About the winery
"When you have a birthright, you want it to survive."
His mother describes his principal quality as being ‘able to adapt to anyone’. He has effectively been able to adapt to his new trade as a wine-maker, coming from a French family living in Algeria (Pieds Noirs), farmers of both cereal and vines. His grand father bought the domain on returning to France, after independence. Louis-Clément is the first David to uniquely work the vineyard. Ten years of further studies with two engineering degrees under his belt in commerce and agriculture, he wanted to start out on his own.
He remembers his first vintage of 2008 as it began with a devastating hail storm that even cut through the trelissing wires. No Worries! He sorts and makes his first wines. Yields fall, Downy Mildew ruins the rest of the harvest. Despite all that, when the tenant farmer leaves, he grabs the opportunity to take over the family vineyard. Today he works alone on the 4.12 hectares but from time to time employs seasonal workers. This doesn’t take away the pleasure of pruning the vines with his mother.
In his hamlet of La Bottière, the imposing house is surrounded by vines, those of his beloved ‘cru’. This young man has Juliénas in the blood. Not content with owning wonderful plots he seeks out other reputable climates in the appellation (He dreams of Les Mouilles, Les Capitans or Les Chers). As for digging deeper, Chardonnay arrives soon after as the idea has been mulling for some time in his mind. Meanwhile he deals with the corollary difficulties in taking over an old estate. ‘I have economically feeble yields because my vineyards are made up of old vines’ An extensive replanting project awaits him.
Forty to forty five hectolitres per hectare would suit him fine but he is not there yet... The transition, in 2001, to organic farming also contributes to the lower yields. The aging process goes from oak barrels for certain wines to cement vats for others which gives fruitiness. The future is his present. Just like a chess player, he is always thinking one step ahead. ‘When you have a birthright, you want it to survive’. And so, yes, if he has a child he will help him or her to subsequently take over.
On the business side, 60% of his wines are sold, at present, in bulk, and he has given himself four more years before all is sold in bottles. His tasting cellar is a mixture of modern and traditional styles and can accommodate fifty people. Numerous press articles placed here and there confirm his quality and that he is on the right track. Professional recognition and that of his pairs reassures him, thinking sometimes that perhaps he made the wrong choice. Certain wines such as the grand ‘Saint Antoine’ are appreciated by the independent merchants. He hopes to create markets in the USA where he believes they have a culture of ‘terroir’. He knows this as he spent two months in New York and Washington in 2000. But then, if you had said he would be one day working in wine he would have replied, ‘Certainly not!’. Did I hear someone say he could adapt?