It is 10 years since Jeany Cronk and her husband, Stephen, left the leafy London suburbs with their young children for the sunshine of Provence. There, they set up Mirabeau wines, going on to win multiple awards and become real fixtures on the local wine scene. This year they are buying a new Saint-Tropez estate and have introduced a brand new gin. I caught up with Jeany to find out more about their journey so far…Gill Harris, Taste of France
What was it like, upping sticks from a corporate life in London for life in a remote village in Provence?
It was a very exciting, if at times frightening, experience. I was a youngish mum, with three kids under eight years of age and I had a great network in South West London, so to up sticks and start again was a big effort. Add to that a different language, culture and a totally different school system, and it was quite the family challenge.
Did you intend to get into the wine business from the get-go or was it an idea which formed once you were living in France?
We moved to set up a rosé wine business, which was our joint passion. We both realised that we had to be in the place where we were intending to produce and Provence is the iconic place for rosé. Doing it remotely would have been a big compromise and I don’t think it would have worked.
You decided you wanted to make one of the very best Provençal rosés around – what were the first steps you took to get that dream started?
We got some experienced help in Angela Muir, one of the UK’s most highly regarded winemakers, and set about finding the best growers to work with. It really was a very iterative process and we learned as we went along. We designed a label that was beautiful, told our family story and pitched the idea to Waitrose who loved it and gave us a chance.