My philosophy and my manner of working go hand in hand. I put a great deal of emphasis on clear communication between the winemakers and myself: what are their desires, their hopes, their goals and their resources.
We study together the potential of their terroir (in the event that they are not yet totally in command of it). I adapt my methods to each winemaker, of course. My profession is a job of listening and sharing to ultimately accompany the winemaker in his (or her) goal of revealing the terroir. Everything starts in the vineyard, without beautiful grapes in impeccable health nothing is possible. That is why I privilege organic farming and a majority of estates I work with are going in this direction.
I want each wine to be an expression of its terroir. The only way in which the wines should resemble one another is in their fine quality. I am a man of the Mediterranean, and I firmly believe in the identity of our wines, the wines of the Mediterranean basin, their terroir and especially in their diversity.
I don’t underestimate the degree in which “psychological support” is important. In any endeavor, in order to begin to succeed one must feel supported.
I’m not David Copperfield. You cannot make great wine without terroir, without a dedicated winemaker, without the right climate, and especially without passion.
The problem is that there are too many oenologists that believe they know everything there is to know about winemaking. But wine culture is acquired throughout not only one’s life but also the lives of future generations. Wine is not a mere beverage. It is a page of our civilization and cultural history.
My job is simply to guide and assist the winemakers down their own path. Maybe think of me as a rugby coach. Like with any profession, the job of a coach can be interpreted in several ways. For me the best manner is to trust the potential of each player, allowing him to develop his qualities and express them to the fullest. A coach never plays the games, there are only players on the field. Too many oenologists seem to have not understood this yet.
I was born in Pezenas, France on January 21, 1962, where the family of my mother, Jacqueline Blasco Villalonga, has vineyards (Domaine de Montplaisir at Castelnau de Guers). Thus my cradle was the vineyards of Languedoc, on the terroir of Picpoul Blanc. My father, Yves Cambie, was born, as my brother, in Marseille. So I am a child of the Mediterranean basin, my addiction to Grenache is surely due to my origins.
My initial path did not point directly to wine. I first graduated from a technological university (DUT) in the food industry in Montpellier, and then entered the ENSIA (The French “grand école” for the food industries).
During these studies I gained a thorough knowledge of microbiology in areas that are very similar to what happens in the winemaking process. Not quite satisfied with my studies, I decided to change direction and I went to Montpellier to complete a Degree in Oenology (1986).
I then went on to have a rich array of experiences in the wine business: director of bottling in the Vaucluse; wine trader in Bordeaux and northern France; Sales Manager in the south of France; and Production Manager in the Roussillon. In 1998 I began a consulting business in the ICV GROUP / VVS Rhone Valley, where I am still an employee. At the time we were just two oenologists. Today the ICV Group / VVS Rhone Valley counts seven consulting oenologists.
In the year 2000 the ICV Rhone laboratory moved to Beaumes de Venise with a capacity of 1000 anaylses per day. In that same year it became the Advisory Council for the SCAS (Laboratory of the Federation of Wines of Châteauneuf du Pape). My involvement on the advisory board is new, but as in everything I do, I have become thoroughly invested (this may be because of my rugby past which taught me abnegation, and the quest for results).
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