Katie Jones' husband is finally free to go it alone... thanks to you
- Meet Jean Marc Astruc... a respected grape grower with 30 years' experience, and Katie Jones' husband and pillar of strength. He's so respected, he was made President of his local co-operative in 1998.
- As President of the co-op, Jean Marc believed in innovation, and investment in quality, not quantity. But when the recession hit, his strategy was severely tested. After a couple of tough years and price pressure from the supermarkets, the growers had enough and kicked him out in 2011.
- Jean Marc is now free to make delicious wines from his own vines - a dream he's held for 30 years... and it's all thanks to you!!
Map of the Vineyard
Jean Marc Astruc's Story
To briefly introduce myself...I took over my family vineyards at the age of 19 after 3 years at agricultural college. I was born in the village of Tuchan in 1961 (giving my age away!) and I am thrilled to be getting married to another of the Angel funded winemakers, Katie Jones, in May this year.
For me the most exciting thing will be finding out what quality of wine will come out of the vineyards that I have been working for the past 30 years. Up to now the grapes have gone into the local cooperative so mixed up with other farmers grapes.
2015 will be the first vintage that I will make from my own vineyards that were previously in the local wine cooperative. I have been practicing a little by helping Katie with her wines at Domaine Jones.
The wines I plan to make for Naked Angels will be special as they will be from the Fitou appellation and made from a blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah. 80% of all Fitou is made in cooperatives so this will be a great opportunity to see what can be done in a private Domaine.
How I came to be here, it isn't a heartwarming story I am afraid. In 2011 and after 2 final challenging years as President I was kicked out. The following harvest 14 hectares ( out of a total of 30) were vandalized in one evening. The trellising wires were cut not just at the end of every row but every 3 metres along every single row. Younger vines were cut at the base. It was a vineyard massacre! I had to repair all the wires before I could get my harvesting machine in to the vineyard. I never found out who did this damage, but it must have taken careful planning and coordination to cover such a distance in such a short amount of time.
I was president of the local cooperative for 12 years during which time I tried to install a contract system with the growers so that they could produce higher quality wines and be paid on quality. It worked well for 10 years with an ambitious investment plan but then recession hit and the coop was slow to adapt to new markets. The last 2 years were extremely challenging and finally I lost the confidence of the growers when their payments had to be reduced. Although the strategy worked well for 10 years it ultimately failed but I still remain convinced that in this area of France with rocky vineyards and low rainfall the way forward is for quality rather than quantity.
I look forward to a brighter future working with you Naked Angels instead of the local cooperative, thank you so much for your support!
Jean Marc's Archangels
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