I’ve been interviewing some of the women who I think epitomise the fun and dedication it takes to work in the wine trade. The first is Katie Jones, when I last saw Katie we swapped stories about the fact that our Mums (and Dads) often spent their holidays, helping build the business, often with their sleeves rolled up.
Whilst Katie Jones is the face behind the Languedoc wines of Domaine Jones, her Mum and Dad are there to get their hands dirty…
Katie was one of the first people I met in the wine trade who worked on the supply side, which means I’ve known her for longer than I, or she probably, would like to admit to. When I met her she was living in rural France working for a big producer in the Languedoc, it looked to me like she was living the dream, if the dream was the ‘Year in Provence’ inspired one. As is often the case it wasn’t quite that idyllic.
But now she really does seem to be living the dream, with all its challenges. She and her husband Jean-Marc (a handsome, French vigneron) make their own wines under the quirky Domaine Jones labels. She admits to buying vineyards for the views, even if they are entirely impractical to work on and regularly gets help from friends and family. Which is where Mrs Jones comes in…
Tell us a bit about your Mum
My Mum is Mrs Jones and she trained and worked as a pharmacist. She worked for a while with my Dad in their chemist shop in Ashby de la Zouch before opening her own perfumerie and beauty salon. She is now in her 70s, retired but still very active. I find it hard to describe my Mum because she is just my Mum.
You often post pictures of your Mum and Dad helping out with the vines, how did that come about?
Domaine Jones is actually down to my Mum and Dad!
I was working down in the Languedoc and living where I do now in the village of Tuchan and they suddenly had a fancy to own a vineyard. I went on a mission to find the loveliest of vineyards but I knew nothing about vines so I just looked at the view. I found the perfect vineyard in the village of Maury just under the imposing Queribus castle and we all chipped in to buy it. A couple of years later I decided to give up the day job and concentrate on making wine from this vineyard.
How do you rate your Mum’s skill as a ‘vigneron’?
Limited!! But she is very good at top pruning. Each year she comes down with my Dad and they top prune my 12 hectares of vines! It is great exercise after the Christmas festivities and they are out in the fresh air doing a very worthwhile job that helps me a lot.
Do you think having your Mum (and Dad) involved in your business has changed/contributed to your relationship?
Yes I am definitely able to spend more time with my parents than in my previous office job. It is also fabulous to be able to go out and work in the vineyards together, and they also come down at harvest time to do whatever needs doing – from picking grapes, to cleaning baskets or making lunch.
If your mum were a wine, how would you describe her?
I think she would be a white wine – Something quite subtle but with a firm character and full of energy. Probably a Domaine Jones blanc Grenache Gris !
What’s new at Domaine Jones for 2016? Bought any vineyards recently??
Ha ha !! Not allowed to. It think we definitely have enough now.
To find out more…
Follow Katie on twitter @domainejones.