Working the vines and making good wine is a long tradition in the Rhone Valley. This history, going back almost 2,000 years, still substantially influences the estate’s philosophy. Each wine bears a part of this heritage, especially the Condrieu “Terrasses de l’Empire” whose name echoes the time when the Rhone was a frontier between the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of France. Christine Vernay and her husband Paul Amsellem, both lovers of jazz and classical music, bring people together around wine and music through a major biannual event held at their property, with international artists. Wine and music create unique moments. Both of them symbolise sharing; both of them are arts that draw people and civilizations together. Domaine Georges Vernay imparts these values into every wine it produces.
The family home is an imposing 19th century building at the foot of the Coteau de Vernon, built by architect Dardelle, himself a nature-lover and aficionado of painting; Vernon represents the very spirit of the winegrowing estate. In a natural setting that has preserved its wild state, it has lived some of the dramatic moments of winegrowing. Here as elsewhere, Nature has always ended by asserting its rights, yet the estate’s attachment to this Nature is a source of inspiration in creating great wines. At Domaine Georges Vernay, this respect for Nature is apparent in the deep understanding of the past and the full knowledge of the techniques our forebears used; the writings of many generations are essential in both the vineyard and the winery. Similarly, while striving to constantly improve quality, the grapes are treated using methods that respects both flora and fauna. The very hilly vineyard makes mechanisation impossible, so the vines are maintained by hand and without use of residual weed killers or insecticides.
At Domaine Georges Vernay, wine-making is a constant quest for perfection; every year the working methods are reviewed, and every year, for three generations, the estate strives to define each vintage as finely as possible.
This ceaseless effort starts with the vines: innovation is called for in the quest for ever-higher quality and purity of expression of the wines. A complete understanding of each parcel of land and each vine is important in this approach. Christine Vernay regularly walks the vineyard; empirical analysis inspires the winery work with every new vintage. After this study comes the tasting in the winery, to better feel and understand the wine that will be available in several months. Colour, aromas…every single aspect the wine slowly reveals has a meaning which must be interpreted. This cycle of research and innovation is neverending and has been perpetuated on the estate for three generations.