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Culture

A POP UP SUBLIME ALONG ROUTE THE PLAGE

In the heart of the Saint-Tropez peninsula, the Route le Plage winds through a picturesque landscape of parasol pines and leads to our new favorite hot spot, the family-owned  and organically farmed wine estate, Fondugues-Pradugues. Turning down a little path to the winery, an immediate cool and calm vibe sets the scene. You arrive to find a charmingly retro food-truck, serving the most delicious and creative food pairings alongside their fantastic natural wines. We sat down with owners Laurent and Stephen to dish about their beginnings, learn more about their unique estate and future plans.

1.

Fondugues Pradugues was established in the 60s. Can you tell us the story behind the winery?

The vineyard was purchased by Laurent’s grandfather, a wine merchant who was also an avid sailor in love with St. Tropez.  Laurent’s mother continued to purchase small vineyards that touched Pradugue until reaching the 12 hectares we manage today!

2.

How did you two first become involved and start to run the show?

After our first child Constance was born I decided to take a leave of absence from my career in international relations in Paris, and Laurent was managing a political career in Monaco.  Ramatuelle and Fondugue became our refuge and both our girls grew up in the vines here.  I began taking care of the vineyard after I became alarmed by the chemicals I witnessed being sprayed on our vines, so I got informed and studied organic farming.

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3.

You employ organic methods, harvest by hand, and even use a draft horse! What is the philosophy behind your “biodynamic” process?

We believe in the lowest amount of intervention in both the winery and the vineyard.  The interaction between humans, animals and our vines is the heart of our « terroir ».  We try to reduce the amount of machines in our vineyard, and do almost all of our work by hand, including harvest!

4.

The winery is in a stunning location at the heart of the Saint-Tropez peninsula And your food truck adds another perfect touch to the scene. How did you come up with such a cool idea?

While we were working with the authorities on our building permit, we wanted to begin sharing our garage wines with the community around the peninsula.  Laurent had the idea to open a kiosk, but we wanted to do something more original, and then I stumbled upon the truck and it was love at first sight.

5.

Please tell us more about your cook and his creations. What can visitors expect?

Valentine Costuna, our chef in residence, is a true original.  The experience of our truck would not be the same without his talent and ingenuity.  He works with local produce, fish and pairs them perfectly with our wines.  Visitors can expect the unexpected, each day is a new journey with Valentine depending on the market and his inspirations !

6.

What’s next on the horizon for Fondugues Pradugues?

We are finishing up our winery construction in 2020, and will open new tasting facilities in the spring of 2021.  We plan to offer bespoke tasting experiences by appointment for our wine club members and others who wish to share our unique vision of wine growing and culinary pairings.

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7.

Time for insider tips. What is your #1 “off the beaten path” Saint-Tropez favourite?

Our favorite weekend pursuit is to spend the mornings at the flea market in Cogolin followed by dinner and dancing at « La Sauvageonne » restaurant, a unique experience in Ramatuelle.

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Reserve Maison Panthère

In light of these challenging times, we want to assure the highest level of safety and well-being for you and our staff. So we have decided to launch our first season granting reservations for the whole residence only, (sleeps up to 6) at a special rate.

Looking forward to welcoming you!

M.P.

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December 2020
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