For anyone in London looking to find out what was hot and what was not in southern France in the 1990s, the place to head was down Old Brompton Road to La Vigneronne. Liz & Mike Berry’s poky little shop excelled in other French regions, and stocked some of the top names of California and Australia long before many others, but it was vast range of top wines of Provence, Langeudoc Roussillon and South West France that marked them out as different.
It’s been some years now since the two sold the shop (it’s now Handford – still worth a visit but not quite as eclectic as La Vig) and moved to Provence. They found a vineyard and olive grove, and now produce their own oil and wine, but they also carried on offering much of the range found in the shop by mail order. However the lure of retail has enticed them to set up shop again in the town of St Martin de Crau. There are several familiar faces on the shelves from the La Vigneronne days, but there are also some of those discoveries that you can only find by being close to the action. If you’re in southern France this summer, Vin Fins de la Crau lies roughly half-way between Marseilles and Montpellier. And if you’re not, the range is still available through mail order – click here for the first newsletter from the new operation.