Jean Luc Thunevin, Château Valandraud
Wine Grower, Wine Merchant, Consultancy Work
Photos Jean-Bernard Nadeau, Translation Maxine Colas
« Nothing marked me out to work in the wine business, except perhaps my name. »
He was born on the 13th April 1951 in Mascara, Algeria. Having completed his BEPC (French equivalent of GCSEs), he then worked in a bank for 13 years, after having been both a DJ in the Dordogne and a
lumberjack in Ariege. He married Murielle Andraud.
« I arrived in Saint-Emilion by chance in 1984, and I opened a wine bar there. My investment cost me less than 100,000 francs. A year later, I opened a wine shop.
In 1988 I became a small wholesaler and wine
merchant in Saint-Emilion. »
« In 1990, I bought a few rows of vines (60 ‘ares’ : 1 are is 100 square metres). I took the harvested grapes to the cooperative in Saint-Emilion. In 1991, I took out a loan to buy a small vineyard of 1.20 hectares in Saint-Sulpice and I began making my own house wine.
The cellar looked like a garage and my wine became the first ‘garage wine’, thanks to publicity from Michel Bettane, Robert Parker, etc…I christened my property Valandraud, which is a composition of my wife’s maiden name, ANDRAUD and the name of the place where we bought our first plot of vines, VALlon de Fongaban. Château Valandraud rapidly became a well-known and consequently expensive wine, and the debate about the ‘garage’ style, Parker and concentrated wines was launched. This was just as important as the quality of our work and our wine, and the appreciative tasting notes from critics. »
Le métier de Consultant
« Thanks to success in the wine merchant business, and the results achieved in my various properties in Saint-Emilion (Clos badon
Thunevin), in Pomerol (Clos du beau Père), in Margaux (Bellevue de Tayac) and in the Roussillon region with our partner (Domaine
Thunevin-Calvet), I became a consultant at Châteaux Marojalia, Carles, La Dominique and La Fleur Cardinale.
A fine example is our latest acquisition in Pomerol, a very sought-after appellation where vineyard space is at a premium, the
Clos du Beau Père 2006, which produced good wine right from the first harvest, will reveal a rich and powerful ‘fruit bomb’ in the vintage 2009. Thanks to this exceptional 2009 vintage, this estate will be recognised as one of the great wines of Pomerol. Not to be forgotten, in a more accessible value-for-money price range, is Bad Boy 2009 which, thanks to the nickname Parker gave it, has become a real success since its first 2005 vintage. »
Jean-Luc Thunevin – February 2010