“No grape harvesting at our Domaine du Germain this year. 2021 marks the end of our winemaking adventure after 9 wonderful years, and the beginning of new adventures... “
François d’Haene, especially well known in the ultra-trail running world, but also known for his wine from Domaine du Germain in the Beaujolais region – a passion that has shown the jovial side to his life as well as being a Salomon pro elite athlete. For the last 9 years, his career he pursued in parallel as a winemaker with his wife, Carline, and his young family. François and Carline worked the land in Germain in the Beaujolais region to bring ancient vineyards back to life; 4.5 hectares of Moulin-à-Vent, Chénas, Beaujolais Villages and Beaujolais Rosé. And the 100% organic Gamay theycultivated andvinified themselves. Their wine has made its way onto many French tables but also onto national and international trail runners tables too! Enjoyed from the Brittany coast to the mountain summits with “le vin qui monte” (the wine that climbs), a unique project that François and Carline do with help from their toughest friends to carry and deliver the wine on their backs, on foot, up to mountain refuges!
So, why stop a business that advances and climbs?!
“We came to this decision after 2 unusual years with the pandemic making our presence at events impossible. Also, due to problems finishing our conversion to organic cultivation on our ancient vines, and because our children are getting older, they are more disrupted by the constant uprooting to switch schools and home environments,” François reveals. For several years they have been living both in the Beaujolais region to work their vineyards for part of the year and the rest of the year, in the winter, in the mountains in the Beaufortain region. “Also, on a daily basis, we would prefer to move around and drive less. We also feel more in tune with the mountain environment in general.” They have been welcomed with open arms by a warm and friendly community and want their future to have deeper roots in nature, the mountains and with local values. François adds, “Waking up every day on the ideal training ground, to be able to leave directly from the house on foot or on skis means I have a much better adapted and efficient training schedule, as well as being more in synch with my environmental values.”
The winemaking tanks aren’t empty yet!
The party can continue because there is still wine in the tanks, and wine for sale for several years to come. Their sales plan is mainly direct selling and at events – for personal contact and to discuss and share their passions with people – and due to the health crisis, this was no longer easy to do.
François specifies “as much as possible we are going keep doing our projects linked to winemaking and that we developed in the last few years. Especially those in collaboration with the refuges, such as ” le vin qui monte” (the wine that climbs) and sales will be the same as before: at markets, le vin qui monte, through our website, at fairs and events!” And with that we can say their wine will become more and more sought after!
Is someone taking on the vineyards after you go?
“The Moulin-à-Vent plot continues to be exploited, but only a small section of the Beaujolais Villages has been taken over. The rest of the vines – the oldest section of the vineyard – had to be uprooted.”
A new chapter and new adventures; any clues for what’s coming next for the Ultra-Trail World Champion?
“As much as possible, we will keep doing our new projects like the ‘vin qui monte’ and want to continue working together in a project linked to nature, but which is more centred and situated in the mountains and in the Beaufortain region.”
Kate Dawson, 14 October 2021
To purchase wine from Carline and François D’Haene please visit their website, Domaine du Germain: http://domainedugermain.com