Tanca Nica Producer Profile
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Salvatore Marino Producer Profile
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Remembering Our Friend Julie Balagny
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A Visit with Thomas Puechavy
A Visit to Thomas Puechavy's in February 2023Read more…
Thomas Puechavy Producer Profile
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Geremi Producer Profile
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Pedecastello Producer Profile
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Domaine Carterole Visit
A Visit to Domaine Carterole in March 2022Read more…
Domaine Carterole Producer Profile
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Domaine Carterole Interview
An Interview with Joachim Roque from 2022Read more…
This interview with Sylvie Esmonin took place in her
Can you introduce us to the estate?
When I was younger, I never thought I would be a
The Esmonin family can be traced back to when the Dukes of
As far as immediate family that shaped the
By combining their land, my great-grandparents were able to grow a bit, which in turn permitted them to buy more vines. My grandfather and grand-uncle eventually took over the
How did you decide you wanted to be a vigneronne?
It was not at all my original plan. I went to high school because my parents desired it of me. They wanted me to have a “good job” like my sister, who went to business school and currently has 1000 employees under her. That was a real success story for my parents!
I wasn’t the dumbest person in the world, so going to school was relatively easy for me. I was rather lazy and behaved as a dilettante in my youth, but my parents kept pushing me until I found my way. After being bored to tears in high school, I fell in love with bio-chemistry. I was still lazy at the time though, so the idea of going to university, getting licensed and writing a thesis sounded like torture. So I decided to take engineering classes instead. Those classes got me accepted into an engineering school specializing in
I was still more interested in bio-chemistry than engineering, so I focused on working with food. This led to a number of internships at large industrial food companies, most notably Mars (ed note: producers of the candy bar of the same name, M&M’s and, weirdly, Whiskas cat food). It was very interesting and I learned a lot, but I very quickly realized that this path ultimately led to being trapped in a large corporation. I felt like a lion in a cage, and no matter how captivating I found the work, the idea of working for a company of this size became too much to bear. I’m not wired to spend 10 hours a day inside a box.
So I shifted my energy to
So what happened?
I started working for other
Was your father still active at this point?
Yes. What happened was that I would often come home to see my parents on the weekend, and while I was there I would analyze the wines, taste and give my opinion. At one point I think my father kind of figured out: “Wow, she can do this!”
So he asked me if I wanted to join him, at first proposing to do administrative work and sales. My father had always sold his juices to other
When did the transition to Domaine Sylvie Esmonin happen?
In 1998, when my father “officially” retired. I mean, he was retired but basically worked just as hard as when he wasn’t! Still to this day! But of course he is almost 80, so his workload has slowed down considerably. He’s on the tractor less, but he was in the vines
What is the size of the estate at this point?
How has your work in the vines and cellar evolved since your beginnings?
I don’t think it’s possible to be static in this line of work: you age, you meet people, you taste things and gain experience you didn’t always have. You become more of aware and sensitive to everything around you.
In my beginnings, I was simply following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather, both of whom were alive at the time. What I quickly brought to the equation was the process of
Where did the inspiration to eliminate these products come from?
Because I drink my own wine! And I’d been involved in bio-chemistry for a long time, which naturally made me weary of chemical products. I don’t want to poison myself, I want to to drink something pure. And I also felt that I couldn’t play sorcerer’s apprentice with the vines.
There is an anecdote I often tell from an early morning in 1990. I was in the vines with my father in September, maybe around 6 am.
We had both instantly recognized the smell of
But here’s the catch: the last time we’d applied
Was your father in agreement with you about eliminating all these products?
My father was always reticent to modernism. He was late to the party with
I just think he was worried that we wouldn’t be up to the task anymore. But no, I never looked back and we’ve been working this way ever since.
Would you be eligible for organic certification if you wanted it?
I’ll explain to you why I’ve never requested a
To be fair, my point of view has obviously evolved over the years. As far as I’m concerned, I work my vines with my soul and conscience, and do what I think is best for them. So with this recent
If you know me, you know I am ecologically conscious. For the entire
I believe there is a philosophy that goes beyond the products you do or don’t use in the soils. I
How about in the cellar? Any major evolutions or changes?
The biggest change is that my grandfather and father
So I looked into it, and deduced that it had to be a
I’ve always loved reading old books about
How do feel about the current state of Burgundy?
In the 26 years that I’ve been doing this, I feel that the job of the
The other parallel I draw to
In brief: money ruins everything!
What do you like to drink?
The first wine I think of when I’m drinking from other regions is Didier Dagueneau. I love his wines, I love how it seems light and airy but yet feels so rooted: a total contradiction that somehow makes total sense!
In a completely other style, I also really enjoy