Banyuls-sur-Mer: in the heart of Clos Saint-Sébastien

The series “A farmer, a village” paints portraits of breeders, winegrowers, gardeners, nurserymen… Women, men, families attached to their land, their farms, their production, their village. They tell their daily life, their story and that of a sector that has experienced many (r)evolutions. Today meeting in Banyuls-sur-Mer with Romuald Péronne.

“I’ll be right with you”† Romuald Péronne is a centipede: he consults his diary, manages much of his life on his laptop, while admiring from the corner of his eye his vines plunging into the Mediterranean. At the age of 41, he presides over Clos Saint-Sébastien, an estate on the heights of Banyuls-sur-Mer, which he molded in his image. An image he built up from his earliest childhood, enhanced by rich studies and interrupted by decisive encounters.

fly with your own wings

Son and grandson of winegrowers (between the Têt Valley and the Agly Valley), he has always been immersed in this environment: “My parents, teachers, have chosen not to live off the vine. Besides, I still hear them say to my cousin David Drilles and me: we’ll keep the vines for you, that if you don’t pass in school, at least you have.” Today, as David continues to preserve the family heritage, he has chosen to go it alone.

The scientific baccalaureate opened the doors of the Ecole Supérieure d’Agriculture de Purpan in Toulouse. “I get the competition that will allow me to integrate this structure to become an agricultural engineer”† The student is open to the world (see box). “I had ambitions, I wanted to see something different”† He completed his engineering degree with a national diploma in oenology. He was then 24 years old: “I feel the need to vinify”† He left for the Priorat region of southern Catalonia: “These are the most famous vineyards in the Iberian Peninsula where all the big names invest. For two years I vinified at the Bodega mas Alta together with two oenologists, Philippe Cambie and Michel Tardieu”

The Coume del Mas

This first work on the other side of the Albères, in a hot, arid area by the sea, was very formative and thus linked the vinification of the two strong grape varieties Roussillon, Grenache and Carignan. Romuald Péronne dreams of autonomy and responsibility. He then started his career in asset management. He takes up a position as technical director in Ibiza at the Ibiskus estate: “I’m bringing a little craziness to my resume and my way of life”† He vinifies the rosés that are popular on the island, while managing the wine estate from production to sale.

In 2008, an opportunity arose in Banyuls-sur-Mer: the Saint-Sébastien estate. One meeting will define the rest of his professional career: Jacques Piriou, a great naval industrialist. The latter owned a holiday home in Collioure : “He wants to diversify his activities. He loves the world of wine, the adventure can begin”† Their paths are complementary, one in investment, the other in know-how. In July 2008, the story of Clos Saint-Sébastien began with the desire to move to the higher segment. At the same time, the restaurant Le jardin de Saint Sébastien opens its doors, with his wife Céline as his eternal support. “Soon quickly, in 2013 we bought a historic estate: the Clos Xatard to have a beautiful cellar in the heart of a vineyard”

The 2014 vintage is the merger of the two estates. Since then, thanks to the talent of these two enthusiasts, 100,000 bottles have been released annually, a third for direct sales, a third in France in restaurants and wine shops and a third exported to the United States, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland.

Of the 23 hectares, the most beautiful plot is located in Coume del mas: “I finished planting on March 21, 2013, the day my daughter Jeanne was born. I will do everything I can to let her take over the estate, provided she passes school”

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