The Story

Even though Ludovic Engelvin was born Nîmes, the heart of his Languedoc appellation, and his surname translates to “angel’s wine”, he does not come from a winemaking legacy. In his case this is likely a blessing, as he always endeavoured to make wines that are simply what the grapes want to make, not what tradition or regulations suggest.

The domaine now has around 9 hectares of vines, three parcels, each with slightly different terroir, but all cared for with the same common sense take on viticulture. There is no ploughing or mechanisation, no chemicals, only herbal and essential oil treatments and land encouraged to be as biodiverse as possible. Ludovic believes strongly in the link between plant and animal life, so local flora and fauna are allowed to flourish. The hedges of rosemary, plentiful wild mushrooms and rabbit tracks we saw on our recent visit confirm this.

Ludovic also believes in growing only the right variety on the right terroir, and declines to use Syrah, one of the dominant grapes of the region and a key part of the blend of most Languedoc wines. This means his wines are all sold as Vin de France, but he considers this a badge of honour.


“I refuse to grow Syrah! It’s not right for this terrain, and thus the wines are not interesting.”


Nearly all of his red wines rely on his 1.5 hectares of hearty old vine Mourvèdre, planted on the 1950’s. Ludovic says these vines are more resistant to the weather extremes of late. “It was an oasis of Mourvèdre that survived when surrounding vineyards of Grenache died from the ice and frost,” he says. He also has several plots of Grenache Noir, which he often blends with the Mourvèdre, and almost a hectare each of Cinsault and Grenache Blanc.

After some devastating losses in 2022, when it came time to replace vines, Ludovic chose to plant an old, almost extinct local cépage called Oeillade (the french term for “wink”). He describes Oeillade as “similar to Cinsault but more floral,” and affirms it is better suited to the climate and terroir of the site. He sourced some massale cuttings from old vines and is now growing 1.5 hectares of this grape on a larger 2.5 hectare plot, choosing to leave one hectare wild to increase the biodiversity of the area as these vines mature. We visited the site and saw the thriving baby vines surrounded by hedges of rosemary and garrique shrubs. Though it will be several years before these vines develop, we can’t wait to taste the floral, herby results.

When it comes to winemaking, Ludovic’s tactics are equally hands-off. He uses a gravity fed system and his wines are aged only in fiberglass and stainless steel, often a combination of both. (He stopped using oak in 2017, but some of his older wines in our portfolio were partially aged in oak.) He does not de-stem his grapes, uses only indigenous yeasts, does not fine or filter nor use sulphur during vinification. His macerations last 10-15 days and he uses light pump-overs to aerate the must and keep the cap wet, not for extraction. His ultimate goal is to let the grapes tell their story.

Ludovic Engelvin has survived a heavy dose of hardships in recent years – from drought, hail and frost to a forced relocation of his entire operation. But he has overcome it all and remains fiercely dedicated to both making exceptional wines and to the Languedoc region. We believe he is one of a select few who are the future of great wines from the Languedoc. These are thoughtful wines made with minimal, sustainable practices and a focus on quality and terroir expression above all.

Perhaps he is in fact making angel’s wine...

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“Sometimes it's the climate that makes me make a wine.”

The People


Ludovic grew up in the Gard, and his grandfather was a farmer who followed organic practices. He had worked in the Rhone and at one point produced a little wine for friends and family. Ludovic never tasted the wine, nor ever met the man, but tales of his grandfather’s wine planted a seed of interest, and he began studying wine at age 15. He learned viticulture and oenology, and travelled to Rioja to train onsite. Eventually he landed a spot working alongside Didier Dagueneau in the Loire Valley for two years, where his vision of the type of organic, terroir-focused winemaker he wanted to be began to take shape.

“Working as a sommelier gave me the base of what I wanted to do – and not do – in winemaking.”

He returned home to the Languedoc at the age of 25 and worked as a sommelier, primarily to have the opportunity to taste and analyse fine wines that he could never afford to buy. The experience helped define his intention, and a few years later he bought one hectare of Grenache Noir planted in 1955. He began his life as a grape grower and winemaker in 2010, and in 2013 he released his first wines under his own label.

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A Constructor of Wine

The first vintages were an instant success, and Ludovic has been experimenting, challenging norms and delighting critics consistently since. Each year he releases a few special wines along with a few regular recurring cuvées and his quantities are often limited, with some wines yielding only 800 bottles. The variable cuvées depend entirely on the quality and type of grapes at harvest. He says the grapes pick the style of wine, he is just the constructor of the wine.

In 2022 Ludovic lost the lease on his cellar and was forced to quickly move to a new location. Yet his new impromptu home still feels every bit suited to him. His cave is filled with a cornucopia of ageing vessels and manual tools. He lives in the attached house, with his partner, Carine, and shaggy black dog. On our recent visit they hosted us for lunch, and the Basque-inspired lunch paired with his wines was as delightful as the conversation. Ludovic is passionate about food, farming, his region, wine and the environment, so any shared meal means great debate on all counts.

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The Place

Languedoc, France

Ludovic’s home, The Languedoc, is in the far South of France, stretching from the wetlands just west of Marseille down to the Spanish border. The culture, architecture and landscape are a mix of Provençe and Rhône with a little Spain thrown in for good measure. The Catalan influence can be seen, heard and tasted everywhere. The dry land is covered with brush forests, menus forgo cheese for dried cod and the Roman colosseum in Nimes hosts regular bull-fighting contests. The Mediterranean climate is similar to that of the Rhône, but the scent of garrique herbs fills the air, carried by sea breezes from the nearby coast.

Wines have been produced here for over two thousand years and were enjoyed by Greeks in the 5th century BC, making it one of the oldest vineyard areas in Europe. Driving between Ludovic’s vineyards we navigate millennia-old dirt roads and scale ancient Roman walls. His parcels are scattered around the area but share similar soils – mostly a mix of clay and sandstone - with pockets of limestone. In his enclosed Clos Celas, used for his single-vineyard Celas cuvée, deep red clay transitions to yellow clay and sand. This gives the wines a rich texture and complexity that Ludovic says needs very little intervention in the cellar.

The foundation of the domaine is a nearly three-hectare parcel of 30 to 50 year-old Grenache and Mourvèdre. Signs of life are everywhere – mushrooms sprout between the rows, worms and ladybugs explore the soils, and evidence of less productive creatures like moles and rabbits abound. Recently Ludovic had to fence in the plot to ward off sanglier, wild boar who love to wreak havoc in healthy soils. The vines are pruned in the traditional regional manner (gobelet or bush vines), to protect the grapes from intense sun and wind.

Unfortunately, there is no protection from hail, and several hailstorms over recent years have taken out many vines. Ludovic has also suffered dramatic losses from drought, but he refuses to use drip irrigation, a tactic increasingly used in the region. He insists it is not a long-term or climate respectful solution. He is in the process of replanting his many lost vines, but knows recovery will take several years and the risk of more extreme climate episodes again is real. He expresses real love for his region, but also concern about the increasingly difficult work of making wine. “I’m very worried about the future of wine in the Languedoc. I hope there is a solution, but it is not easy and there are not a lot of options yet.”


Words by Allison Burton-Parker

Photography by Matt Hickman