Interview with Eric Bonnet


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Domaine Saint-Dominique and Réserve Saint Dominique: two facets of the activity of a winegrower-merchant of the Châteauneuf-du Pape appellation who knows how to be consistent in responding to the demands of his customers.

Eric Bonnet, at the Bastide Saint Dominique in Courthézon in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation area, could have been content with the estate he manages today with his sister Véronique. Worthy representative of the family saga (4th generation), he continues the work begun by his two great-grandfathers, Henri Favier and Jules Rochebonne, both winegrowers but who respectively either sold the grapes to merchants or brought them to the cellar. cooperative.

“My parents Gérard and Marie-Claude, when they arrived here in 1976 and bought this country house which was completely dilapidated at the time, gradually took over the plots of land from my two great-grandfathers. To then specialize in viticulture and remove the agricultural part”. Eric Bonnet's parents thus recovered family rents and, starting from scratch, built a vineyard which today covers around 50 hectares.


Today, the domain part is perfectly mastered with a production target of 1,500 to 1,800 hectoliters, or the equivalent of 200,000 bottles (a small part goes to Bib).

So why a trading house? So as not to fall asleep on its laurels, no doubt…

“I arrived at the estate in December 99 after my BTS viticulture oenology in Burgundy and the internships that go with it. And I vinified in 2000 for the first time at the estate,” recalls Eric Bonnet. At the time, he was working on approximately 28 hectares and worked to make his mark: development of IGPs hitherto sold in bulk, restructuring of the estate. And, for the appellations, adjustment of the range with the creation of two or three additional cuvées.

Once all these changes were made, he said to himself that it was a little too early to be satisfied with the domain. "From time to time, at the time, I received offers on wines that I did not have and I thought it would be interesting to offer my customers the other Rhône wines". He therefore took the plunge in 2006 and created his own trading house, La Réserve Saint-Dominique. The first 3 wines he marketed? Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Lirac. In small quantities: barely 600 bottles, the equivalent of a pallet.

Until 2015, Eric Bonnet experimented with appellations, even going so far as to also supply wines from the north of the Rhône Valley. "I had made Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie, Cornas... Never large volumes: 2 to 6,000 bottles per reference... I had a bit of the role of intermediary with my customers, especially for export" .

Since 2015, everything has changed. With an agent who distributed the Domaine's wines, they set themselves a challenge: to create a new range with a new brand. It will be Crous Saint Martin, named after the cross erected in 1879 400 meters as the crow flies from the bastide, a landmark between several of its plots.

Curiously, when he thought he was going to make the wines he did not produce, the reference he sells the most in trade today is Châteauneuf-du-Pape! No risk of confusion among its customers? “I keep a real transparency and the logo on the bottles is different. As a producer, I am quite well placed to select other wines. The terroirs, the vintages, I know them, the difficulties of each year, I know them because I live them. So in the end it is not incoherent”. Other appellations sold in trade: Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Rasteau and Ventoux which is taking up more and more space. In total, nearly a thousand hectos each year (between 100 and 150,000 bottles) of which 80% is exported.

Jean Calabrese

La Bastide Saint Dominique
1358 Chemin Saint Dominique à Courthézon – France

Tél : 04 90 70 85 32