The Beaujolais Visionary: Julien Sunier's Journey to Winemaking Stardom

The Beaujolais Visionary: Julien Sunier's Journey to Winemaking Stardom

Few are as fervent about the wines of Beaujolais as Julien Sunier. From humble beginnings in Dijon without vineyards to his name, Julien's ascent to winemaking prominence is a tale many dream of but few achieve.


Unlikely Beginnings 

Not every wine story begins in a family vineyard or a cellar. Hailing from a non-vigneron family in Dijon, young Julien Sunier faced a future uncertain of direction. A fortuitous connection emerged from his mother's hair salon – her regular client was none other than Christophe Roumier, a legendary winemaker from Chambolle-Musigny. This acquaintance led Julien to a brief apprenticeship alongside Roumier, opening the door to a realm that would become his life's passion and pursuit.

Wine & Waves

Wine and waves formed the dual rhythm of Julien's twenties. His zest to understand wines (and a passion for surfing) led him to both hemispheres – from the dynamic wineries of New Zealand to the sun-kissed vineyards of California's Napa Valley. As he surfed different waves, he also explored diverse winemaking techniques, amassing a global perspective on viticulture. Back in France, he gravitated towards legends, working alongside Nicolas Potel in Nuits Saint Georges and Jean-Claude Rateau in Beaune. These experiences further refined his wine intuition, reinforcing his affinity for organic and biodynamic methods.

Beaujolais Beckons 

After five years spent managing a négociant business, Sunier felt the magnetic pull of Beaujolais. Understanding its diverse terroirs, he rented out select parcels, eventually buying the 19th-century 'La Ferme des Noisetiers'. With its panoramic vistas, this farm was a blank canvas. Sunier, with a vision, transformed it. An organic advocate, he rejuvenated the land, respecting its natural biodiversity. And in 2008, his first Fleurie was born. Soon expanding his domain across Fleurie, Morgon, and Régnié, Julien presently farms some of the Beaujolais' most prestigious terror. A dedication to organic viticulture, combined with innovative techniques like carbonic maceration and ancient pressing methods, set his wines apart. The touch of Burgundian elegance, a gift from his time with Roumier, has become an unmistakable signature. 

Nature's Hand 

Nature, though a partner, can be unpredictable. In the face of crop losses from harsh weather in 2016 and 2017, Sunier's adaptability shone through. In 2018, he launched a mini-négociant venture, 'Pur Jus', forging ties with esteemed local growers to procure rare organic Beaujolais grapes. These collaborations yielded wines echoing the vivacity of Sunier's own vineyards. His 'Wild Soul' stands out — crafted from organically nurtured, aged vines, this Beaujolais-Villages is a steal, melding peppery notes with lush dark fruit undertones.


The Wines:

Wild Soul

Crafted from 65-year-old Gamay vines, Wild Soul 2022 by Sunier's 'Pur Jus' négociant label, delivers top-notch Beaujolais-Villages quality at a stellar price. Minimal intervention in both the vineyard and the winery. 


Crafting his signature Fleurie from a 1.7-hectare granite plot with age-old vines, Sunier showcases a masterful blend of red berry aromas, balance, and authentic Beaujolais essence.


A cut above, Sunier's Morgon is a much more structured wine than almost all other Beaujolais, and it comes from an organic certified vineyard. Fresh red berry and cherry notes with a dense and concentrated palate.


From Régnié, Beaujolais' newest Cru, Julien Sunier delivers a vibrant, complex wine. Highlighted by notes of blackberries, plums, figs, and a hint of florals, this wine comes from 60-year-old vines rooted in rose granite sands.