Jane and Hugh Faulkner acquired Le Grand Cros without big wine making aspirations. Their first year they earned 4 gold medals from France’s top two wine competitions. This success was unprecedented and their oenologist convinced them that they must bottle their wine, instead of selling it in bulk which was typical back then in Provence. So Jane, being the artist, created the labels and with no preparation and somewhat by accident they were in the business of making and selling wine. Their son Julian took over the business 10 years later and had ambitions to take the business further and make rosé that would be considered a fine wine. For the last 20 years he has been experimenting with different techniques and protocols to make rosé more interesting and distinctive from the typical Provençal style. The fruit of that effort is best shown by our cuvée Aurélia.
We were first awarded sustainable certification by Terra Vitis in 2002 when we were amongst a handful of producers in Provence to be the first to go down this path. However, frustrated by the lack of recognition for our efforts and the cost of getting audited, we abandoned that certification in 2010. We fundamentally don’t agree with the organic rule book on environmental grounds so we continued running our vineyard the best way we knew. However in 2019 we noticed a shift in attitudes in part thanks to the French government’s effort to promote HVE as the official sustainable agricultural certification so we obtained HVE certification in 2020.
What is HVE and how is it different from organic?
The organic rule book cares mostly about whether the pesticides that they allow are natural or synthetic in origin. The HVE rule book doesn’t think this is relevant, what matters is the level of toxicity and lifecycle of the molecules as some molecules quickly breakdown into harmless molecules while others never breakdown. The compound we mostly disagree with is organic’s use of copper which we think is a toxic heavy metal that never breaks down and which washes away with each rainfall and therefore requires more frequent spraying which incidentally results in more GHGs from the tractors doing the spraying. For everything else we share a lot in common: we basically favour mechanical weeding over herbicides, employ best practices that limit the use of pesticides and natural fertilizers (ideally compost) best soil management practices to limit the need to use any fertilizer and only what the vines need. We also capture any runoff from our spraying equipment and have it treated as we do for the winery waste.
What we do above and beyond the requirements of HVE certification
All our electricity that we consume is renewable. We are planning on installing solar panels on our winery roofs and farm building amounting to __Kw which represents X% of our annual consumption of electricity. We intend to implement a carbon accounting so that we can set ourselves the target of being carbon neutral by 2050 in line with the Paris accords.
We are exploring and testing new ideas all the time. We recently partnered with a neighbouring grower who composts vegetative waste from gardens and applied ploughed it into 3ha of new plots that we will plant this year. The tonnage is huge and we wanted to test how feasible it is to implement over the entire vineyard.
If you look at the carbon footprint of the average wine estate, the lowest hanging fruit is glassware. The energy required for the production of glass accounts on average for one third of all the energy required in a bottle of wine. We have been looking at increasing bag in box and implementing PET bottles but we are confronted with negative consumer perception of these alternative forms of packaging. We recognize some new players in the market who doing a great job changing this perception including BIB Wine company and Garçon Wines and we hope to partner with them or follow in their footsteps as and when we get get our distributors and retailers onboard. In the meantime you can buy our bib rosé.
We also think there are exciting new technologies that could enable us to extract more value from our winery waste that is less energy intensive than the current process but this is still very much at a research stage.
L’esprit de Provence Rosé
Dry and fruity, this rosé seduces by its tenderness, elegance and freshness. With its structured palate and aromatic concentration, it will be particularly enjoyed over a nice meal. .
L’esprit de Provence White
The white Spirit of Provence plays the card of seduction. Vermentino (Rolle) is expressed here in all its splendor with citrus notes, hints of white fruits and floral touches. It goes particularly well with seafood and fresh summer dishes. .
L’esprit de Provence Red
Our Esprit de Provence red is a worthy ambassador of reds from Provence with its rich aromatic palate. Its dark colour and mouth-feel commands the respect of a serious wine yet its supple body and exuberance makes it a most convivial wine with Provencal flair.
Dry and fruity, this rosé seduces by its aromatic expression, elegance and freshness. From the heart of Provence on Julian Faulkner’s family estate, this rosé offers the aromatic quintessence of Cinsault and Grenache, and a careful balance between character and elegance.
Dry and fruity, this rosé seduces by its aromatic expression, elegance and freshness. From the heart of Provence on Julian Faulkner’s family estate, this rosé offers the aromatic quintessence of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Rolle, and a careful balance between character and elegance.
Full and aromatic, the Aurélia cuvée is a gastronomic wine that stands out thanks to its finesse and originality.
More zesty and frivolous than her older sister “La Maitresse”, the charm of “La Rivale” lie in her fresh yet delicate character. It is a charmat method sparkling rosé made from estate grapes at Domaine du Grand Cros in Provence.
Launched in 2002, La Maîtresse became an instant success flaunting the tasty fruity character of youthful Provencal rosés rather than the somewhat stayed style found in the more traditional regions for sparkling wines.
Dry, fruity and slightly woody, this gastronomic white will seduce you with its roundness ands intensity. Thanks to its generous mouth-feel and concentration, it flaunts its original style for its appellation.
Our Nectar red 2005 is a powerful and refined wine, aromatic and with a nice length. Worthy ambassador to the Provence wines, it offers a rich aromatic palette and a concentrated texture. This is a quality wine to be kept in a cellar, a perfect southern wine to promote Provence.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Between vines and scrubland, the Grand Cros 300 olive trees spread in traditional restanques all around the estate.