It all starts with that first taste

Raising a Glass to Friends We’ve Lost

Personalities  /  Dec 12  /  BY Jacob Cigainero

Raising a Glass to Friends We’ve Lost

by Jacob Cigainero

We use a strict set of criteria for producer partners featured in VIVANT experiences, but one of the guidelines isn’t just a technical checkbox to tick on paper. It’s a feeling, a natural affinity, an instantaneous moment where you think, “I’d really like to have a drink with this person, and VIVANTs would, too.” 

Our partner producers become our friends. Sadly, VIVANT lost two dear friends before we launched. Frédéric Mabileau in September just before harvest, and Baron Maurice Velge in November.

Both winemakers embodied the spirit of VIVANT. They were driven by a commitment to excellence in their winemaking, taking care of the land by using responsible viticulture practices, and respect for the people they made wine for.

Frédéric Mabileau, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgeuil

We visited Frédéric in July at his domain in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgeuil. He and his wife Nathalie and their son Rémy welcomed us with big smiles and open hearts. After we finished filming, they laid out a feast for lunch and treated us like family. Frédéric passed around bottle after bottle from his cellar, insisting to try this or that, some special bottles without labels.  

The Mabileau family wouldn’t let us leave without giving everyone on the team a bottle to take home. Frédéric had a big smile on his face as he handed us bottles of his naturally sparkling wine, L’Orgasmic, the cheeky name juxtaposed with the painted portrait of a 17th-century religious frump. 

Our founder and CEO, Michael Baum, spent an entire day with the Mabileau family on their houseboat.

"Frédéric was one of the most spirited human beings I have ever had the pleasure to call my friend," said Michael Baum, Founder and CEO at VIVANT. "His heart was enormous. He loved making wine, he loved cruising the Loire River in his houseboat, and he loved life. We feel so honored to have Nathalie and her sons working with us at VIVANT."

Find Domaine Frédéric Mabileau on VIVANT.

Baron Maurice Velge, Château de Côme

Baron Maurice Velge welcomed us at his estate Château de Côme in Saint-Estèphe in June on our very first field production trip for VIVANT.

Baron Velge and his technical director José Bueno walked us around the Médoc vineyard, explaining in detail their terroir and the work to rehabilitate the once-abandoned property. He recounted how he made a special Bordeaux blend for whom he called the two great loves of his life: his wife and daughter.

"Baron Velge was a passionate man.  He was crazy about making wine and enjoyed being one with nature," Baum said. "His knowledge of wine was vast, and I learned so much in the short time I knew him. Everyone at VIVANT feels fortunate to be able to share his legacy Château de Côme."

We have the privilege of telling the stories of responsible wine producers, and it's an honor to share them with VIVANTs. Join us in celebrating the lives of these two winemakers in Live Experiences featuring their stories, work and wines.

Jacob Cigainero

Jacob Cigainero


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