I was truly saddened to hear from Jeff this morning that his father, Jean – Claude, passed away through the night.
Jean-Claude was a Physical Education teacher, running the family wine domaine at the same time. It was he who gained organic status for the domaine back in 1987, one of the first two hundred French wine domaines to be certified organic those 30 years ago.It was he who began the process which Jeff has taken on to make Mas Coutelou an oasis of biodiversity in a sea of conventional vineyards. I know from talking to him that Jean-Claude was very proud and very happy about the way the wines and the vineyards had developed under his son.
I enjoyed his company, his love of sport and poetry and his gentle teasing of we English. Indeed our last chat, just a couple of weeks ago, included some laughter at the current state of my home country. He was kind and generous with Pat and myself and we shall miss him.
So, thank you Jean-Claude for all you achieved, not least in your lovely family to whom I send my heartfelt sympathies. It was an honour to have got to know you. Every time I am in Rome vineyard, your vineyard, I shall think of you.