26.05.11

From Rat Race to Provence Rosé: The Mirabeau Story

For further information: Ali at ewpr / 020 8747 9592

Two years ago, Stephen Cronk was a Richmond resident working in a corporate world.  Producing his own wine was still the pipe dream that it had been 20 years before.

Today, he and his family live in the heart of Provence and Stephen's first release - Mirabeau Côtes de Provence Rosé 2010 - is on-shelf in Waitrose (by 8.6.11) and waitrosewine.com at RRP £8.99.  Stephen has documented all the highs and lows, trials and tribulations of taking Mirabeau from grape to bottle in a series of videos at www.mirabeauwine.com.  In his own words, "It's been one hell of a ride with plenty of hairy moments along the way - but this has been a genuine fascination and passion which I want to share with everyone."

 "It was an itch I had to scratch…"

Stephen's dream of making his own wine was born during a gap year spent travelling around the vineyards of Australia.  After graduating, he started working for wine importer Michael Morgan and studied for his WSET qualifications (up to Diploma level) before setting up his own wine and coffee business.  "Eventually I had to sell the business and go and get a 'proper' job," he says, "but I never lost my dream and it became one of those itches that I knew one day I would need to scratch."  After 15 years of working in telecoms and constantly talking about moving to the south of France to make his own wine, in 2009 he finally took the plunge.  The family left their 'normal' lives in suburban Surrey, moved to Cotignac, put their children into the local French school and set about creating their own wine, Mirabeau Rosé.

Mirabeauwine.com

Central to Mirabeau is a series of video blogs on the website that tell Stephen's Mirabeau story - following the work in the vineyard, watching the harvest come in, the meeting with Waitrose (it was a 'yes'!) and the first bottling run - along with anecdotes about the Cronk family settling into Provencal life. 

Stephen's aim has always been to create more than just a wine: he wants to demystify the world of wine for his customers and so he has put together a series of short films and interviews to educate, inform and - ultimately - to entertain.  The series is entitled 'Understanding Wine' and features vignettes with key figures Stephen meets on his travels.  "I'm on a mission to convert as many people as possible from casual wine drinkers to people who feel confident and inspired by the subject of wine," he says.  "I want to prick people's interest so they'll feel confident to ask any questions they have about wine in our forum or on our Facebook page.  I can then also direct them to sites where they can learn even more - blogs, wine courses etc."