In 1931 Magdelaine de Vimont, a religious sister, created an association to home and care for children with learning difficulties, and who could not fit into society in the normal way. 35 years later this became the Ateliers de St Joseph, a charity for mentally handicapped people which enabled them to find fulfilment through simple work tasks, guided by professionals. The workshop is now well-known for its range of excellent, traditionally-prepared jams and preserves to be found on sale across France. To bring to fruition the original plan of Magdelaine de Vimont, to develop into other areas and activities, the association secured 10 ha of vineyards in the Graves appellation and in 2009 produced its first vintage of Château de Vimont.
All the viticultural and winemaking work is undertaken by mentally handicapped people who are themselves trained by professionals and taken care of by the association, whose staff also handles all administrative and commercial matters. By learning outdoor skills including pruning, de-leafing, vineyard treatment and harvesting, as well as all the winery tasks such as fruit selecting, pressing, pumping-over, racking, bottling and packaging, workers gain a variety of experiences and an invaluable sense of accomplishment, leading to a richer quality of life.
Château de Vimont offers a new type of social enterprise, neither organic/biodynamic nor Fair Trade, these wines open up new ways of thinking about how business and the community can both benefit from this model of sustainability.
The quality of the wines produced is extremely high, and both red and white have been highly-reviewed and received multiple international awards and medals since the first vintage. Our personal favourite is the barrel-fermented white, with its surprising elegance and agile freshness.
This property is part of the Vertuvin group of wineries, representing many of France’s great wine regions, each one owned and managed by ESAT charities. These offer work to local mentally handicapped people within a protected environment, overseen by experienced industry professionals and dedicated care staff. By undertaking all the usual activities associated with wine production, from pruning to packaging, workers gain a variety of experiences and an invaluable sense of accomplishment, leading to a richer quality of life.
|Château de Vimont, Graves blanc, 2015|
|Château de Vimont, Graves rouge, 2012|
|Château de Vimont, Graves rouge, 2014|