Angels raised over £250k in under 48 hours to rescue Katie's business
- Katie’s love of wine led her all the way from Leicestershire to the Languedoc where she bought an idyllic vineyard perched half-way up a hill in Tuchan. In 2013 she experienced every winemaker’s worst nightmare when vandals emptied her entire year’s vintage down the drain.
- She turned to us. And 2,500 Angels helped to get her back on her feet - clubbing together to raise over £200k in just 48 hours. Our Queen of the Languedoc was able to start again and has gone on to make some seriously delicious wines, with sparkly awards a plenty.
- Thanks to her beloved Angels, Katie has been able to nab more hilltop vineyards, expand her range and even move her winemaking operation into an old railway station to fit in more barrels. It’s a long way from the 600 cases of wine she made in her garage in 2009!
Map of the Vineyard
Katie Jones's Story
"On the 31st March 2013 I discovered that vandals had entered my wine Domaine and emptied 2 vats which contained my entire production of Domaine Jones blanc 2012. The wine was due to be bottled the following week. To lose a wine in this way is the most awful and worst thing that can happen to a wine maker. After 18 months of work from pruning through to selling the wine, a simple stupid act drained all of my wine away in to the gutter. It is not like a machine that has been vandalised and can be replaced. Each vintage is unique so this wine will never be replaced.
I had great plans for the future of my vineyard. The garage where we make the wine 'The vatican' is getting a bit cramped as I keep buying more small old vineyards and so I have purchased the old train station (La Gare) in Tuchan. This is a lovely old building that was used up until 1940 to house the trains and is perfect for turning into a winery. However, following the vandalism and the loss of my wine I am not sure that we are now in a financial situation to be able to convert the train station. We were hoping to do just one final harvest in the Vatican before we moved to La Gare for the 2014 vintage.
I was born in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire in 1966. I did a BA hons at Hull University in European Studies and left having no idea what I wanted to do. After a couple of years in Paris I replied to a job advert back in Southampton for a wine importer, I got the job and that is where my interest in wine began and where I was able to develop my love of France - through its wines. I stayed for a couple of years, got my WSET diploma but then got itchy feet and longed to come back to France. I went on holiday to visit a couple of the french suppliers that I was working with and when I arrived in the small back water rural village of Tuchan I thought that I had found my real France. A small village of 900 people, surrounded by vineyards and a wine cooperative that offered me a job on the spot. That was it, I never came back off my holidays and stayed to work for the Cooperative for 17 years looking after sales and marketing mainly in the UK.
After 17 years I had got a pretty good idea of the quality of the wines from this area. Although I wasn't involved in making the wines I tasted them almost every day and it soon became clear that the old vines from low yielding vineyards had the potential to produce some outstanding wines. In 2007 my parents asked me if I could find them a vineyard that they could enjoy on their frequent visits to visit me. I visited hundreds of small vineyards plots but I knew what I wanted - a small plot, old vines and a hut so I could sit with my parents and admire the view. The day I walked into a vineyard in the village of Maury, I knew immediately that I had found what I was looking for. High on the steep slopes under the Cathar Castle of Queribus, 80 year old vines which had been well kept by a member of the Cooperative, no hut but the amazing view was enough.
The idea was to get someone to farm the vineyard, take the grapes to the local Cooperative and we would get a small amount of wine back in exchange. We did this for a couple of years but in 2009 after I had left the Cooperative I decided that I would like to know the quality of the wine coming from my vineyard. And that is where the whole adventure started.
I had no wine making experience but a very good friend of mine David Morrison, who has 30 years of wine making experience from all over the world, agreed to give me a hand and take me through my first vintage. He gave me a shopping list - a couple of barrels, a press, some tanks and we were off. In 2009 I produced just 600 cases of wine but I loved the creativity involved in wine making and the thrill of finding out the quality that these old vines could produce.
I love almost every aspect of my job but mainly the variety of the work involved. My husband is a vigneron and has been for generations so he knows everything there is to know about the local terroir and viticulture. He has taught me most things that need doing in the vineyard and has a wealth of knowledge. Creating a wine is something that I had never imagined could be so satisfying. It is like creating a work of art over a period of 18 months from the pruning through to the final blend. Every action brings something to the final picture but it is not until it is framed and being enjoyed by other people that I get the most pleasure.
As my Domaine is very small I enjoy the hands on approach and the fact we can do everything ourselves. At harvest time we are joined by pickers from all over the world and the hustle and bustle is in direct contrast with the solitude of a lot of the work in the vineyard.
I only make 3 wines, Domaine Jones rouge, Domaine Jones blanc and Domaine Jones Fitou. They are made from a selection of small vineyards that have been chosen for their old vines, low yields and altitude location and also more importantly for the view! We know the vineyards, the terroir and the vines intimately and in the winery the wine we create is there to express this. They are special because they are wines that people enjoy drinking and can add to create that special moment of enjoyment when a wine fits perfectly into an occasion.
Domaine Jones Fitou (this is the one you are taking) is special as it is made from just a selection of small old vineyards. The vines are up to 100 years old for the Carignan and the Grenache which gives a depth of flavour and a concentration to the wine. I try to add a freshness to the wine to balance the fruit - a very pure, fresh type of fruit.
My Greatest Achievements
Getting Domaine Jones off the ground and working in 4 years! The wines now sell on allocation and the current problem has shown me what a great customer loyalty I have. I have had thousands of messages of support.
Winning a gold medal and the Fitou trophy at last years international wine challenge was a great achievement for my Domaine Jones Fitou, and also the silver medals for the Jones red and white from Decanter.
Getting Parker points for all my wines including 92 for the Fitou 2010.
Knowing that people enjoy my wines from top Michelin restaurants to private customers is something I would never have imagined 4 years ago."
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