MY JOURNEY TO MARTINELLE
As far back as I can remember, the pleasure of tasting – the smells, the textures, the flavors – was a part of my life. At our family table there was always a bottle of wine, from which even as a child I was allowed a sip; that there was so much to discover in wine fascinated and inspired me.
After high school I attended a professional hotel school, where I received my best grades in the class “Drinks and Wine.” An internship in the Pfalz was a logical next step. My apprenticeship turned into a full-time position at Dr. Bürklin-Wolf, and then at the Nahe estate of Prinz Salm. After six years of German white wines however I felt something was lacking, so I made my way to the Rhône Valley, where I worked at various wineries – Marcel Richaud, Villeneuve, Cassan – while also attending a technical wine school in Hyères.
All this seemed to be pointing me in one clear direction – my own winery. In 2001, after months of searching, I discovered Martinelle. This extraordinary group of small vineyards, separated by the solid rock of the Dentelles de Montmirail from Gigondas and Vacqueyras, was exactly what I wanted. While Ventoux is not as famous as its neighbors, it has incredible potential – and I decided it was up to me to show what a winemaker could do here!
In the beginning, my “winery” was nothing but vineyards. But what an exciting challenge, to build from the ground up a complete, one-woman winemaking operation! Yet early on the going was hard. In 2002, my first vintage, torrential rains turned the harvest into a horrendous affair; in 2003, a freak summer hailstorm destroyed my entire crop.
I learned in a drastic way just how closely winemaking is linked to nature; this reality certainly makes us all a bit more humble. Yet what joy in 2004 to finally harvest and vinify healthy grapes! Since then, things have been positive: purchasing new equipment and new vineyards, replanting vines and realizing the dream of building my very own winery.