Once upon a time, an Englishman, two Irishmen, a Frenchman and a host of angels
Vines have been grown here for over 2000 years. In that time, while empires rose and fell, Domaine des Anges has had many owners, but its success today is due to the efforts of an Englishman, two Irishmen and a Frenchman.
In 1973, opera loving Englishman, Malcolm Swan, bought the vineyard and, to the music of Wagner, began the work of turning it into a vinous Valhalla. He made it the first vineyard in the large Ventoux appellation to bottle wine under its own label, rather than delivering its grapes to the local co-operative. And he broke with tradition again when he planted Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that now has an admiring following.
In 1989, the current owner, Irishman Gay McGuinness, wandered up the hill. Captivated by the ethereal beauty of the place and, despite knowing nothing about viticulture, he bought the vineyard when Swan retired in 1992.
Undaunted by challenges or mistakes, McGuinness brought new energy and purpose. He built a modern winery and carefully restored the centuries old stone farm buildings, now let as gites, that surround a small courtyard dominated by an ancient olive tree.
Also, because, in life as in vines, roots matter, he added the arms of the city of Kilkenny, Ireland, his birthplace, to all our wine labels.
In 1992, McGuinness employed Stellenbosch graduate, Ciaran Rooney, the second Irishman, who encouraged the planting of white varieties and brought New World thinking to the winery. When Rooney moved on, award winning current winemaker, Florent Chave, the Frenchman, picked up the baton in 2007.
Chave replanted old vineyards, planted olive groves and increased the emphasis on sustainable viniculture. He also introduced the very ancient practice of maturing wines in amphorae, which has been remarkably successful, with Domaine des Anges wines winning many prizes and international attention. Our wines are now exported to 17 countries.
Domaine des Anges is within the Mt Ventoux National Park and we have set aside 20 of its 40 hectares as a woodland nature reserve to offset our carbon footprint.
Our 20 hectares of vineyards currently produce around 75,000 bottles each year, Over the next few years, this will rise to, and stop at, roughly, 100,000 bottles, which, McGuinness believes, is about the point where the head begins to dominate the heart and Gallic passion and Gaelic joie de vivre cease to be in the bottle. And where would we be without them?!
That’s our story. Maybe some day you will visit us in Domaine des Anges and, surrounded by spectacular views, experience the charm of this lovely place.
Come and smell rosemary, thyme and lavender on the breeze and feel the sun on your face, with glorious Provence spread out beneath your feet.
Come and watch the hills change colour in the evening light when, as Yeats said, “peace comes dropping slow”.
Come and share a glass with us….and the angels.