Independent French winemaker wins online competition

Henri Forest is an independent winemaker based in South West France, and he has just secured £50,000 worth of sales as well as privileged access to the wine market in Britain thanks to winning the Zero to Hero contest that was organised by Naked Wines, the online wine retailer based in the UK.

Out of the 240 wines in the contest his Les Clos de l’Olivier Minervois 2010, which he produces near Carcassonne in the Villepeyroux-Forest estate, came out as the winner.

Henri Forest, Manager of the estate in Villepeyroux-Forest, explains, “This is a great day for the Villepeyroux-Forest estate. Thanks to hundreds of British wine drinkers who singled out our wine, we will be living our dream and exporting to the UK for the first time. We very much look forward to working with Naked Wines and growing our business.”

With the help of the French Trade Commission UBIFRANCE in London, Villepeyroux-Forest, the estate of Henri Forest which is based near Carcassonne (in South-Western France), participated in a competition launched by Naked Wines. The UK-based online wine retailer organised the Zero to Hero competition in order to find the most talented, yet undiscovered, winemakers.

Having blind-tasted 240 wines, Naked Wines’ Angels (as the visitors to the wine website who invest in wine on a monthly basis are known) chose the top three. After a final tasting, the Angels declared the winner to be Le Clos de l’Olivier Minervois 2010 from the Villepeyroux-Forest estate. This wine is an AOC Minervois, which is a blend of two types of grapes — Grenache and Shiraz.

Previously an unknown estate in the UK, Villepeyroux-Forest consequently won a permanent UK listing and an upfront £50,000 order from Naked Wines. The winning wine is now retailing for £14.99 on the Naked Wines website. One of the Naked Wines judges describes is as follows: “Dark fruits, aniseed, honey, and smoked loveliness. Ruddy marvellous.”

Henri Forrest explains, “Until now, we have privileged pure and fruity grape varieties, but, thanks to this breakthrough [with Naked Wines], we are set to expand the range of AOC wines across blended wines that use old grape varieties, such as Carignan, Shiraz and Grenache. The aim is to offer our customers more powerful wines, on top of our fruity examples. These wines will be on show at ProWein, in Düsseldorf, in March 2013.”