Patricia and Rémi Bonneton are fairly new on the scene, a great discovery which I made a couple of years ago. Based in Ardèche, they have a tiny domaine that they are slowly growing, and also operate as a negoce – a requirement to survive until the domaine is big enough to be sustainable. They farm 2.5ha of organic vines, with the aim to increase to 4ha. They began with their first parcel in 2013, and vinified their first wines in 2016. Rémi grew up in Hermitage, and was always surrounded by winemakers through family and friends. His direct family never had vines, and he was told it would be too difficult to be a winemaker, as land was too expensive. But it was his dream as a child to be a winemaker, so he had to find a way. He decided the next best thing was to offer a service to other winemakers using his horses. He had a good knowledge of animals and the land, and started up his own small business, which allowed him to work in the vineyards and slowly learn more about viticulture. Through his work he gradually came to know more people, and that enabled him to rent his first vineyard. Patricia and Rémi met in 2012, and once Patricia has discovered natural wines, she became hooked. She had no experience in winemaking, her background was in marketing and recruitment. But she loved the idea of working the land by hand and horse, and so they began to work together, with the dream slowly coming to fruition. Rémi learned valuable skills most notably at Pierre Gonon and Alatache, and the pair have been guided from many good friends such as Babass, the Robinots, Philippe Jambon, Fabien Bergeron, Lilian Bauchet, Pascal Potaire and Paul and Chrystelle from Domaine des Miquettes. Their vineyards are on the super steep hills of the Doux Valley in northern Ardèche, in the most dramatic and rugged of settings. Everything is done by hand and horse, and it is often a battle against the wild - things like hungry boar and deer, relentless hail, and even forest fires which came extremely close to their vineyards. Life here is not easy, but the hard work pays off and shows in the quality of their wines. In 2018 they bought a house with an old winery and cellar, which they have since renovated. All the wines are made with a hands off approach, and nothing is ever added. They are ageing the wines in tank, old wood, and more so now in amphora. Their aim is to make quality wines that display the terroir, that are serious and interesting rather than just glou glou. They don't fine or filter, and they never add sulfites. The wines are already delicious at this stage, and I think that these are people to keep an eye on as I see exciting things happening for them in the future. They are very dedicated in what they do, and that passion and hard work clearly translates to the bottle. I am very happy to have found them, and to be representing their wines here in Australia.