Muriel Lismonde, tells us about her family’s vision, passion and expanding horizons which meant starting a business in the Lot and exporting this in turn to the stylish British town of Hale, Cheshire.
“Ten years ago, my father, Eugene Lismonde, fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a wine producer. He cajoled his entire family to join him in his adventure, he chose a location in the Lot in South West France, a region which had been my mother’s family home for many generations.
He bought the tumbled-down, bramble-choked ruins of an ancient bastide with only its 13th century tower still standing, he allotted my mother the task of restoring it and creating guest accommodation, whilst he set about, quite literally, putting down his roots by planting the vineyard.
With seven vintages behind it Domaine Tour de Belfort, has continued to build upon its selection of wines; known as Tour de Belfort - from just one to nine including; reds, whites, roses and sparkling. The wines have also earned a number of prestigious industry awards and accolades along the way.
Our vision was always to not simply make wine for our own personal pleasure but to create a selection of high-quality, authentic and organic wines. As a family we were committed to the idea of organic wine production and strongly believed in the need to protect the environment. Our lands lay within an EC-protected Natura 2000 zone which means there is no risk of cross contamination from neighbouring lands.
At the beginning we invested heavily in the technology necessary to ensure that our wine would not only be organic but that it could be produced with a minimum requirement for chemicals such as sulphates.
Our wines are produced and available in France but we view the UK as our primary market. Since moving to Cheshire, with my English husband, we have been actively being selling our wines there.
Over the years we have participated in many wine events, including Three Wine Men (with Oz Clarke, Tim Atkin and Ollie Smith) and the Manchester Big Indie Wine Festival. We have attracted positive reviews from wine writers including The Independent Newspaper, The Guardian, Fiona Beckett and The Cambridge Wine Blogger.
In 2012, we opened our own shop, Le Vin La Table, in the leafy village of Hale in Cheshire where we sell our wines and where I host wine tastings. We have been commended by Cheshire Life, Manchester Evening News and most local magazines and newspapers.
In Hale, our customers are mostly local people that we’ve met at other wine events, at tastings in our shop and who’ve heard of us byword-of-mouth. Our customers are wine-lovers and we hope they have found, in us, a way of enjoying the very best of what the South West of France has to offer. They receive our newsletters, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and we are able to meet regularly when we organise wine tastings in our shop, taking the chance to introduce new vintages and wines. Happily, many of our customers have also come to France to visit our vineyard and stay in our lovingly restored guest houses.”
Tour de Belfort - Le Vin La Table, 10 Broomfield Lane - Hale WA15 9AQ.
SCEA Le Domaine de Belfort, Rue du Château, 46230 Belfort du Quercy
Website and email for both France and the UK: email@example.com www.tour-de-belfort.com