When Levity Meets the Technical
Everywhere in the Crochet family tree, there’s a winemaker.
Xavier Crochet is the seventh generation of Crochets to become a winemaker and turn to livin’ the land. There’s no way around it: winemaking flows through the Crochet family’s veins. Xavier says that it was “natural and like my duty to take over the vineyard.” But Xavier also dabbled in other things. “I tried to fight it by going to school,” he says. That’s what growing up is, in a way: moving away from the only life you know to come back to it when you’re mature and ready. “Deep down, I always knew,” Xavier says. “When I was young, I used to say it all the time.”
Eventually, G. X. Crochet Champagne will go to the couple’s children, 16-year-old Louise and 14-year-old Pierre — if they want it. Gaëlle’s maternal duty kicks in. “We don’t want to force them to do anything,” she says. “But if they want to, we’ll do everything to help them.”
Don’t Reinvent Champagne, Refine It
Growing up on a vineyard taught Xavier to value hard work and love nature. “I think it’s a very noble profession,” Xavier says of farming. “But it’s difficult to find a good life balance.”
His father still works at 75 years old and lives nearby with his mother, which comes with the perk of spending more time together. Although she wasn’t raised at a winery, Gaëlle calls wines “a family passion” nonetheless. She remembers her father making her smell the wines he would drink. “I feel like everyone is trying to get back to their roots,” Gaëlle says.
Another passion of hers is music, which she brought to the family business. “All of our vintages have a name linked to music,” Gaëlle says. It’s true: Harmonie 3.8, Accord de Blancs and Extrait de Noirs all fit the profile of a good wine or a good symphony.
Xavier and his wife complement each other. “I haven’t changed my approach; I do the right thing at the right time,” he says. “Gaëlle is more artistic, more carefree, and leaves more place to happenstance.”
With champagne and music, you need time, perseverance and rigor.
We’re Always Learning Something
There’s a way, Xavier says, to describe the production of wine or champagne in purely practical terms. “To produce good wine is to produce a good grape,” he says. “You need to accompany its degradation and control its oxygenation.”
But there’s more to it, of course. Your land and soil play a major role for the grape. If you don’t pour your soul into your champagne, Gaëlle says, it shows.
Here, Xavier chimes in. “Some things change subjectively but not quantitatively,” he explains. “Our champagnes reflect us. There is a lot of us in every bottle, a lot of our soul.”
Bringing Their Vision to the Family Business
Producing a high-end product comes with challenges. Finding workers and a dependable source for raw materials is tricky for a small business like theirs. Xavier adds, “Manual labor isn’t valued anymore.”
For someone as meticulous as he is, harvest days are a bane. Xavier says harvesting season is “always frustrating” because things change so quickly: one day, everything could point to harvesting, and the following day, everything would be completely different.
One thing the couple never worries about, however, is the reputation of their product. “The champagne name is well protected and respected,” Gaëlle says. “Everything is already properly set up.”
There’s value in that. “Notoriety comes from the fact that our product is a champagne,” Gaëlle says. “Not that it’s a G. X. Crochet.”
At least not yet.
Riding is useful and fun
The Perfect Day Starts and Ends Outdoors
Xavier says he has difficulty delegating and not being hands-on. But working with Can-Am side-by-sides for farming is different, even for a workaholic like Xavier. “When we have one, we use one. It’s as simple as that,” Xavier says. He calls the Can-Am Traxter “a beautiful utility ride. And fun to ride too!”
Riding around the vineyard helps Xavier and Gaëlle prioritize tasks. With these vehicles, they can also carry what they need, like water, meals and tools.
With Can-Am off-road farm vehicles getting things done more quickly at the vineyard, the family has more time to relax. What do they do then after they’re done riding and working? They like to share a drink with family or friends, those they hold close to their heart.
But they can let you in on a secret: they prefer red wine to champagne. “When we drink champagne, we directly look for what’s wrong with it,” Gaëlle says.
Champagne, in other words, has no more mystery.