“I have kept a bottle of oak-aged red every year, and now have 23 in the collection.”Jeff McManus, Buckinghamshire
Andrew Gordon, an English wine merchant, bought Domaine du Grand Mayne in 1985. At that time it was an abandoned vineyard with semi-derelict buildings, overgrown copses and fields of maize and golden-headed sunflowers. However, the wonderful south-facing slopes with fantastic potential within striking distance of better known Bordeaux, were instantly appealing.
Working closely with his manager Michel Coutin, Andrew transformed the property. In 1985 the vineyard had just 1200 established merlot vines and produced just 200 cases of wine. The first step was to deep plough and prepare the land. Then from 1986 onwards they embarked on an ambitious planting programme.
Between 1985 and 2007, Domaine du Grand Mayne was totally transformed into a show piece winery and vineyard and there are now more than 120,000 vines planted on some 34 hectares (84 acres). The old stone cow barn was used to form the shell of the new winery in 1988. Then, in 1992, the size of the winery was tripled by the addition of a modern building to create a special vinification area for the white wines and a barrel cellar completed the work. Each year more money was invested to maintain the most modern technology and attention to quality, both in the vineyard and the winery. Domaine du Grand Mayne is now one of the top vineyards in the Côtes de Duras, with the potential to produce over a quarter of a million bottles of award winning wine each year.
Andrew sold the vineyard in 2008 and for a short period until 2013, it suffered from a lack of direction and investment, although top quality wine making continued under the control of talented winemaker Mathieu Crosnier,whotookover from Michel Coutin in 2011. He was lucky to work with a small, dedicated team who had worked at the vineyard for many years.
The current owners acquired the vineyard and buildings at the end of 2013, and the process of re-establishing the Domaine at the forefront of vineyards in south-west France began. This has involved a detailed review of all aspects of the business including vineyard, winery, buildings, branding and sales. A small and highly experienced advisory group was put together to help and this led to a successful crowd funding offer in 2014 and Domaine du Grand Mayne now benefits from the support of over 600 shareholder/customers. Underpinned by this supportive shareholder base, Mathieu and his team have continued to produce fantastic wines.
Over the coming months and years, with an ambition for excellence at the heart of every decision, it is planned that Grand Mayne will produce not just the best wines in the area, that become known throughout the world, but some of the very best in the south-west of France, and through the development of effective wine tourism become a destination in its own right.