Les Vignerons D'Estezargues

While many of France’s co-ops go out of business or struggle to sell uninteresting plonk, the cave co-operative in Estezargues has for many years stood out as a co-op with an artisanal approach to winemaking making some of the best value wines in the Rhône Valley. Established in 1965 and situated near Avignon in the Southern Rhône Valley, stands out in the French cooperative winemaking landscape. This co-op unites several producers to leverage collective resources, enabling the creation of quality wines on a larger scale, consistently delivering excellent value.

The transformative journey of Vignerons d’Estezargues began with Jean-François Nicq in 1989. Breaking from the tradition of blending all members’ wines, Nicq chose to bottle each estate's production separately, showcasing the unique terroirs of the 10 member estates. This approach, influenced by natural wine visionaries like Marcel Lapierre, marked a significant shift in the co-op's winemaking philosophy.

By the late 1990s, the co-op had fully embraced natural winemaking principles, prioritizing conscientious farming and minimal intervention in the cellar. This meant avoiding commercial yeast, enzymes, gum arabic, acidifiers, and using only a minimal amount of SO2 before bottling to ensure the wine's stability during transport.

After Nicq left to start ‘Les Foulards Rouge’ and Edouard Laffitte moved on to Bout du Monde, Denis Deschamps continued the path of innovation and improvement. More recently, the cooperative has entered an exciting new era under the female leadership of Armelle Rouault, CEO and winemaker, and Anna Tyack, Sales Director. Their arrival has not only added a fresh perspective but has also highlighted the growing influence of women in winemaking, a significant and welcome shift in the industry.

Today, Vignerons d’Estezargues stands as a unique example in the French cooperative winemaking landscape, driven by a team that brings together a rich mix of tradition and forward-thinking approaches. The co-op, with its 12 local growers, manages a vineyard area of 550 hectares, three-quarters of which are certified organic, with the rest in conversion or sustainable practices. The vineyards, composed of Rhône Valley mainstays like Grenache, Carignan, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Syrah, and Grenache Blanc, are cultivated on soils akin to those of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Annually, they produce approximately 2 million bottles, each reflecting the individuality of the terroirs and the cooperative’s commitment to quality.

The distinctiveness of Vignerons d’Estezargues is further emphasised by its focus on vinifying many terroirs separately, allowing each estate's character to shine through. This practice, complemented by the dynamic leadership of Rouault and Tyack, ensures that the wines from Vignerons d’Estezargues not only capture the essence of the Rhône Valley but also represent the pioneering spirit and the collaborative nature of this extraordinary cooperative winery.


Our selection of wines from Les Vignerons D'Estezargues