17 February 2014

Our wine-maker neighbors featured in the local paper

A couple of weeks ago, the regional Loire Valley newspaper, La Nouvelle République, ran an article about our neighbors Patricia and Bruno Denis, who own and operate the Domaine de la Renaudie winery. They have nearly 75 acres of vines in the area, growing Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay Noir, Cabernet Franc, Côt (Malbec), Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc grapes for both still and sparkling wines.

Here's a translation of the article, which you can find here (as long as the link works).
In the days leading up to the Loire Valley Wines trade show in Angers, international wine importers
are criss-crossing the local vineyards. One of them will stop in at the Domaine de la Renaudie.

In the week before the Loire Valley Wines trade show opens its doors in Angers in early February, 10 or 12 American, Japanese, Brazilian, and Danish wine importers will be heading out to meet with local winemakers. The program is designed to help importers get a better feel for the Loire Valley vineyards by putting them in contact with the people who grow the grapes and make the wines. Three dozen events are scheduled. Nineteen wine producers are participating, including Patricia and Bruno Denis of the Domaine de la Renaudie in Mareuil-sur-Cher, who we interviewed.

Why did this particular program appeal to you?

Bruno and I got involved in the wine exporting business early on. I have a degree in oenology and I like learning languages — English, German, and now a few words and expressions in Chinese! We export 45% of our production at Domaine de la Renaudie, mostly to other European countries but also to the United States, Canada, Japan, and China.

What importers are coming to Domaine de la Renaudie
under the ‘meet the wine-makers’ program?

There will be one importer from New York. We expect him Friday evening. He wants to see a family-run operation — "authentic" vignerons (grower-producers). The description of our business that we sent to the organizers of the program seems to have piqued his interest.

With this kind of person-to-person exchange, it must be
easier to make meaningful contacts.

In past years — not that long ago — the only contact we local wine producers had with buyers from other countries was during trade shows. That’s the way it worked in Angers and in Germany, where we attended the Prowein show. It got harder and harder to make appointments for those kinds of meetings. We would have to leave the show floor, which is never a good idea — even for an hour! — for private sessions with buyers who wanted to place their orders.

Having the importers come to see our winery and talk with us is a better way for them to get to know producers like us who make the kinds of wines they are interested in. Most local winery owners are eager to meet them. This kind of program to facilitate contacts and organize get-togethers is a great addition to the Anger wine show’s schedule.

A higher proportion and wider range of Loire Valley wines
than ever are being exported...
There are no set rules. Some wine producers are more active on export markets than others, but they might not be well represented on a local or regional level. We do both. We try to work with importers from many different countries, because political, diplomatic, or economic events in any given country can have a big effect on our business. Three years ago, we had a large business going with Japanese importers, who had ordered 15,000 bottles (1,250 cases). And then the tsunami happened! We had the same problem a few years ago when the British pound suddenly fell against the euro, causing problems with a similar-sized order from the United Kingdom.
 I did a post about the Domaine de la Renaudie in 2008, and another one in 2009, with photos.


  1. Patricia is saying exactly what I've heard other vignerons say about the difficulties of making contact with foreign importers. It's almost a matter of chance if you happen to luck a meeting with an importer who likes your wine. This new initiative sounds good and will help with the marketing burden for small scale producers. Presenting your product in situ is so much better than at a trade show.

  2. "The program is designed to help importers get a better feel for the Loire Valley vineyards..."
    most certainly a valuable move!!

    In the UK you see Chinon [as a Loire Valley red]...
    and Sancerre as a white...
    never the red]...
    and if you are lucky some Bourgueil and Saumur....
    such a small sample of the styles and flavours from the Loire Valley.
    Specialist wine shops in the BIG cities might have more...
    I don't know...
    Leeds certainly didn't!

    A few years back, now, Oz Clarke and James May...
    [one wine 'celeb' and one motoring/polymath 'celeb']...
    did a program on the wines of France.
    They missed out the Loire Valley entirely...
    we were horribly dissapointed and couldn't understand why...
    unless it was just too complex for Oz Clarke to get his head round!!

  3. We were given a wine hamper from Fortnum and Mason by a school Tim did some work for, which contained a couple of wines from the Loire Valley.

    I love the wines produced at La Renaudie, particularly the pink sparkles.

    I hope the initiative makes a difference.

  4. Bonjour, Ken. Je crois que le cépage côt est connu sous le nom de malbec et pas de merlot.

  5. Fortnum and Mason's...
    Aha, now from them you might well get something more special!!

  6. Merci Dean. Où avais-je la tête quand je tapais ça ?


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