Networking – if anyone remembers how to do that after three months of lockdown – always tends to lead us to meeting some interesting people and brands as well as forming longer-lasting relationships where possible.
Prior to the pandemic and via a close friend, we had a chance to the latter having been fortunate enough to be invited into the grounds of the stunning Chateau De Gensac in South West France for an evening of food and wine with the owners Jan and Kim Schuermann – now best pals.
We of course enjoyed the company, but really took to their personal story and to their own take on making their wines and Armagnac as accessible as possible for today’s market.
Built on a passion for new challenges and living life to its full potential, Schuermann’s Godfather took over the Château 20 years ago to breed horses and produce hand-crafted wines as a real labour of love – it was a project that cost a lot of money in an area not particularly well known for wine-making
However, after taking the helm more than three years ago, the Schuermann’s (sounds like a Netflix documentary right there) who moved from the outskirts of Zurich, Switzerland and the hustle and bustle of a city working life, spotted the potential for further cultivating wine in the region, embarking on building the gensac name to further develop the craft of producing the product as well as commercialising the brand.
Passionate about horses and of cours wine, the initial experience was one they described with candour as ‘a learning curve’, where the dream of living in the freshness of the countryside, surrounded by vineyards and horses had been matched with the obvious stresses and reality of running a new business.
“We are very appreciative of the heritage of classic wines and the industry, but we are trying to do something here with a fresh vibe, something that is accessible for the people out there, knowledgable or not. We simply want people to try, explore and become part of what we’re doing,” he adds.
While the 13th Century history of the Château is treasured, the Schuermann’s have their eyes firmly fixed on the here and now for the product.
“We both believe in combining tradition with modernity. The importance of networking and partnerships will be at the heart of our success. We want to be interactive, playful and experiential where we feel wine, as an industry, has not been so forthcoming in the past,” Jan says.
With regards to production, all grapes for the top wines at the Château are picked by hand to ensure that only premium ingredients for the product are collected to meet the highest quality standards. As a result, Gensac wines are able to compete with the best of their guild
The Armagnac is said to be France’s oldest and most traditional spirit. By maturing and refining the Armagnacs in new French oak barrels, Gensac achieves a unique and distinctive product that, today, sit among the best of their kind.
With a goal to build a selected global presence, the business mainly sells wines and Armagnacs across Europe, but has recently added the US, Canada and Hong Kong to its reach.