2 – You are insane!!!!

« You are insane, we are not buying this!!!! »

My husband was, clearly, not impressed by the charm and potential of the place.

I could hear myself replying :

« Yes, we will buy this, and quickly too. Everything needs to be done, yes, but the place is magnificent with an enormous potential. Don’t you worry, I’m taking care of everything. »

Voilà… it was said!!!

Now, I had no choice but to undertake the whole thing.

My husband understood that, on this one, I needed to go it alone.

I threw myself into this adventure as if my life depended on it. A vital need, really. I certainly needed, at that point in my life, to get through a project of that scale.

I wasn’t crippled by any kind of fear. In retrospect, I probably should have been, for I never realised how hard it was going to be.

Satellite view

I had to convince a banker, thus securing the required funds. The project was massive, and I needed solid arguments before presenting this projet so the bank would lend me those funds, as if it was a self-evident thing to do, even for a project as crazy as this one. Must have been the way I described the whole idea or my enthusiasm that did the trick because said banker was convinced… on the spot. Hurray!!

Then, I had to find the right people to assist me in all those key steps; restructuring the vineyard, saving as many vines as possible, restoring the winemaking facility (the ‘chai de vinification’), building a warehouse, creating storehouses for barrels and bottles, designing and erecting a tasting room, renovating the dwelling house, restoring the old building, etc… All of this could only happen with time, little by little, managing urgent tasks as they came along and delaying some goals close to my heart but which needed to be postponed for lack of funds.

With Yann, in an abandoned plot of vines

For starters, I needed to secure the assistance of a very good oenology lab, perfectly skilled in winemaking techniques – or vinification – but also experts in wine growing. My love for vines not being enough to be knowledgable on the subject. The latest studies I engaged into when I went back to school a few years before – of my own volition, purely for enjoyment purposes – were focused on Art.

Making wine is an artform… maybe I had all my chances in the world to succeed in making a wine in which I could express my artist’s sensitivity. Not so simple!

I must admit that, before the Domain adventure, I wasn’t the biggest wine lover. I did not drink that much, just a glass from time to time to enhance a good meal. My life wasn’t turned upside-down by a love for wine but – as I told you already – by my love for vines.

With Les Vallons vines

I needed to learn everything with regards to wine…

In hindsight, I must say that a good deal of recklessness was required to embark on an adventure of that calibre…

I had to battle against loved ones constantly telling me it was a crazy idea to get myself into something like this… that it is very hard work… especially for a woman inside a male-centric industry. Even though the number of female-owned vineyards is growing, the wine circles have always predominantly been comprised of men.

Especially tough as I had no precedence in the profession, so… no credibility… I needed to fight twice as hard to prove my choice to be the right one.

I never had any doubts… not for a second… I was going to make it… sure thing!!!!

My children were very supportive; they had their own lives in different places, but were proud to see their mother’s work and resolve and it galvanized me even more. Their input and outlook really mean the world to me and it would have been a very difficult situation to live throught if they had not given me their fullunconditional and enthusiastic support on this project.

With my children, Marc, Yann and Sophie – 2005

They would follow, from afar or a bit closer – depending on where their lives lead them – all the steps I was telling them about in great detail, and they actually came to the vineyard as much as they could to see every new achievement.

I’m convinced that, in a corner of their mind, they must have been telling themselves that their mother was a bit…how shall I put this… unreasonable… or even maybe… completely insane, to embark on an adventure like this one…

I was also unconditionally supported by my dog Blue, who was following me everywhere; my wonderful companion I loved so much…

Blue and I
Blue and I – 2006

To be continued… next week. À bientôt.

Please leave any comments you may have in the section below.

Adapted from the original French by Yann Sicamois.

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