Photographing French vineyards…have camera will travel!

Landscape of French vineyard Clos Bagatelle in St Chinian

As soon as I mention to anyone that I had a photographic project in the south of France photographing vineyards, I got a wry smile followed by “Oh poor you… so just how much did you drink?”

“Up and at ’em”…

French vineyard in St Chinian with early morning sun flare

Flying into Bezier we were just  40 minutes from St Chinian, surrounded by a vast landscape of vineyards, although it seems that it was more famous for cycling.

With starts at 4:30 am and finishing at 9pm…the last thing you really want is wine. Being powered on just strong black coffee and croissants was the order of the day.

The brief…

The brief was fairly straightforward , to provide the vineyard – Clos Bagatelle with a series of images for a brand new website and printed literature that highlighted the care and quality of the production of the wine from preparing the vines to initial pressing and bottling. But more importantly, to show that it was a true family run business!

Very wide angle shot of an 8 foot stack of French red wine bottles from Clos Bagatelle in St Chinian France

Close up detail of red wine cork from Clos Bagatelle in St Chinian showing family crest in gold on blue wax

Hand finished wax tops on French wine corks in Clos Bagatelle Blue

Hand finished wax tops on French wine corks in Clos Bagatelle Blue

French vineyard Clos Bagatelle staking bottles for storage two men standing on glass wine bottles.

 

Close up detail of hoop on French oak wine barrel showing red wine stain on wood.

Bit of history…

Landscape of Clos Bagatelle vineyard with tasting rooms in St Chinian France

Portrait of Christine Deleuze with Domino the dog from Clos Bagatelle against a blue door.

The vineyard has been around in one form or another since 1623 and the present family owners have run  it from 1963. What makes it unique is that it’s passed down from daughter to daughter.

Wobbly moments…

Citroen 2CV in France driving in hot sunshine around French vineyard

This was my first time in the ultimate vineyard vehicle … a Deaux Chevaux (Citroen 2 CV in the U.K) with a beautiful patina complete with external horn reminiscent of a model T. I was amazed at both the turning circle and its ability to cover rough terrain with super bouncy ease!

Astonishing landscapes…

The scenery was amazing where the Massif Central collides with the Pyrenees creating unique environment and taste creating a massive diversity in the wines from a relatively compact region. Most of the time it was dry, hot and very dusty and the early starts revealed eye-wateringly beautiful landscapes, rich in colour and light.

Landscape of French vineyard early morning St Chinian

French vineyard stake with stone on top St Chinian

Rusty Renault pick up in French vineyard

Dusty French wine bottles with no labels in storage cellar

2500 images that were taken were eventually whittled down to a mere 1600.

Every day was long and exhausting, but so much fun…

Au revoir,

Paul

 

Need to taste the wine…

Don’t have the time to catch a plane…here’s a great U.K based site that stocks Clos Bagatelle