In the Le Républicain d’Uzès, Muriel Duny writes (original here):
Amy Lillard’s love story with France started a long time ago. “At school, one of my friends’ grandmother was French. She used to come and teach us a bit of French, with songs and number plays… That gave me the urge to learn the language.” So she picked up French and studied it all through her high school years, and even travelled to France at 17. “I loved the country. That reinforced my will to keep on with the language in college.” Later on she came back again, and landed a summer job at the Relais & Chateaux Vieux Castillon hotel in Castillon-du-Gard. “I enjoyed that stay very much.”
When Amy wasn’t sure which career to embrace, another friend who had married a winemaker from Burdundy invited her over. She discovered the business of winemaking in the mornings, and learned more with an oenology specialist in the afternoons. She also learned wine tasting techniques. Travelling back and forth between the United-States and France, she met Matthew Kling in San Francisco and married him.
In 2002, “just three days before the floodings,” they bought their house in Saint-Quentin-La-Poterie. “Although we were living in Paris at the same, we really wanted to move to Uzès. We discovered the area on a tourism trip – and when we found the house we didn’t hesitate for a second.” Amy and Matthew say they fel for the quality of life and of the food culture (“terroir”). “These were really important criteria for us – and in Uzège we’ve got it all.”
A few years later they bought 3.5 hectares (8.6 acres) of vineyards and start producing wine – organic, obviously under the name “Domaine de la Gramière.” Today the acreage of the farm has doubled to 7 hectares – which Amy looks after on her own. “That’s as large as need, really. I couldn’t handle more.” When required, her parents come to the rescue – especially around September during harvest time – “les vendanges”. “My parents live here 6 months a year, near Vers-Pont-du-Gard, and their help is often very useful!” Amy’s sister has also moved closer – near London.
With her 34-year old Citroen van (called ‘Tube’, a former horse trailer, which they refurnished with a Kickstarter campaign), she travels the local markets. “This little truck has turned out to be a great attention grabber – and fosters lots of contacts. People come to me with souvenirs and stories such as ‘my grandfather was driving the same truck, I learned to drive in this truck’, this is really funny.”
View the video which Amy and Matt shot for the Kickstarter campaign (with footage of the vineyards and the house itself, and the truck...) below:
To learn more about Amy and Matt’s wines read BB Kuett’s well researched post here, from the blog Provence Ventoux.
Contact Amy by mail or call her on +33 (0)4 6657 2213.