José Tastavy

José Tastavy and wine go back a long way – a very long way. Both his grandfather and great-grandfather were winemakers and merchants in the Languedoc. Even his surname originates from the Occitan word Tastavin – people who worked the land and were in charge of the local lord’s personal wine cellar.

So José grew up among the vines, and there was never any doubt that he would become a winemaker. As a qualified oenologist, he joined Andrieu-Fulcrand in 1987, where he worked for five years. It was during this time that he met Pierre Degroote, who in 1992 created the Domaines Virginie with Bernard Montariol and recruited José to the venture. In the same year they also brought in a certain Joël Baconin.

In the space of 10 years, the Domaines Virginie grew from 5 to 100 staff and were acquired by Castel. José Tastavy wished to return to customised wines produced within a more modest-sized winegrowing estate, so in 1997, he established the Domaines des Marins, achieving a turnover of €1.5m in the first year of trading.

In 2000, he asked his friend Joël Baconin to join the enterprise – as an employee initially, then as a partner. As it strengthened its expertise, the business and its customer base grew. The result was a turnover of €19m in 2018.