I first met Jerome Vic when setting up wine export to West Africa with my son, Joseph. Despite our humble beginnings he and his team have treated us with kindness and serious respect since day one. In the intervening three years his turnover has grown enormously to an output of 4m bottles a year, much of which goes to China. His serious approach to business is reflected in the both the consistent production of his wines and their increasing quality. We have started with a small selection of his wines as our “Cuvée du Patron” as they represent such fantastic value. Over time we hope to introduce more from the estate which consists of three different soils (terroir) and 17 grape varieties. I have given a little history of the business and his family below.
With remains of a roman wine estate and architecture from the 13th century, Preignes le Vieux is a classified historical site. The estate’s history is measured in centuries while the Vic family presence is measured in generations. Jerome is now the fifth to own and mange the property and its wines. The wines are inspired by both the historic culture and the surrounding natural environment. At Preignes le Vieux they make fresh, light whites, great rosés for summer evenings, and reds with personality and truly distinctive taste and charm.
Originally founded during the Roman times, the estate was a fortified village during the Middle Ages, passing through many owners before eventually being taken on by the Vic family in 1905. Their longevity here is a testament to the passionate link between the family, their soil and their wines. In 1906 a new cellar, which is still the main wine-making location of this estate, was built. 78 huge wooden barrels containing 250 to 350 hl, were constructed, 15 are still visible and a few are still in use.
Today, the cellar is a marriage between tradition and modernism. The use of technology has delivered improved and consistent wines that take advantage of the 300+ days of sunshine the area enjoys. A blend of traditional and new world storage is used with a cellar of more than 300 oak barrels, each renewed every 3 years.
The family has always invested its profit back into the estate but the real transformation of the business came in the 60’s when Georges Vic, generation 3, and his sons, generation 4, decided to produce better quality wines. They planted grape varieties like Syrah and Grenache in 1968, and then Merlot in 1971. These grapes varieties today produce their best wines. It was a risk at the time as none of these varieties could produce the local Appellation Contrôlé wines as they were not traditional varieties for the region. Over time however, these grapes have produced better and better wines to give Preignes le Vieux the reputation it has today.
Since the beginning of the 90’s, Jérôme and his wife Aurélie took over the family business. They are determined to continue the family tradition of improving on the efforts of previous generations, and have concentrated their passion on the environmental sustainability of the land for future generations to produce even better quality wine.
Since 2003, the estate has committed to a quality program called QUALENVI = QUALité ENVironnement Vigneron Indépendant ( Environment Quality for Independent Winemakers). These standards were developed and agreed by the Federation of Independent Vignerons. It covers respect for the land, for tradition and for the continuous improvement of quality. It requires traceability, openness to clients and partners and the management of the environment for a sustainable future. One of the most important parts of the process is the continual search for improving the systems, the processes and the land itself to deliver a consistent quality product with zero environmental damage.
Preignes le Vieux has not just achieved a certificate, it has incorporated the fundamentals of Qualenvi to the very heart and essence of it business as can be evidenced by the wines it produces and the passion of all the team that work with Jerome and his family.