Most of us who enjoy imbibing wine have also had that daydream of upping sticks and buying a vineyard. Oh, how lovely it would be – warm summers spent perusing the vineyard, children and dog (one must have a vineyard dog of course) living the good life away from the hustle and bustle of the city, oh and of course, wine on tap… literally. However, the daydream often omits the realities of working with your family. Some of us have had a taste of this during lockdown and the rosé tinted specs have tarnished slightly… From my own experience working in a winery, the long hours endured during vintage create a tight knit family regardless of whose genetics you share. You fight over whose turn it is to clean out the smaller press, each of you has your favourite power washer, and you quibble when someone else takes it, and god forbid you finish the coffee without ensuring there’s more to replace it. However, like all families, these small quibbles are quickly forgotten when you’re presented with a cold beer (or I guess an ice cream for smaller family members), and then you start all over again the next day.

Nevertheless, for many of our producers working with your family is an everyday reality. For the month of June, we have decided to focus on some of our favourite vinous families to highlight how families can come together to produce something amazing.

Domaine Gavoty are an 8th generation family operation, Roselyne is the matriarch and the driving force behind the business. Currently her four children aren’t directly involved in the day-to-day workings of the vineyard, the eldest is already working for another winery in Provence in order to gain further experience before returning to the family business. The second oldest is working as a sommelier, providing crucial insight to the family as to how the wines are perceived in the restaurant environment. It’s not just the kids who get involved, with Roselyne’s husband Hervé joining her in 2000, balancing his work as an osteopath with work in the vineyard to relieve Roselyne on occasion. Although it may be Hervés osteopathy that keeps this family business swimming along happily.

“A family vineyard is a way of living, the demand wine growing requires is an education. It is not always easy for either generation, as the gap between the authentic way of living with nature meets and sometimes clashes with the modern approach. Both generations can oppose this coming together, but sometimes its complementary and instructive”.

Roselyne Gavoty, Domaine Gavoty

Another fabulous family producer we would like to bring to your attention is that of Ortega Ezquerro. Established by Don Quintín Ortega, current owner, Carmelo Ortega’s great grandfather in 1896. This is a family which understands how to pull together to make something delicious. Carmelo has four sons, all studying either at school or at the Bilbao University. Given Carmelo’s sons are busy studying, Carmelo has had to create a new family; David Bastida is the winemaker and viticulturist, Rodolfo is in charge of the winery, Pedro and Luci work in the vineyards, and finally there is Ana Pelarda who manages the export markets (including us at Jeroboams) and quality control.

“Working in Ortega Ezquerro is just like being at home. We are not a big company, we don’t belong to a bank or to a venture capital company, we are just family winery and we are very proud of it. Each single bunch of grapes matters and, which is most important these days, each person matters. That’s why we all feel we are Ortega’s family, even if our surname is not Ortega.”

Ana Pelarda, Ortega Ezquerro

We at Jeroboams count ourselves lucky that we have become extended family members of many of our producers, celebrating in their triumphs and coming together to overcome any challenges. These relationships have never been so important as in current times, and we look forward to when we can introduce some of you to these wonderful producers in better times when we can break bread and quaff a glass of wine together.