If you have ever dreamed of owning your own vineyard and settling back to a life of making wine, then that particular fantasy can come true … at least temporarily.
A French company Viniv is offering people the chance to become a Bordeaux winemaker using grapes from some of the country’s most famous vineyards. Oriane Beloud, head of member relations at the company, explained to Lonely Planet how it works: “If you were to be a wine maker with Viniv, you actually don’t need to know that much about wine – just maybe that you enjoy it with friends and family, and on special occasions.”
Those who sign up can come and go as often as they like to the Viniv winery in Pauillac, on the banks of the Gironde estuary north of Bordeaux. Ms Beloud said: “We have the technical staff within the winery to make sure everything is fine and dealt with whether you are here or not. Most of our clients come at least once and a few don’t come at all. Most of them tend to come more often – maybe twice or three times during the whole process, which basically takes about eighteen months. And every time you come, there is someone taking you, and going through the process and trying to help educate you to the level that you want. Some people just want to drink and some want to know every single detail about the wine making process, so it’s really tailored and customised to each expectation.”
Viniv has had clients from all over the world, with the UK their biggest market, but also visitors from the US and from Asia, including Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan and China. After the wine is made, the client gets 288 bottles of wine, custom made – from what’s inside the bottle to designing their own label, and even corks and cases. Although VINIV do recommend that people wait a couple of years to allow the wines to reach perfection, most of their customers find that too long to wait and open a few bottles immediately after they are delivered. It is of course a boutique product, averaging out at around €10 to €11,000 but with that comes the nearly 300 bottles of wine and of course, a chance to call yourself a Bordeaux winemaker.