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by Ryan O'Connell

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

Domaine O'Vineyards

logo Domaine O'Vineyards
Domaine O'Vineyards

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 Roussilion
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 on right)

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.

You Can't Argue With Fruit Thieves
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 Villemoustaussou, Languedoc Roussillion
O'Vineyards hilltop vineyard above the town

Making and Selling Wine is a Business Like Any Other
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.

Love That Languedoc
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 from O'Vineyards - click here for further information
Trah Lah Lah - a fanciful blend of Merlot and Cabernet
- " a lot of the O'Vineyards message is about avoiding that wine snob image" -

Fine Wine With a Big Smile
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.

A Sip of wine bread On this website
Love That Languedoc On this website
Love That Languedoc blog
O'Vineyard's website
O'vineyard's Bed and Breakfast On this website
O'Vineyards Bed and Breakfast Website
O'Vineyards Wine Tours
View Ryan's collection of photos on the Flikr website
List of Languedoc wineries with a Facebook page
Ryan O'Connell's, O'Vineyards Twitter Page
OVineyard's You Tube Video Channel

Article: Ryan O'Connell
November 2011

Contact information:
Domaine O'Vineyards
885 Avenue de la Montagne Noire
11620 Villemoustaussou
e-mail: ryan@ovineyards.com
Tel: +33 6 30 18 99 10

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