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Jean Orliac started as a professor of agriculture but always held the dream of following in the footsteps of his winemaking grandfather.
He distinctly remembers riding a bicycle past the picturesque winemaking region Pic Saint Loup and the Hortus and making the vow: "One day I will be back that's for sure!" You'll be glad he returned.
Jean's 'second wine' uses prime bunches of top-quality grapes and has proved a massive hit with Laithwaites customers - for whom it's made exclusively!
Born in 1947, Jean gained a diploma in Economics and Sciences at d'Agronomie de Montpellier, and worked his way up to become one of the most respected professors of agriculture in the South of France.
He had long wanted to follow in his family's winemaking footsteps, and it was when he started a family of his own that the dream started to come true. In 1973 - a year after marrying the love of his life Marie-Thérèse - Jean started to farm a couple of hectares of vines in the Vallée de Fambetou.
This valley, situated between Pic Saint Loup and l'Hortus, was undiscovered country wine-wise, but Jean's agricultural brain was certain he'd find great terroir for making wine here. Time and patience would prove him right.
The family built their own house by the vineyard in 1980, and after ten years of honing his wines to perfection, the first commercial vintage was released. Jean put everything into the 1990 Hortus, and promptly quit his job in academia.
These days, Jean and Marie-Thérèse are always on hand at the winery, surrounded by their children and grandchildren. With the expertise of their three sons now benefiting the winery too, Hortus is renowned throughout the South of France and beyond for its tiny-volume triumphs.