.domaine-sainte-rose.com
Follow the Outsiders’ adventures on Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/Outsiders.Languedoc