A tribute to Alain Voge, passionate winemaker
Alain Voge, 1939-2020, the heart at work
Alain Voge, founder of the eponymous estate (Domaine Alain Voge) in Cornas, passed away on Wednesday September 2, at the age of 81. Man of commitment, he was free and united. A visionary for his estate while being endowed with a powerful collective spirit for his region, he has dedicated his life to raising the Cornas and Saint-Péray appellations to the top of the Rhône Valley wine hierarchy.
His years of rugby allied with solid convictions and strong human values had forged in him this defender of heritage, private and public. Alain Voge will remain in our collective memory as a major historical figure of our vineyard.
Alain Voge, a winemaker proud of his past and looking to the future
In 1905, Alain’s great-grandfather, Henri Voge, crossed the Rhône river to settle on its right bank. His grandfather and then his father took over the business, one after the other, each generation expanding the family’s agricultural activity. The family had two occupations: fruit merchant and vine grower, on land purchased gradually over the years. In 1961, Alain starts working alongside his father, who sadly dies suddenly at an early age in 1965.
Assisted by his mother, Alain takes on the management of the farm and the vines. Turning to his advantage a disagreement he had with a wine merchant, he begins to develop the sale of bottled wines, a flourishing business at the time. Already a committed vine grower, he becomes a fervent protector of vines. In 1972, when new zoning ordinances are announced, with great foresight but entirely alone in his combat, Alain defends the Cornas winegrowing area against the spread of urbanisation.
In 1980, Alain Voge decides that he will concentrate his efforts on just one profession, that of winegrower. It’s the start
of a new project for the domain and for the winegrowing area too. Because although Alain Voge’s mind is full of ideas to improve unceasingly the quality and boost the renown of his wines, his work is also a tremendous encouragement for other winegrowers and therefore an asset for the recognition of the Cornas and Saint-Péray appellations, at this point in keen competition with the Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and Hermitage appellations.
Between 1979 and 2000, Alain Voge leaves nothing to chance. He begins a mammoth task of clearing and redeveloping the hillsides of Cornas; once again he gets involved with protecting the area of the Cornas appellation threatened by revision. He draws inspiration from the Burgundy style to make the first Saint-Péray still wine vinified in barrels and revives the appellation with the Cuvée Boisée. He creates the Cornas Les Vieilles Fontaines and the Saint-Péray Fleur de Crussol. He orders the construction of a new cellar; launches a new vineyard planted in the higher part of Cornas at an altitude of 380 metres.
During this period, Alain Voge makes headway. With insight for his own domain, he’s also endowed with a powerful community spirit for his region. His years as a rugby player combined with strong convictions and deeply felt human values have created within him the will to be a defender of private and public heritage.
In 2004, the foundations of the domain are firmly established in the roots of Cornas and the brand name Alain Voge is solid. Its founder then decides once again to look towards the future. The company SARL Alain Voge is founded with
a managing director named Albéric Mazoyer, who is from the Ardèche region like Alain. Under his management, the conversion to organic growing of vineyards in Saint-Péray begins in 2006. Albéric chose Laurent Martin as vineyard manager; they have known one another for a long time and share the same sensitivities about viticulture being in harmony with nature. In 2012, Lionel Fraisse, a native of the Ardèche region too, but living in Saint-Péray, nephew of Robert Fraisse, another leading figure in the history of the winegrowing area and a lifelong friend of Alain Voge, arrives at thedomain to assist Albéric Mazoyer. In 2018, he takes the lead of the estate following the retirement of Albéric. Since 2016, the entire Alain Voge wine estate is certified for organic winegrowing.
Uphold heritage and draw inspiration from it to move forward: this enlightened classicism is the hallmark of Alain Voge.