About the winery
Philip has been a confirmed Francophile and passionate wine enthusiast for over thirty years. Despite a business career that required constant travel and high pressure negotiation he still managed to study the WSET Diploma in Wine Studies and so gained considerable theoretical knowledge of wine making and wine growing areas.
“Theory is all very well”, he says, “but seeing those concepts that I studied come to life at CHATEAU BELLEVUE LA FORET is a deeply satisfying and fulfilling experience. I now understand what is required to maintain and improve the quality standards of CHATEAU BELLEVUE LA FORET and I am committed to making the necessary investment in the years to come.”
The vineyard was founded by Patrick Germain in 1974. Patrick’s ancestors were Burgundian winegrowers who moved to Algeria in the 1840’s and continued their winegrowing there. Patrick was born in Algeria and worked there and in Morocco until the political upheavals of the sixties & seventies forced his return to France.
His preference was to create his own estate rather than take over an existing one and this conviction led to the creation of CHATEAU BELLEVUE LA FORET. He found suitable land in the Fronton –a former vineyard in the Forêt Royale. It had been moribund since the extreme winter, the “gel” of 1956. Bringing all his experience to bear he re-created the estate just at the time the Cotes de Frontonnais received the status of AOC (Appelation d’Origine Controlee). Judging that the domaine with its excellent soils and assured sunlight provided the basic ingredients for a first class vineyard he gathered together a team, many of whom had worked with his family in North Africa, and laid out this large area – 112 hectares of vines – in a logical and easily maintained manner.
Four years later the fruits of his labours were to be seen in the first harvest and bottling of the Classique red which was to go on to win multitudinous awards and establish BELLEVUE LA FORET as the “fleuron” of Fronton. Christian Ivorra – now winemaker at CHATEAU BELLEVUE LA FORET– was one of the first to join the team and has spent his entire career there. Diane Germain-Aperce’ – Patrick’s daughter – joined in 1991 after two years of work experience following a business diploma in Northeastern University in Boston USA. Diane now heads up all sales & marketing activities.
Today the 112ha (270 acre) vineyard is the largest single privately owned wine estate in the emerging Southwest of France. The wines – which have developed from a single red to a range of six reds and two rose’s - are regularly awarded medals in competitions worldwide and have gained a wide array of loyal consumers. The wines are sold in wine shops and restaurants throughout France and are exported to more than twenty countries including Canada, the USA,Germany, Switzerland,Belgium, Japan,Ireland, United Kingdom and Central Europe. China and the far East are now emerging as new and exciting markets for our products.