In 1979 when he was 22, Jean-Louis Denois, at least the 6th generation of a Champagne family, decided to do his own thing. After studying winemaking in Beaune and business in Reims, and head-hunted by South African winery Boschendal, adventure beckoned in the Cape wine-lands where he helped make the first 'Cap Classique' sparkling wines.
Once he was back, he created Charles de Fère, a quality sparkling wine produced by Champagne method but just outside the region.
Spurred on by adventure and taking risks; and confident he had the right skills to make great wines using France's different varieties - coupled with imagination and an article by Robert Parker - all helped cement resounding success in the USA and quickly expand his operation to half a million bottles sold per year.
Jean-Louis has retained this sense of challenge, as well as good knowledge of French vineyards and growers; but also mistrust of the protectionism and real 'wine apartheid' prevalent in France, which is the main reason for France's lack of dynamism, losing market share and now entrenched position.
He carried on down this road, which led him to Limoux in the south de France, another area long known for sparkling wine production and where he'd find quality grapes in noble Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Jean-Louis has always been close to and loved vines and learned how to treat them with respect from an early age; and always wanted to make his own wine from his own vines. This ambition to live from the quality of his vineyard would end up sooner or later, after a time high-flying and occasionally getting his wings burnt, with the estate he has now.
Enthusiasm and curiosity took him to see and taste everything wine in the 80s and 90s, especially fizz: Australia, New Zealand, California, Oregon, New York state and South Africa. He found time to open 4 wine shops too, called "the Press". This experience, insight for quality, demanding go-ahead nature and sense of value have always motivated Jean-Louis Denois.