MARLO MEETS: JESSICA JULMY
1. What inspired you to take over Château Galoupet?
In all honesty, when the Group asked me to take over the most recent acquisition at the time, the main motivator was the opportunity to integrate and run a winery within a whole new division of LVMH Moet Hennessy. Little did I know the intrapreneurial project that lied ahead, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to which I personally associated a once-in-a-lifetime responsibility.
2. What condition were the vineyards in when you first took over, and what did you have to do to revitalise them?
Château Galoupet was classified a Cru Classé de Provence in 1955, one of just 18 in the region. When it was acquired in May 2019, Château Galoupet had changed hands 15 times, with the estate most recently being used as a wedding reception venue and for private events. Whilst wine was produced at this time, the soil lacked attention as it had not been the primary focus of the estate. In 2017, forest fires destroyed much of the protected woodlands which impacted the biodiversity.
The revitalisation of the estate, as much of the vineyard as of the protected woodland, will take several years. We began with the conversion to organic viticulture, but also working with a handful of experts, to address the microbiology of our soils, cover crop, agroforestry, water consumption, etc… in the same regard, we are partnering with biodiversity associations, in order to regenerate flora and fauna within the protected woodland.
3. How was this year’s harvest? Are the effects of climate change starting to show?
This year’s harvest was quite challenging. The region was already considered in official drought as early as March. Then, we were hit by hail two days into harvest – which had started even earlier than usual, mid-August. We definitely feel the effects of climate change. One of the motivators behind our experimental plots in which we’ve replanted with climate resistant grape varieties.
4. Tell us a bit about your latest creation, Galoupet Nomade?
Galoupet Nomade is fresh, light Côtes de Provence rosé with notes of red berries and citrus fruit, and a hint of minerality. A lively yet delicate blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault in a convenient, responsible eco-flat bottle. Starting in 2024, Galoupet Nomade will be crafted from organic grapes sourced from across the Côtes de Provence region. Château Galoupet will work together with growers and caves cooperatives of the region to produce Galoupet Nomade, investing in the improved quality of the wines produced from Provence through sustainable viticulture. This is the wine’s reason for being: allowing Château Galoupet to work hand-in-hand with our neighbours, learning from them, and sharing our environmental best practices (given that, as a Cru Classé, our first wine can only be crafted from our own grapes, grown within our own vineyard). Galoupet Nomade 2021 was crafted from our own grapes, so as to ensure the direction we wanted to take for its organoleptic profile.
5. The Nomade packaging is both unique and revolutionary; what impact do you hope it has on the wine market?
Galoupet Nomade’s packaging is a flat, ultra-light eco-bottle made of 100% recyclable Prevented Ocean Plastic, 100% recyclable, 87% lighter than a glass bottle and 40% smaller spatially. The quest for the most eco-responsible packaging solution is a long-winded one. In the case of Galoupet Nomade, which has been crafted as a summer-drinking rosé, and thus not a wine meant to age, the field of possibilities widened greatly. Glass remains the most noble of materials for ageing wine, but when this time-constraint is lifted, where can we improve?
This is our first proposition, one which we hope will generate a conversation, open people’s minds, and get more and more players around the table to see which sacrifices we can make in order to mitigate carbon emissions within our beloved wine industry. It’s critical to keep in mind that, according to certain studies, upwards of 40% of a winery’s carbon footprint stems from its packaging. Becoming organic is one step. Regenerating the soils and the biodiversity is another. Diminishing water consumption, yet another. But if we don’t address our packaging, are we really doing all that we can?
6. What practices do you do to ensure that sustainability and biodiversity are a key part of the winery?
Château Galoupet has remarkable natural assets: 77ha of protected woodland and 69ha of vineyard. Regenerating this natural capital has been a top priority for the re-foundation of Château Galoupet ever since its acquisition by LVMH Möet Hennessy in 2019. Beginning with viticulture practices, the estate has been in organic conversion since August 2020. In parallel, a variety of cover crops are being trialed to assess their impact on soil health depending on the variety and where they are situated in relation to the mountain and the sea. By sampling different seed blends, in different proportions, in different plots, effective planting strategies for the future will be generated. Native trees are being planted in the vineyards to build green corridors from the mountain sides to create homes for fauna in between the plots. A total of 27 trees and shrubs are in line for plantation. In the face of climate change and unpredictable extremes, every drop of water counts. To reduce water usage on the estate and still arrive at the desired organoleptic profile, four fronts are being developed: maximising rainwater infiltration, optimising the irrigation system, investing in agronomic research, and planning for the treatment and re-use of wastewater. Finally, experimental plots have been planted with climate resistant varieties, and three plots are the subject of biodynamic trials. These regenerative practices would not be complete without addressing surrounding biodiversity. Following multiple audits between 2020 and 2022, an environmental action plan is now in place to nurture and protect all indigenous flora and flora on the estate. For the production facilities, Château Galoupet is investing in LEED-certifiable improvements to meet its carbon-positive goal. Furthermore, given that packaging represents 40% of a winery’s carbon footprint on average, significant studies have been undertaken, and ensuing decisions, for innovative eco-packaging.
7. Bee colonies are a vital component within the Galoupet ecosystem - what do they bring to a vineyard?
Regenerating biodiversity on the estate would not be possible without the world’s greatest pollinators: the bees. Château Galoupet and the OFA (Observatoire Francais d’Apidologie / the French Observatory for Beekeeping) began working together in 2019 with the installation of 200 beehives within the estate’s protected woodland. The positive impacts of these beehives were so promising that they decided to establish a queen bee fertilisation station on the estate, one of just 12 in the world. It is a breeding centre for queen bees born on site that will give birth to bee colonies in the same environment. Thanks to their organised presence, they will promote the development of local biodiversity, besides promoting healthier, more resistant bee populations. The station is also a research centre and studies will be carried out to measure the impact of these new bee colonies on soil revitalisation and, therefore, the health of the vines, the quality of the grapes and the profile of the wine. Stay tuned for further trials on our trials between vineyard and bee by-products….
8. What is your ideal last meal, and what wine (aside from Galoupet!) would you drink with it?
My ideal last meal would be home-cooked sole meuniere, and I’d love to enjoy it with a magnum of old Krug Grande Cuvée .
9. What’s in store for the rest of 2022? Are there any exciting projects coming up at Galoupet?
For the rest of 2022, we’re looking to keep the conversation going so as to remove the seasonal, summer-notion to all Rosé wines. I’d love to continue seeing Chateau Galoupet Cru Classe 2021 paired with some of the new fall/winter dishes at Fallow restaurant in London. And how fun and practical (and eco-responsible) would Galoupet Nomade be to have fun in the snow?