2006 was Elodie Balme’s first vintage, which happens to be the year we opened our store. Elodie was selling wines when she realized she was more interested in making wine and decided to study viticulture and oenology, and to work part-time for the influential Marcel Richaud, who makes phenomenal organic, naturally fermented wines based in Cairanne, a village in the Côtes du Rhône, for almost forty years now. Marcel is active in the association of natural winemakers in France (Association des Vins Naturels) and believes, as do we, that “real wine is wine that sees no chemical treatment, no filtering, no commercial yeasts and no other technique that would specifically alter a wine.”
Marcel encouraged Elodie to become an independent vigneronne, telling her “there’s always room for you when you’re motivated to work well.” Elodie returned home to make wine and began re-calibrating what were her father’s vineyards by eliminating chemical pesticides and herbicides and converting to organic farming informed by biodynamic principles. Her approach is centered on attaining eminently drinkable wines rather than following a set of dogmas in the abstract.