Xavier Vignon

SINCE 2016

Since 2016, Xavier travels the world and dedicates all his energy to the creation of his cuvees.

The age of stone

Originating from Picardie in the North of France, Xavier is proud of his « Picard » roots and of his modest origins. His mother is an agriculturist and his father is a stone mason trained by the craftmans guild “Les Compagnon du Tour de France.” Xavier was brought up the hard way which has given him good, strong values: the love for a job well done, but also a certain contrarian state of mind.

 

You will be yourself my son

Xavier Vignon could have followed in his father footsteps…but his loving parents, proud of their son, a gifted pupil, gave him the liberty to follow his passions : music and natural sciences. His scientific mind flourished in a paleontology club which took him to Champagne, the area where his heart was.

 

XAVIER is free

Xavier began his studies at the faculty of pharmarcy in Reims, to be as close as possible to his hobby. As luck would have it a chance encounter with an oenologist, on Saint Xavier’s Day, would be the starting point to catch the wine bug « That sounded at the time as a dream path, the perfect choice and still is ». He applies for a place in the preparatory class of the french DNO (National Diploma of Oenology). Numerus Clausus (restricted admission numbers), and not belonging to a wine related family, delays his entrance in the Diploma. However, this would enable Xavier to gain valuable experience working in several Champagne houses. Eager to discover the world of wine he will complete no less then thirteen harvests in seven years of which six were in the Southern Hemisphere.

Time to act

Xavier Vignon is finally offered a place in Reims, Bordeaux and Montpellier, but he choses Montpellier as here he had the opportunity to not only study oenology, but also agronomy. With his double diploma in hand he started, somewhat like his father, a Tour de France, working for world class estate’s in Alsace, Bordeaux, and Champagne. He refuses four promising job offers! Opportunities are good, but he prefers to fly to Australia.

 

His mentors

Jean-Noël Boidron, Doctor at the Faculty of Bordeaux allowed him to make the link between theory and practice. Scientific methods and the method of tasting linked to the cellar work.

At Moët & Chandon, Dominique Foulon & Pierre Brisson, initiated Xavier into the subtle Art of Blending which allowed him to become a sparkling wine expert; in a festive yet always professional way.

Dominique Portet, son of Lafite Rotschild régisseurs (vineyard and cellar manager); a true friend, having numerous things in common, and a similar path to Xavier, gave him the love for sales and export.

Australia – Provence – There and back

Xavier could have made his career in the Australian Pyrennees, as he was offered a great position, but the nostalgia for Terroir, history…and cheese is too strong.

He decided to take six months to finish his Tour de France and think further about it. The Rhone Valley was a missing region on his map, so he headed there. In 1996 he began his career of consulting  winemaker bringing his expertise to thirty estates working for a renowned laboratory in the Vaucluse region.

He would fall in love with the Dentelles de Montmirail, and two years later with his wife, Isabelle.

Dentelle’s madman

Xavier gains recognition in the Rhone valley, and several new consulting customers. Amazed by the variety of terroirs and cultivars he will criss cross the Southern Rhone valley.

«20 years ago Southern Rhone was Terra Incognita. » His reputation of slightly mad consultant with innovative techniques, which work, brings more and more customers to his door.

Business to business

Xavier is a down to earth man, going into his customers vineyards… and going forward!. In 1998 he partners with his friend, Dominique Portet to create their own consulting company named Povidis. They quickly reach a hundred estates consulted, and build a strong network of professionnal’s and friend’s around the world.

 

Friends first

They will decide the future of Xavier. In 1999, the partnership with Dominique Portet is coming to an end, as Dominique leaves for Australia to create his own winery.

Xavier, on his side starts to create his own Rhone valley blends in his garage, on a very small scale, and without any commercial structure.

His wines are mostly sold to or through friends. One day, a friend and also vintner sends Xavier’s cuvée, without telling him, to the Hachette Guide. One wine is elected « coup de cœur », the highest distinction, attaining as well three stars out of three on all the other cuvées.

Xavier’s phone starts ringing, and the story begins… Shortly after, Xavier will participate in his first trade show and gets his first three importers.

Anonymous delivery

From 2000 to 2003, Xavier Vignon carries on simultaneousley, his consulting activities whilst developing his own brand. On the labels he writes « Xavier Vins » to remain discreet. Both companies are growing quickly.

 

New challenge

In 2003, the Oenological institute of Champagne, who invested in a high end laboratory in Sorgues offered Xavier the position of Managing Director ; Xavier accepts the offer and becomes the manager of a small team.

The historical customers of this laboratory mainly located in Chateauneuf du Pape are quickly joined by many more estates, reaching 450 estates all across the Rhone Valley today.

The team grows with one addition per year until 2013.

Meanwhile « Xavier Vins » stays in stand by mode, until…

And the came Jean Pierre

In 2007, Xavier partners with his friend Jean-Pierre Hugues, President of the GSE Group (industrial real estate) and owner of the Domaine de La Royère in the Lubéron.

This partnership will reinforce the existing structure allowing the development of a wider range of wines and bringing more credibility to the brand.

 

The day Bob came

In 2009, Xavier wins a tender with his 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape in Sweden and is shortly after elected « Best Châteauneuf du Pape in Sweden » by the famous wine magazine « Varlens Vinder ».

Robert Parker hears about this and visits Xavier to try his cuvées. All of them are rated 90 points and up!, orders are flowing….

In 2012 Xavier leaves the management of the IOC laboratory (Oenological Institute of Champagne), but remains part of the lab as a senior consultant. He devotes more time to his own wine and the management of Xavier Vins.

New galaxy

Along the years the team has been growing to support the success of Xavier’s wines.

A young and energetic team with atypical yet complementary profiles is supporting Xavier to serve more than 200 customers in 25 different countries across the globe.

Besides his Rhone activities, Xavier is bringing his expertise to different areas of the work and devotes all his team to crafting his cuvées.