Back in 2012, during a trip to Oz, Sam Plunkett insisted we paid a visit to his friend ‘the girl with the superstar palate’. The bad news was she was busy judging at a wine show but we were patient and the second we finally got to meet Jen, we just knew it was meant to be.
Energetic, passionate and oh-so talented, Jen grew up in a winemaking family and fell in love with the industry from a young age! She travelled widely, learning her craft at many of the great wineries in France and Portugal before returning to the family winery with a desire to really push the boundaries
Our ‘Rock it like a Redhead’ star has won hundreds of medals and was also crowned your Winemaker of the Year in 2015 so it’s safe to say she was definitely worth the wait!
Katie’s love of wine led her all the way from Leicestershire to the Languedoc where she bought a 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 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!
Legend is a word we sometimes overuse, but in Sam's case, it's true. Over in Oz he’s regarded as one of their greatest living winemakers. Getting on for a thousand medals and trophies to his name, including the daddy of them all – the Best Shiraz in Australia Trophy at the 2010 Great Australian Shiraz Challenge.
Yet if you met him, you’d probably mistake him for the gardener. He’s one of the most down-to-earth, approachable blokes you’ll ever meet. He wears a beat-up old hat and drives a beat-up old pick up, and when he’s not in the vineyard, you’re likely to find him up a ladder with a wrench in his hand.
From being in a pretty sticky situation back in 2011 when he was unexpectedly bought-out by his business partner, Sam has just achieved his lifetime dream; he’s converted an old textile factory into his very own gleaming high-tech winery and it’s all thanks to Angel funding!
Virgile Joly is almost annoyingly perfect. He's ultra organic, with the certificates to prove it. Dashingly good looking, with a beautiful wife (who fell in love with him after one harvest). Stupidly talented with wine, he has glowing reviews from the doyenne of wine writing, Jancis Robinson.
Plus he's not afraid of hard work. He bottled his first vintage himself. 3,000 bottles, Virgile and a funnel. Now that's dedication!
10 years later, he's producing some of the Languedoc's most sought after wines and we're using Angel funding to help him expand his winery and go on to even greater things. Plus his surname brings a smile to our face every time we see it - what's not to like!
When Ben left a safe winemaking job in Australia to move back to France with his young family in the noughties, at first he really struggled. The financial crash of 2007/08 clobbered the winery he was working at, so they had to let him go. He couldn’t catch a break.
That was until Angels freed Ben from the corporate fat cats and transformed his livelihood. Thanks to Angel investment, Ben was finally able to set up on his own and realise his lifelong dream of putting his own name on the label. Even better, he had an advance on his next vintage!
With the backing of Angel funding, Ben has been able to invest more, source even better fruit and establish strong relationships with local growers to improve the quality of his delicious wines year-on-year. With thousands of rave reviews, he’s a bonafide Naked icon.