Friday, 5 April 2013

A Friend in Need: Support Domaine Jones!

Here we are outside The Vatican (Domaine Jones' winery): Katie and her partner Jean-Marc in the middle (being flanked by our friends Kelly and Manus), and Sam and I on the far right.
Yesterday, the wonderful Cambridge Wine Blogger Tom Lewis blogged about the devastating Domaine Jones news earlier this week. It was such a brilliant post, and it did such a lot of good, I felt I had to reblog it - but I also wanted to add my own comments.

For those of you that don't know, on Tuesday Domaine Jones' Katie Jones tweeted a Facebook update:

It's horrific: not only does this mean Domaine Jones will lose a huge amount of revenue through no fault of their own, not only does this mean Katie and her family will now undoubtedly wonder who in their small, close community would do something so malicious, but also months upon months of work is all for nothing.

Two of the Vinspire writers - Sam and I - actually spent a week helping with the 2012 Domaine Jones harvest last year. We picked the grenache gris that would have made the Domaine Jones Blanc. I've written about my experience of the harvest (brilliant, but knackering) but it also meant I could witness firsthand the blood, sweat and tears that goes into creating a vintage.

Katie and her family get up before 6 every morning, and I often heard from Katie and her team at the Vatican whilst she worked well into the evening finishing a press (far longer than we lazy volunteers worked!)

The picking undertaken by the family and the group of locals is in sweltering heat: hours upon hours of bending over vines, snipping at grapes (and sometimes your fingers), getting sweaty, sticky, achey, and swatting away flies. It isn't glamourous work, but it always has a purpose: the glorious finished product is in our minds.

This van-full was only half of one morning's picking of the lovely Grenache Gris that makes Domaine Jones Blanc

The finished wine is in their minds throughout the rest of the process too: the hours of transporting grapes to and from the van, bruising yourself and pulling muscles, and hours upon hours of doing press upon press of these delicious grapes - cleaning and re-cleaning all the machines in-between each one - worrying over and caring deeply about every last detail to make sure the finished product is the best it can be.

We did this for a measly week, and we went home utterly exhausted - but Katie's team does this every day throughout the six weeks of picking, and that's after they have all spent months pruning and maintaining the vines in all weathers as the grapes grow.

Can you imagine doing all of this work - and, importantly, it is always done with a smile, with grace towards everyone they work with, and with unfaltering joy and zeal - giving months of your life towards the career you work so hard for because it is your life's dream, for someone to come along a mere week before bottling is due to start and pour all those months of passionate graft away?

Katie, her team, her many fans will not be able to sample the finished Domaine Jones Blanc 2012 now - a crying shame in itself - but this is more than just a massive loss of revenue. I think it's worth considering that what was put into those vats was far more than fermented grape juice.

What Katie needs is to know she has the support of the wine community, and there are things you can do to help:

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