The Story

One could say that Emmanuel Giboulot has organic farming in his blood. His father was one of the early pioneers of organic farming in Burgundy in the 1970’s, and applied the principles to the range of crops he grew. In 1985, Emmanuel began the process to create his own domaine. In Burgundy, this was, and still is, an especially challenging process. Land is extremely hard to find and the prices are even more extreme. He searched for leased vineyards, but discovered his dedication to organic farming, which was much misunderstood at the time, actually was a further barrier. He explains, “…the people who had vines to let were very suspicious if you were working organically.”

So Domaine Emmanuel Giboulot began with just one tiny plot of 0,8 hectares. Slowly, over the next ten years he added more vineyards– in Beaune, Rully, and Hautes-Côtes de Nuits. Today, four decades later, he tends to nearly 12 hectares, where he grows Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay and the rare grape Pinot Beurrot. His vineyards are spread around the region, but many are in often-overlooked areas. He has extensive experience in crafting the finest quality wines from a variety of terroir and remains one of the most prominent and active figures in organic grape growing in Burgundy.

He firmly believes the best quality wine comes when the grapes are allowed to express themselves, and thus strives for minimum intervention. All of his activities follow the lunar calendar and he makes his own compost. He uses only indigenous yeasts, avoids less stirring stir and uses a mechanical screw press to delicately handle his grapes. And he has not used new oak for over a decade. The resulting wines are clean, pure, delicate and refined.

“I like purity in wines. No faults, straight in their glasses, with the fruit and, or, minerality expressing themselves without artifice.”

Emmanuel also places a lot of importance on character. That of a man, but also of the vine and the vintage. He explains, “Every plot is different, its orientation, its way of plantation, the proximity to a forest or water, the soils, the age of the vine.” He continues, "And above all, the vintage’s character – warm or cold year, early or late, the flowering date and the harvest date. Great or modest, every terroir and vintage have their importance and must be respected in order for the wine to reveal its temperament and tell beautiful stories.” We think the stories told by Emmanuel’s wines are profound, enchanting and delicious.

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“The passion is what motivates me. For wine. For the land. ”



The People

Emmanuel Giboulot

Paul Giboulot, Emmanuel’s father was a true trailblazer in organic viticulture. In the 1970’s, long before it was trendy or even understood, he began to work organically – ploughing, composting, avoiding chemicals and respecting soil life and biodiversity. He also practiced hands-off winemaking, allowing each climat to speak for itself. Emmanuel saw the impact of these changes, and even though he wasn’t sure he wanted to be a winemaker, he understood and supported these ideals. “I fell into biological agriculture since I was a minot (“kid” in Burgundian dialect) and was inspired by the values and good sense of these practices” he says. In 1985 he abandoned the pursuit of a career as an actor and returned to Burgundy to set up his organic domaine.

“To have a father who was at the beginning [of organic viticulture], that really brings something. For me it was obvious to go down this path..for the guarding the identity of the terroir and the expression of the wine, but also for the question of the environment.”

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Emmanuel again encountered resistance from his fellow farmers in 1996 when he began following biodynamic principles. But he rebuked the naysayers, dug in his heels and developed strong convictions about this way of farming, as he saw the benefits with his own eyes. In 2014 his ideology was again tested when he was ordered by the appellation to spray his vines to protect against a disease that was spreading in Burgundy. He refused to use the insecticide, and was prosecuted and later fined. This became a divisive issue in the wine community, that led to a serious environmental and rights discussions in the region.

Today, Emmanuel is encouraged to see that the percentage of vineyards in Burgundy being farmed organically (or in conversion) is now around 30%. He admits, “This number is not ideal, but it's not bad either. But I remember when it was less than 1%. The important thing is to have the progress”.

Despite forty years of excellence in the wine business, Emmanuel remains remarkably humble and discusses the intricacies of biodynamics with the enthusiasm of an eager teenager. He is respected as a thought-leader in organic viticulture and winemaking, and and is an advocate for biodynamic farming.

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The Place

Burgundy, France

Emmanuel Giboulot makes both red and white wines from a variety of appellations in Burgundy. But one of his key areas is the relatively obscure – and confusingly named – appellation of Côte de Beaune. It should not be mistaken for Côte de Beaune-Villages, the umbrella appellation which covers a cluster of well-known villages like Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet. The tiny Côte de Beaune appellation is a mere 33 hectares, located uphill from Beaune, but not as far up as Hautes-Côtes de Beaune. Burgundy classifications; never simple!

te de Beaune is an appellation not very well known or seen very often on the market. I find it very interesting, but you have to spend a lot of time explaining to people what it is. It is not like Meursault, which is something people know exactly what it is. But the wines can be just as good…or better!”

The Montagne de Beaune spans 300-370 meters, with just four vineyards, where both red and white grapes are grown by 11 winemakers. The rocky soils are decomposed clay with sand and limestone and little topsoil. There are no premier crus but the conditions cause vines to struggle, leading to grapes with intensity and vivacity. Emmanuel makes three Côte de Beaune wines – Combe d'Eve, Les Pierres Blanches and La Grande Chatelaine, each offering a different expression of the Chardonnay grape on this terroir.

Les Pierres Blanches is a large parcel with a sweeping view over Beaune. Emmanuel claims that on a clear day he can even see Mont Blanc. Over time he noticed that one corner of the parcel had very different soils, and that is consistently produced grapes with a different profile. In 2001 he decided to harvest and vinify this area separately, creating the Combe d’Eve cuvée.

La Grande Chatelaine was the parcel where he began his solo journey in 1985, so he holds it in special regard. Emmanuel points to the hills across from the vineyard and explains the history of this lieu-dit. “This was prairie land at the beginning of 19th century, and eventually farmers took away the majority of the rocks scattered in the vineyards to make work easier,” he says. “They used the stones to build walls around the plots.”

While he has grapes in Beaujolais, Saint-Romain, Beaune and Rully, the centre of his red grape growing is the Haute Côte de Nuits appellation. This is a Burgundian subregion to the west of the Côte de Nuits. The vineyards populate the sides of valleys and lie at elevations between 300 and 400 metres. His single-vineyard bottlings of En Gregoire and Sous Le Mont exemplify the power and elegance of Pinot Noir grown on these eroded limestone soils.

All of his parcels are farmed biodynamically, with careful attention to biodiversity and soil life. In spring he lets vegetation develop between the rows, and they become filled with flowers and insects that thrive in the grasses. Emmanuel chooses not to mow at all, as it effectively creates a ‘safe space’ to preserve all of these organisms. He explains, “When we return with the tractor, this biodiversity is protected… the soil is covered by these grasses, which hold water and deliver it slowly to the vines.”

“In viticulture less is more. It means that the less we disturb the natural working of the soils… the less we interfere in the biodiversity chain and the more we see wines that express the truth and complexity of their terroirs.”

The theme of ‘Less is More' runs throughout Emmanuel’s approach to farming, winemaking and life. He is certainly a purist through and through. And we are delighted to share his pure, precise and elegant Burgundian wines.


“In viticulture less is more. It means that the less we disturb the natural working of the soils… the less we interfere in the biodiversity chain and the more we see wines that express the truth and complexity of their terroirs.”


Words by Allison Burton-Parker

Photography by Matt Hickman