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A serial maker of the world's best Rose who now makes top Provence kit just for you
Julian Faulkner is a second generation winemaker and rising superstar in Provence. Over the past few years, he’s caught the eye of the world’s top wine boffs, with glowing reviews from the likes of Jancis Robinson and a double whammy of ‘world’s best rose’ awards from Decanter and the International Wine Challenge. Not a bad track record.
It all started when he was a kid, helping out his parents in the vineyard. Julian didn’t know it yet, but the bug had bit him. In 1999, unable to turn a profit, his folks were on the verge of selling up when Julian set aside a promising career in the environmental sector to take over as winemaker, with a vow to turn the family business around. Since then, the estate has gone from strength to strength and Julian runs the operation with a green conscience and a big focus on sustainable techniques.
After being let down one too many times by traditional wine corp, Julian reached out to us. Now, he can’t wait to make his standout wines for Angels with the safety and security of being a Naked winemaker, and he’s teaming up with some super-passionate growers to create new and exclusive Provence wines just for you.
Julian Faulkner's Story
Julian Faulkner's Story
I took over the family estate when I was 23. My parents made some great wine but they were only selling around 10k bottles per year which was not enough to be profitable. I was passionate about environment and development work after I had worked for a year in the non-profit sector for NGOs in Latin America and completed a degree in that field. Yet I didn’t want my parents to sell the vineyard as I had spent my summers growing up doing manual work in the vineyard. I was sufficiently naïve and self-confident to believe I could turn the business around so I put my career plans to one side while I tried to get the vineyard to a position where it could afford professional management. 23 years later, here I am, continuing to grow the business and doing our best to run it in the most environmentally responsible way possible.
I didn’t grow up with any passion for wine but as I took on the challenge of turning around the family business, wine making was obviously critical and I relished the technical challenge and researching the science of how to make the best wine possible. It’s an evolving science where we continue to discover new pieces to the puzzle, consumer tastes also evolve so it is a never ending adventure.
I like experimenting, trying to create something new, or find ways to make our processes more efficient and get closer to a closed loop, zero waste system.
There are around 400 producers in Provence, many of them are great, some come up with gimmicks to have “unique selling points”. I think we have an A team, all key members started with me 20 years ago as juniors (as I was) and have grown into their positions of chief winemaker, chief viticulturist and chief of finance and operations. A top loyal team is the number one requirement to making consistently great wines.
Along the way we’ve had tales of joy and sorrow. Catastrophic hail storms, spring frosts, drought, wild boar breaking through our electric fencing: all forces of nature beyond our control that can wipe and have wiped out our hard work and livelihood to varying degrees. But when we got our first major accolades (best rosé of the year Decanter 2015 for example) it was validation and gave us some spotlight that helped grow the business. The summer we entertain a lot at the vineyard and it is a real pleasure to appreciate the beauty and soul of the place with friends over many bottles of our rosé!
My most memorable vintage is 2015, my winemaker had to quit the 2nd day of the harvest for medical reasons and I was left on my own to make the wines and my wife was about to deliver our first child in London… It all worked out in the end but my most stressful vintage by far.
I think Naked is a perfect fit for my new project with neighbouring growers who want to leave their cooperative. With the cooperative their grapes get mixed with everyone else’s and they don’t feel others care about quality like they do so, whereas they believe we can maximise their potential.
What really helps me make great wine for Naked more than anything is certainty: knowing in advance before I make the wine who I am making wine for, at what price, what style and what quantity. A long term relationship of trust is more valuable and is bankable.
With no other platform, does the winemaker get direct feedback from the end customers – I am excited to see how it goes.
I hope to grow our wine-making potential with neighbouring growers and help them fulfill their full potential both in terms of quality and commercially.