Joël Delaunay

Loire Valley

Thanks to BMT, Quebec has become my most important export market in 8 years.It’s an extremely dynamic and young agency that knows the wine market in Quebec perfectly and knows how to adapt to the needs of the SAQ, while also being proactive in maintaining very good sales levels for my Loire wines. It’s a pleasure to work closely with this agency, which also listens to me and cares about my daily work so that I can bring the best of my expertise and terroir to the shelves of the SAQ or in restaurants through the increasingly developed private imports, with dedicated and passionate representatives. Without a doubt, the BMT agency, through its professionalism, the seriousness of its team, and its excellent relationship skills, has contributed and continues to contribute to the growth of my vineyard as well as my flagship brand, Le Grand Ballon, whose current sales levels I never thought possible to achieve. And not to mention the exceptional sales force of BMT and its two founders, Laura Duclos and Manfred Audard!

Thierry Delaunay (France, Loire Valley)

Domaine Joël Delaunay : a grand ‘’Tours’’ in Touraine

The Domaine Joël Delaunay is located in the municipality of Pouillé, east of the city of Tours. At 15 km from the famous Château de Chenonceaux, it offers a magnificent view of the Cher Valley and is part of the Loire Valley wine route. A must-visit tourist stop on a road lined with royal castles and beautiful preserved natural landscapes.

Once a family vineyard operated as part of mixed farming, the domain took shape in 1965 with the installation of Joël Delaunay dedicating himself solely to viticulture. The first bottles were marketed in 1970. Year after year, he restructured and expanded the vineyard, starting his first exports in the mid-1980s.

In 1992, he built a new, more modern winery and purchased stainless steel vats in anticipation of the future arrival of his son Thierry, the 5th generation to lead the estate. In 1998, after completing a viticultural and oenological training in Bordeaux, Thierry settled on the estate and succeeded his father in 2003 alongside his wife Marie.

The vineyard now covers 45 hectares of vines located in the heart of the AOC Touraine, benefiting from a microclimate with oceanic influences and soils of clay with flints, called “perruches” on the slopes and “bournais” on the plateaus, where the soils are more clayey on the surface. The couple practices sustainable farming with a focus on sustainable viticulture, combining modern techniques with traditional know-how. In 2015, they notably inaugurated a new bottling facility equipped with a brand-new modern bottling line to switch from cork stoppers to screw caps.

The vineyard is planted two-thirds with Sauvignon Blanc, the flagship grape of the Touraine appellation. In addition, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, and Cot (Malbec) are used for red wines, and Pineau d’Aunis for rosés. Chardonnay is mainly used for the production of traditional method sparkling wine.

In parallel with Domaine Joël Delaunay, Thierry and Marie purchased 3 hectares of vineyards in 2010 planted on the same slope as the family vineyards. These plots are located on “rue de la Brosse,” hence the idea of naming this related domain “Domaine de la Brossette.”

As the vines had already been cultivated organically for several years, the couple continued this method of farming and also applied Ecocert-certified vinification practices in the winery. This resulted in two cuvées classified under the Touraine appellation: a rosé and a red, made from Gamay and Cabernet Franc grapes.

But Thierry Delaunay’s vision knows no bounds. Desiring to increase production and export volume internationally, he added the title of wine merchant to that of winemaker. Working together with other winemakers in the region, he developed a selection of more modern wines, carefully chosen from the Touraine terroir. Thus was born “Thierry Delaunay Signature,” which includes, among others, the internationally renowned “Grand Ballon” range of wines, known for their quality and accessibility.

The name “Grand Ballon” is a nod to the tourist hot air balloons that fly over the Loire River, and by extension over the Delaunay estate vineyards, providing views of the famous Loire Valley castles.

Thierry Delaunay thus ranks among the great visionary winemakers, allowing us to taste the full diversity of quality wines produced in Touraine and the Loire Valley.

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