Pierre Gaillard

At the age of 12 most boys are dreaming of being a fighter pilot or a pop star. Pierre Gaillard was different. He enjoyed himself by ploughing the family vineyards and his now a farmer through and through, with a profound understanding of the vineyard. He was hired by Guigal and ended up in charge of their vineyards before setting out on his own. He first bought land in 1981. This was Clos de Cuminaille, which makes some of his best Saint-Joseph.

In 1987, Pierre, with his wife Pascale, created their estate with cellars above the picturesque medieval village of Malleval. The cellars are above ground and made from sustainable material with wood much in evidence. Other vineyards quickly followed in Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie. Pierre's passion other than the vine is local history and he was always fascinated by Roman winemaking and, of course, the nearby city of Lyon had been a centre of wine production. Some of the vines were planted on slopes that were abandoned at the time of phylloxera and with his friends Yves Cuilleron and François Villard he formed the Vins de Vienne partnership to recover this lost heritage. He goes further, producing each year a small amount of wine made in clay amphorae.

In 2002, Pierre expanded yet again when he bought vineyard in Banyuls. This part of the estate is managed by his daughter Elise and The Wine Society has become a major customer.

Pierre is a large man, quiet, assured and confident with all the passion and ability which shows in the delicious wines from his 77ha estate.