"À chaque millésime, nous nous interrogeons : comment allons-nous le viniﬁer pour en libérer le meilleur? Car, chaque millésime possède son identité propre. La prendre en compte, c'est résister à la standardisation du monde, à laquelle le vin n’échappe plus."
Our Family History
1976: Gérard and Nicole Bungener (parents of the current owner, Henri Bungener) buy the vineyard from Stephen Spurrier and his associate Mr Bartholomew. Gérard endeavours to modernise the winery.
Their three children Patricia, Alec and Henri, are keen to help with the family business.
Henri Bungener 1979
"We quickly changed from wooden harvest boxes to plastic ones."
Alec and Jim Bungener 1977
The first harvests were done with wooden boxes.
and her daughter, Julie
As well as Le Clos de Caveau's exceptional terroirs, it is our history that contributes to the making of our oustanding wines. They are the product of years of thought research and experimentation; and when sampling their unique flavours, one uncovers the influence of a family, a terroir, and a community.
“His background as an academic and researcher follows him. Since he started as a winegrower, Henri Bungener studied his new “field” with care. "A way of life", explains the Psychology PhD, who practiced in London for over fifteen years.
In 2004, he left the British capital to settle full time in Vacqueyras, South Rhône.
A new patient awaits him: the vineyard of Clos de Caveau. Bought by his father in 1976 and certified organic in 1989.
On the hillside of Dentelles de Montmirail, it overlooks the Rhone Valley and the village of Vacqueyras. It is surrounded by Mediterranean forest. The place is beautiful. The secrets of its different terroirs is of a rare complexity. Henri Bungener allowed the land to speak by discovering the geological nature of each plot.
"Around the house we found three groups of terroirs. Grapes from similar soil types usually get along well, whereas if from different terroir often not. From there, we created three very different cuvées, but each time with the same varietals, grenache and syrah": Fruit Sauvage, Carmin Brillant and Lao Muse.
-The latter, an icon aged in barrels that requires patience and contemplation... a rich, longitudinal, very beautiful experience.
-Carmin Brillant, flamboyant and always elegant, is fresh and generous.
-Fruit Sauvage, with notes of black cherry and spice is friendly and welcoming. True to himself, Henri Bungener endowed the bottles with carefully studied labels, adorning the bottle as if a fine jewel.” Translated from Chantal Sarrazin´s book BioVentoux.
1980: The Bungener's begin farming without chemicals, an innovative approach at the time which respects the environment.
1989: Official organic certification awarded.
1994: Succession, Henri Bungener, son, takes over the vineyard
2006: "The big leap"; Henri Bungener and his family leave London and move to the Clos de Caveau full time.
2007: Discovery of the different terroir; birth of the cuvées
2009: Release of the new label design (+patent filing).
2013: Purchase of Les Bergines, situated 1.5km from the Clos and near the village. Construction of a warehouse for bottling, wine ageing, and order preparations; renovation of two old houses into holiday lets; planting of a 3/4 hectare of Mourvèdre in Vacqueyras AOP.
2015: Cellar renovation, and construction of the panoramic wine tasting room where one can view and understand our different terroirs.
The History of Wine in Provence
The Roman colonisation allowed vine farming to develop in the Rhône Valley, particularly around the city of Orange during the 1st and 2nd centuries BC. The ruins of a Roman villa were found in Vacqueyras - Vaqueiras in Provençal - which stems from 'Valléa Quadreria', valley of stones.
However, the first written evidence of vine farming dates to the Middle Ages. In 1414, the first maps of the Comtat Venaissin indicate the presence of vines in the village. In 1448, taxes on grape harvests and on wine were recorded in Vacqueyras.
Following the French Revolution, the vines of the Comtat Venaissin, including Vacqueyras, become French in 1791.
L'Histoire de L'Appelation Vacqueyras
1937: Vacqueyras becomes part of the Côtes du Rhône appelation.
1955: Vacqueyras becomes part of Côtes du Rhône Villages.
1990: Vacqueyras becomes a 'Cru des Côtes du Rhône' in the National Institute of Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC). This comes with strict rules about wine growing and wine making. Low yields, one of the lowest in France, 36 hectolitres per hectare (with slight variations depending on the year). The grapes must be sorted for quality. The vines must be at least three years old in order to produce quality grapes for a Vacqueyras wine.