The writer, twenty something Ryan O'Connell, is the social
media evangelist at O'Vineyards in the Languedoc and son of the
Florida couple who acquired the Domaine in 2004
Our family acquired and now work, Domaine O'Vineyards, on the
hillsides around Villemoustaussou, after a local co-op winery
that had pressed the Domaine's grapes for decades, went out of
business. Our goal has been to build our own winery on the property,
re-trellis and retrain the vines, and in fact do everything ourselves
from scratch to make the Domaine name a quality wine brand.
Villemoustaussou, Languedoc Roussillion
Not only does the whole family "labour at the wine face"
but in our spare (?) time we run winery visits that include the
winery, the vines and a barrel and tank tasting; winemaker workshops
- that allow visitors to shadow a winemaker for a day; simple
tasting of the property's wines in our tasting room; and bed &
breakfast - in what we call our vineyard hotel (see side-panel
We're also of course delighted at our location, the Canal du
Midi UNESCO heritage site, one of the most extraordinary attractions
in the entire region, passes right through Villemoustaussou.
After we arrived we were lucky to find a lot of friends very quickly
in the local wine community, and they gave us valuable advice
and help as we took our first hesitant steps in winemaking. There
were occasional spats or should we just say minor cultural misunderstandings
(you can't argue with fruit thieves) with local villagers who
didn't like all the ruckus we Americans were making on their hilltop
vineyard above the town, but even that has waned now that the
locals can see how revitalised the vineyard has become.
O'Vineyards hilltop vineyard above the
The renewal didn't stop at O'Vineyards. Making and selling wine
is a business like any other and here at O'Vineyards we have opted
to extend communication and marketing efforts to the entire region.
Very few people want to hear about the same vineyard over and
over, unless it's owned by a celebrity like Johnny Depp or Depardieu,
in my view and so I've become a bit of a social media evangelist
here at O'Vineyards.
When we started Love That Languedoc, a website (see side panel
on right) about the other wineries in the region, we saw almost
immediate results. It's worth mentioning that a lot of the content
on Love That Languedoc strays significantly from typical wine
media. There are no ratings or advertisements. A lot of the most
popular posts on the website are from winemakers just being themselves,
complaining about politics, talking about the weather, reminiscing
on their early days, and so on. Anything goes, as long as it avoids
archetypal wine snobbery.
Trah Lah Lah - a fanciful blend of Merlot
- " a lot of the O'Vineyards message is about avoiding that
wine snob image" -
Indeed a lot of the O'Vineyards message is about avoiding that
wine snob image. In today's highly competitive global market,
it's not enough to make great wine. You've got to help people
have fun with it.
So whether it's baking our wine into bread or posting videos
of other winemakers telling jokes, O'Vineyards is ready to deliver
our fine wine with a big smile and a healthy dose of laughter.