The Pontaud clan is a family of winemakers based in south Rhône, for whom I have developed a particular affection over the past few years.
I still remember my first exchange with them at the time Made in Little France was opened. I had asked Mr Pontaud the following question: “What does being a winegrower mean to you?”
“As far as I’m concerned, it takes a few different meanings. First of all, being a winemaker is a passion, not a job, and involves knowing by heart every parcel, every vine stock on your estate.
The whole year round, you are subject to fear: the fear that frost may destroy your buds, that storms and hail may wipe out your harvest, that diseases may kill your grapes… And once the grapes are down in the cellar come all the fears linked to their maturing.
It requires having a close relationship with nature, respecting it, working in harmony with it, and cultivating it in a smart and sustainable manner in order to ensure your children’s and this planet’s legacy.
At times, you may also feel lonely, like when you set off at five in the morning on your truck to go and heal your vines, or when all questions and choices linked to the estate and its development are incumbent upon you, and its entire destiny is in your hands.
It also asks that you open up to others around you, with a craving to share the results of your hard work. A bottle of wine is somehow the extension of a social link, and bears witness to peoples’ desire to spend pleasant, memorable times together"
Virgile Pontaud, who is Laurent’s and Sophie’s great grand-father, and incidentally the mayor of Gaujac - a commune in the Gard department in southern France, is the founder of the family’s winemaking cooperative. He owns 30 hectares of grapevines, and another 10 dedicated to arboriculture.
In 1945, Virgile’s son Jean inherited the domain, and started operating the vinification processes in his own cellars. Sadly, Jean’s premature death meant that his son Bernard, in turn, had to take up the job way earlier than planned, at the young age of 18.
Following in his father’s footsteps, and with the precious help of his wife Françoise, Bernard then decided to start off his own production. Then and there did the first Domaine du Marjolet wine bottles start being made, with their distribution quickly expanding from local to national.
Step by step, Bernard converted the entire estate into a vineyard, setting up his own cellar and creating his very own bottling unit. His son Laurent, who has been in the driving seat since 1999, subsequently expanded it by acquiring more land in the neighbouring commune of Laudun.
Nowadays, Laurent still manages the domaine, helped by his sister, their parents and their employees.
The vineyard spans 80 hectares spread across the Gaujac and Laudun communes.
Although they are only a few kilometres apart, these two villages offer terroirs of a very different kind: clay limestone for Gaujac, and rolled pebblesfor Laudun.
The main varieties cultivated on these lands are the Grenache and Syrah for the reds, and the Viognier and Roussane for the whites.
Some of these outstanding products can be found on our website as an exclusivity