California girl moved to rural France to follow her winemaking dream
- 20 years ago, Jennifer moved from California to France to study and teach English. She met a Frenchman called Didier, fell in love, and decided to stick around.
- Jen's husband Didier was born and raised in Douzens, a tiny village in Corbières with a population of 800. He is the son of wine growers, like almost everyone else in the village.
- In 2009 they moved back to Didier's village, where they converted an old barn into a winery. Since then, they've been slowly growing their small family-run organic wine production.
Map of the Vineyard
We started winemaking as a little side project that Didier and I could do together in our little out-of-the-way French village, 10 years ago.
My background is in Environmental Science, French, English Education and Translation. The former were the subjects of my studies - and the latter is the work I did previously in France. Didier's family background is in wine-grape farming. He worked for several years in internal communications - the subject of his studies.
What I love most about winemaking is the variety of tasks throughout the year. The contact with our customers. The comradery with other winemakers and continuously learning about tasting and winemaking from them. Our wines are the fruit of our family's stewardship of a tiny wild corner of France where we have chosen to live among our vines. This proximity allows us to be in interaction with our vines in a very direct way on a daily basis. We cultivate our vineyards like a garden. Other than that - very old vines. Carefully aged vintages.
I love Grenache and Didier loves his old Carignan - and the big juicy spicy wines they make. The wines we make are, with rare exceptions, aged without oak allowing the fruit to take center stage.
The most memorable moment over the last 10 years is going to see the old guys at the village wine cooperative with my questions about fermentation when we just started out. It was the beginning of our life in the village together and the early days of Colline de l'hirondelle. The local guys were welcoming and helpful (and very surprised to see a young American with her little notebook in among their giant vats.)
The daily tasks of wine-grape farming and winemaking are very time-consuming for a small winery. Angels' contributions can help to take the pressure off the sales side of the business and allow us to really concentrate on the vineyards and the wines. It sounds simple but it makes all the difference for us.
Archangels are our most interactive customers. They know our wines inside out and help us discover new wines for the site!