Under the influence
In 1983, Jean-Michel Gerin was 22 years old, the age when you show off in cars to impress the girls! But he didn’t care about buying his first “wheels”. He wanted “some land”. He had already fully grasped the huge potential of the vineyards of Côte Rôtie and Condrieu, and had an unqualified belief in their future. Besides, his family’s roots were there and he loves wine. So he founded an estate with his wife Monique. By 1987, he owned two hectares of vines; he now has 10 under production. He feels fervently about them: “I tour my vines every morning, I prefer to see them close up than look at the calendar to know when work needs doing. I have to respect them, I couldn’t do it any other way, it would be unthinkable.” So, year after year, borne by energy and optimism, Jean-Michel refuses the slightest short-cut. To be convinced, you need only survey his vines, on slopes so steep that sometimes you cannot see the bottom! But what you do see are low walls rebuilt stone by stone, perfectly drained terraces with their tons of earth taken back up to stop erosion. A titanic effort with no room for consensus: respecting these schistous terroirs is Jean-Michel’s guarantee of making the best possible wine, but also of preserving a millennium-old heritage. Though proud of the work accomplished, he keeps his head on his shoulders: “It’s only wine I’m making!”. When not among his vines, Jean-Michel Gerin relishes the wines drunk with his grower friends, the evenings spent putting the world to rights, the encounters that keep him moving forward – his grower’s life, which owes nothing to chance and everything to his total involvement.