Custom Wine in the South of France

Master Grape

Crushpad plans to head to the Bordeaux region of France soon but a winery in the south of France is also creating a make your own wine network. Young wine entrepreneur Ryan O’Connell runs O’Vineyards in the Cabardes AOC with his parents. The winery was founded in 2004 and produces Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and red wine blends. In the course of getting into the wine business, O’Connell made a lot of friends in the wine business in the area and he’s putting that knowledge to use in a new venture.

MasterGrape is a network of vineyards and wineries in the south of France where you can custom-produce your own wines in the amount, style and price-range you desire. The MasterGrape website includes a questionnaire to help match aspiring winemakers with wineries and grape growers in the south of France who are looking for partners to finance special crus and reserve cuves.

The winemakers focus on small production, limited yields and potential partners are encouraged to visit the vineyards and get hands on in the winemaking process if they desire. The cost of making the wine generally runs between 1,500 and 10,000 euros. Like at Crushpad, most participants will create a single barrel of wine which produces around 25 cases of wine. You can make a smaller quantity but you will be sharing with other winemakers and have less control over the customization.

Registration on the MasterGrape website is free. The bad news for those of us in the U.S. is that any created wine will need to go through a federally-licensed importer and some sort of broker or distributor depending on your state but MasterGrape will offer advice on this process.

By Deidre Woollard. www.luxist.com