One day when I was living in London as a struggling musician, I came across an ad looking for a French wine specialist. While far from being a “specialist”, I informed the gentleman during the interview that I spoke ﬂuent French and consumed large quantities of wine. This, along with the in-house Wine & Spirit Education Trust training programme offered by the company, was apparently enough for me to ﬁnd myself working in the Clapham branch of Oddbins wine merchants.
In 2008 I moved back to France (where I’d lived previously for 15 years) with my wife and ﬁrst child. We settled in the Minervois region, and gradually built a now-thriving gallery and wine bar business, Inspiré Azille.
After a brush with cancer shortly after our move, I decided that life was too short to work in a job for no other reason than to earn money, and that sure than to earn money, and that surely the experience accrued whilst living here for so long and my knowledge of local wine must have some value.
The gallery/bar went from strength to strength, combining an ongoing programme of exhibitions and live jazz, infused with regional dishes and great local wines. A number of holidaymakers started asking about wine tasting at the gallery, and speciﬁcally about tours and the possibility of visiting local producers. I’d been working very closely with the vignerons whose wines we stocked at the bar, and the majority were extremely open to the idea of receiving visitors.
For some time too, I’d been wanting to continue my wine education, and so a friend introduced me to Matthew Stubbs (Master of Wine and founder of Vinécole at the Domaine Gayda near Limoux), who runs wine education courses using the WSET syllabus that I’d studied in the UK. After gaining my Advanced Certiﬁcate, I felt re-energised, and thus the decision to purchase a minibus and jump feet-ﬁrst into oenotourisme, or wine tourism, was made. Taste du Languedoc was born!
We offer a glimpse of the hidden gems of our beautiful region, with a range of set tours and tastings, or bespoke programmes on request.
Sharing my know-how from 25 years of living here amongst some great French friends has enabled me to introduce visitors to the region’s wine, food and culture in a way that offers a unique, informative and fun wine experience. We also feature child-friendly family days, creative art and wine tours. Santé!
For more info on Taste du Languedoc, visit www.tastedulanguedocwinetours.com, or ﬁnd us on Facebook at Inspiré Azille