Living the Dream – 10 years on!
On 31st May we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of purchasing and moving into Domaine de Sainte Rose. As we reflect on the past decade we find ourselves revisiting the initial dream and see that it lives on!
These days, very few people can claim to be living their dream. We are two of the few who can. Our decision to cast aside our respective international careers in order to establish and run a high-quality, boutique, wine business in rural France was driven by a desire to work together and to create a family business of our own. To many it seemed like madness, especially as we were expecting our first child. It certainly involved a large degree of risk and a huge amount of determination to follow a mutual dream.
The dream began while we were living in the Former Soviet Union. The original research into the global wine industry started there during the cold, Soviet winter weekends using the Internet as a window to the outside world. On our return to London, we challenged the dream, wondering whether it had been a form of escapism, the product of living in an unusual and somewhat isolated country. It wasn’t. We both left our jobs to embark on a tour of the wine growing areas that we were considering as a base for our project.
Our passion for wine and our desire to invest in an ‘emerging’ wine-producing area, rather than an area that was already well established, led us to the exciting and highly diverse French wine-producing region of Languedoc-Roussillon. As is now commonly recognized, the reputation of this fascinating area is undergoing a transformation from that of a low quality/high volume producer, to that of a high quality/low volume producer, driven by an increasingly enthusiastic marketplace. Our dream had always been to produce quality wine and the property we found, Domaine de Sainte Rose, provided us with the raw materials we needed.
In the ten years that we have been at Sainte Rose we have completely redesigned the winery, turning it into a state-of-the-art facility; we have implemented major improvements in the vineyards, using environmentally sensitive farming techniques; and we have successfully introduced our wine into ten different markets around the world. To our immense satisfaction, our wine has been universally well-received by both the wine trade and the ultimate consumer in all the countries where the wine is available.
All this is in addition to the ongoing challenge of balancing home and office life under one roof and a work environment that does not correspond to a traditional organisational structure. The risk still exists and the determination now required is twofold as the business continues to develop. However given we are living our dream we remain two of the most fulfilled and genuinely happy individuals around!