Les Vignobles Foncalieu
Isabelle Pangaut became involved in the wine sector through barrel-making. The daughter of an oak sawyer, she was initially interested in the wood industry and studied forestry management, but eventually found her true passion lay in winemaking during a tasting with her father, which demonstrated the impact of French oak from different forests on the wine ageing process. Isabelle was inspired to study at the Paris and Montpellier Universities of Agronomy. She went on to explore wine production in different regions. Isabelle’s studies in Montpellier had led her to discover the richness of Languedoc vineyards and, convinced of the region's potential.
Established in 1901, rechristened “Foncalieu” in 1967, and turned into a Union of Cooperatives in 1992, Foncalieu is a large but unique modern cooperative that aims to make both entry level and fine wines under the same label. It works with 1200 growers, over 5000 hectares of vines, from Gascony, Provence, Cotes du Rhone and Languedoc, its headquarters are situated in Carcasonne, though it owns 10 wineries overall. In 2012 Foncalieu was named Best Cooperative in France by Review des Vins de France. Isabelle, along with head viticulturist Gabriel Ruetsch, visits many of the parcels herself, and failing that the agronomy/viticultural team visit every grower withdrawing grapes for Delphine and Gabriel to inspect and taste the juices. Their aim is that both top end and entry level wines receive the same amount of dedication and attention.
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