Rhone valley vintner turns to Internet tastings

Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:12am EST
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By Marcel Michelson

PARIS (Reuters Life!) - An ecology-minded Rhône valley vintner maker has found a novel way to meet wine lovers by offering tastings over the Internet.

Of course one cannot smell or taste wines through a computer screen but Laurent Habrard has made tasting his wines available at the click of a mouse.

Anybody interested in his wines -- Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and rose wines from the Ardèche, Drôme and côtes du Rhône areas -- can order samples on his site (www.domainehabrard.com).

These are sleek glass tubes of 60 ml (2.112 fl oz).

One tube costs 3.90 euros ($4.98) and a set of three 6.90 euros. But Habrard reimburses these costs when a taster turns into a buyer.

"It all started because of my deep wish to change our production methods so that my profession has a better relationship with the natural elements," said Habrard who is the fifth generation of his family to make wines at the village of Gervans, situated roughly between Lyon and Valence.

Gervans is known for its Crozes-Hermitage wines, apricots and a water-power station in the Rhône river.

Habrard started turning the vineyards into an ecological project in 2008 and plans to have fully converted the methods of production by 2011.   Continued...