Sometimes, stars align, and a long tradition of artful winemaking carries on in dynamic new ways. Joost de Willebois made his way to Domaine Fournier in 2015 to take the reigns as vineyard patriarch and owner. Winemaking, which began as a side interest for Joost, became much more than a hobby, it is his Legacy.
Joost began quietly feeding his wine obsession in the late 80’s while working in Bordeaux. He started attending night classes on viticulture and oenology and toying with the idea of making wine. When his career took him back to the Netherlands to head the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, his attention continued to drift to wine, and he began producing two barrels of pinot noir and sauvignon blanc in early 2000 in an old farmhouse in Touraine.
In 2004, Joost and his wife, Miguela, decided it was time to take their leap of faith and to dive headfirst into the world of French wine. They chose the Loire Valley, a wine region renowned for its magnificent white wines, its mild temperatures, its impressive medieval history (home to the French kings) and closeness to Paris. The couple first purchased a small winery in Touraine. As Joost’s confidence was growing, and he was building his core team, Claude Fournier was thinking of retiring to pursue his second passion, race cars!
Founded in 1955 by a fifth-generation winemaker, Domaine Fournier Père et Fils had grown from a four-hectare micro estate to a leader in Sancerre and the Central Loire Valley. The Sancerre vineyards include top sites in the villages of Verdigny, Sancerre, Bué and Sury-en-Vaux. When the timing was right, Claude sold the estate to the de Willebois family, who continues the 60-year, generations-long, tradition.
Over the next two years, Claude and Joost worked hand in hand to keep the traditions of Domaine Fournier Père et Fils alive and to continue producing complex, terroir-driven wines of substance.
In 2016, Frédéric Jacquet joined the adventure alongside Joost, as a winemaker. Frédéric was born and raised in the small village of ‘Gron’, east of Bourges. Since childhood, Frédéric has always taken care of the vines that his grandfather cultivated. It was at the age of 19 that he decided to turn his passion into a profession. He was then accepted into the prestigious University of Bordeaux where he obtained his national oenology diploma in 1999. Attached to his native region, he returned to Sancerre.
Over the years and through his various experiences, Frédéric has become a renowned oenologist. After more than 16 years of experience in the upper Loire vineyards and more precisely in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, his knowledge of the terroirs and grape varieties of the Loire Valley make him a major asset to the estate. His vision was in perfect harmony with the aspirations that Joost wished to develop for the Domaine Fournier Père et Fils.
Since that time, the winery has moved toward a more Burgundian production, focusing on each individual parcel first and then blending to make a unique Fournier cuvee or elevating the wines to a village, soil based or single-vineyard bottling. Domaine Fournier Père et Fils’ focus has always been the exceptional Sauvignon Blanc of Sancerre and the surrounding appellations; Even still, they devote more than 10% of their production to Pinot Noir (and a bit of Chasselas and Chenin Blanc too).
The goal is to show the intrinsic terroirs variations, creating wines which exceed every expectation!
Domaine Fournier Père et Fils remains committed to sustainable production. Rainwater is held and reused in the vineyards and the use of fossil fuels and pesticides is restricted to the bare minimum. The entire team is dedicated to keeping the terroirs in their best possible condition and sustainable methods are key to this effort. They are currently in conversion to HVE3 (High Environmental Value).
Today, Domaine Fournier Père et Fils produces 24 wines, including the world-renowned Fournier Sancerre ‘Les Belles Vignes’ and multiple single-vineyard bottlings. Domaine Fournier Père et Fils is a benchmark for Sancerre and the fanciful F on the label has come to signify finesse, quality, and elegance.