Its a happy coincidence when two short jobs can be dove-tailed together. Its not so bad to get from Dijon to Sion in the Valais and I was looking forward to seeing it for the first time, even if a little concerned to be shooting in the vineyards in early March ! I had a few portraits to make in Burgundy and was lucky enough to line up four people for my one day before I had to take a train ( 3 actually ) to get to Sion by lunchtime.
So off to spend a couple of days with Valais Mundi in Sion.
Day one was drizzle, steep paths and getting to know locations.
I was informed they were so excited by my visit that it was to be featured in the house magazine of their parent company Provins. They had even called on their local photographer Olivier Maire to accompany us the following afternoon ! Not quite worldwide fame awaited me but it would be a new experience and probably fun. And good for me to experience being the other side of the camera.
That evening was raclette time with a cheese tour of Switzerland with Johanna and Damien the winemakers.
The first morning was early and wonderful. Stunning scenery and beautiful light do wonders for vineyards in 50 shades of brown.
Jean-Blaise, the vineyard manager was my chauffeur and location finder.
After lunch and being memorably introduced to Petite Arvine, it was time meet up with Olivier and finish the shoot in the vineyards.
I am very grateful to Olivier for his professionalism, friendly patience and flattering photographs ! I appreciate now how much easier it is to be photographed doing your job than being posed.
I made the front cover ! I had to be interviewed for this too and a tricky question was “my favourite wine region”…..? Well, Valais takes lot of beating and Swiss wine…. well just try it when you have the chance.
When the call came to visit Château Palmer in the Medoc, I got in touch with the Ducourt family in the Entre-Deux-Mers to see if they had need of my services again. Happily marketing boss Jonathan told me there had been plenty of developments since my last visit and I would be busy, even if February was a quiet month.
As I drove into Margaux I was surprised to see sheep in the vineyards to my left – could this be part of the biodynamic approach at Palmer I wondered. Of course it was and my afternoon was off to good start. Good to see Thomas Duroux again and be introduced to his cows ! More biodynamics.
In two hours I was on my way to Famille Ducourt with, for February, a surprising range of pictures in the bag.
Then followed two days with Jonathan and his grandmother, parents, uncle and brothers and touring their new facilities. A very strong family that is making great moves forward with their estates. In this years Decanter World Wine Awards their Château Larroque Bordeaux Superior 2015 was awarded 95 points and voted “Best Value Bordeaux Red”.
The February weather was best described as “interesting” but we got a lot done. Jonathan works you hard !
PS its the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards on Tuesday 12 September and this image from the 2017 Paulée de Meursault is shortlisted.
See all the shortlisted images here http://www.theroedererawards.com/categories/artistry/
Wish me luck !