NICOLE and xavier
Hello and welcome to our home.
When my husband Xavier discovered this secret hideaway, it was a complete ruin, overgrown with brambles like sleeping beauty’s castle, with neither water nor electricity. With the help of our family, we dedicated over a decade to meticulously restoring every aspect of it to enhance its natural beauty, pouring our heart, soul and savings into the adventure of our life.
In the process we began to uncover the remarkable potential of the vineyard to produce grapes of Grand Cru calibre. This in turn shifted our focus to making wine that captured the exceptional potential of the vineyard, and so Chene Bleu was born. Now with the wines on their own thrilling journey we have come full circle to share with guests from everywhere our excitement about this very special place, its wines and more.
During the last 1000 years, despite its seclusion, La Verrière has been a place of work, rest and healing for a wide range of occupants; Romans, Knights Templar, Celto-Ligurian pilgrims, shepherds, pilgrims, glassblowers, vintners and wine makers. Today, its heartbeat is carried forward through the resolve of our family and team, eager to build on the traditions, practices and knowledge that its forefathers would have shared. Coming from local villages as well as lands afar, we aspire to using our combined skills and passion to create experiences that go well beyond the traditional definitions and expectations of hospitality and viticulture.
I for one fell under the spell of the estate’s fascinating history and made it my mission, alongside my family, to bring it back to life. I travelled extensively in my youth, growing up in a multicultural, multilingual, family, and nothing in my previous career in international finance, business and think tanks prepared me for the existential joys of becoming a guardian of this ancient land and historic estate, wishing to leave it better for the next generation and sharing it with fellow travellers.
Xavier grew up in France and is a man of the land, however his studies and career took him abroad and on the road until this place caught his heart and beckoned him back to his roots. We share a deep appreciation of nature, culture, wine and gastronomy, guided by our motto, “Non Mihi, Non Tibi, Sed Nobis” which means “not mine, not yours, but ours.” The Romans thus expressed the greater value and meaning of things shared. Everyone here seeks to live by those values.
Beyond hospitality, we wanted to create a sanctuary where we and our guests, in spite of busy over-committed lives, can reconnect with the parts of ourselves that want to be at our best, to surpass ourselves, to question things, to learn as much as we can, or to just be.
We hope to welcome you as part of the family. You are welcome to chat in the kitchen with our chef or head for the vegetable garden to pick vegetables and fruit for supper. Equally, spend some time with the gardener to find out how we are seeking to spearhead sustainable practices, whether composting or beekeeping, to stay in harmony with this rich natural environment, at the heart of the UNESCO biosphere.
La Verrière is not just about the house, the hospitality, the food and the wine. It’s about creating a seamless integration between hospitality, viticulture, and the special circumstances of the surrounding nature; between history and ecology and twenty first century comforts and luxury.
I’d now like to introduce some of the team members who will be taking care of you when you come and visit. On behalf of all of us, we look forward to your visit!
The director of hospitality, Karen Glennon, has been managing La Verrière for over a decade with her trademark cheery style. She is also executive director of the renowned wine courses, including Extreme Wine experience, which wine enthusiasts from around the world attend once a year. She facilitates weekly rentals.
Butler. Jean-Paul travelled around the world as a top designer at Balmain. He retired to the area and begun a second career in hospitality. His lengthy time in Brazil has added Portuguese to his French and English fluency. Discreet and agreeable, he’s truly kind-hearted, and beloved by most children.
House Manager. As soon as you arrive at La Verrière, you will be greeted by Sylviane, the house manager. She gained experience as a governess in prestigious historical estates, a tradition which runs in the family, and takes great pleasure in looking after the most road-weary guests. She is the main person to speak to if you have any questions or requests, regardless how big or small. She also heads up the housekeeping team, a group of local ladies who have been with us for many years.
Hospitality Coordinator. With more than a decade of experience in the hospitality industry to round off a career in tech, Sharon is on hand to coordinate any parts of your stay that are not covered by Sylviane, such as facilitating your visit, arranging winery visits and other activities in anticipation of your stay.
Benedicte and Jean-Louis
Xavier’s sister, Bénédicte is our talented and tireless viticulturalist. Her gifted winemaker husband, Jean-Louis Gallucci, today runs the winery. Their dynamic duo provide as welcoming year-round presence, managing the property and vineyard with uncompromising concern for quality. Several of our respective children have taken an interest in the project and enjoy helping out. Though dedicated to Chene Bleu, Jean Louis is Acting General Manager of La Verriere when needed.
Head Chef. Born and raised in France, Chef Serge brings to La Verriere extensive international experience, most recently in Barcelona, and a deep knowledge of classic French cuisine, which he has adapted to our fresh local Provençale ingredients. A passionate cyclist, he is delighted to have the Mt Ventoux in his backyard.
Chef de partie. Loquacious and friendly, Chef Yvon is from the region, with family in nearby Entrechaux, and brings deep love for our bountiful land. He enjoys experimenting with new recipes and ingredients to create Provençal specialities with a twist.
Admin and payment aspects of your booking will be handled by Sylvie Douheret, whose jovial nature belies precision and experience.
If you visit our Chêne Bleu tasting room, you will meet our wonderful wine team.
Now that you’ve met most of the team, we look forward to seeing you soon.
Nicole and Xavier