La Ramoneta of the Month – Delphine d’Aboville

Delphine Aboville

Every month, we introduce you to an interesting woman living in Languedoc. Curious as we are, we like to find out why she lives in this beautiful region, what she does for a living, and some of her Languedoc favourites. This month, we would like you to meet joyful winemaker Delphine d’Aboville. She runs Domaine Allegria in Caux near Pézenas with her husband Ghislain. While enjoying a homecooked lunch with a magnificent view over their wine estate, Delphine told me her story and shared her favourites.


Bonjour! I am Delphine, a winemaker at Domaine Allegria, a family and happy organic wine estate. I created this domaine with my husband Ghislain fifteen years ago. I’m originally French German and went to law school in Belgium. After completing my degree, I moved to Geneva, where I met Ghislain. After having lived together for four years, we decided to go for a life change. We dreamt about creating a project together and decided to go for it. Our desire was to live in the middle of vineyards with our five children, our dogs and our chickens. We wished for our kids to grow up in the countryside. Also, we would see them a lot this way, as we wanted to work in the same place.

First time visiting the region

Ghislain and I arrived in the region for the first time in 2003. We didn’t know the area at all, but Languedoc seemed a good choice to start a wine estate. It’s a welcoming region with a lot of dynamism where everything is possible. And there is great potential here to create excellent wines! Also, we loved- and still love- the climate, the beautiful landscapes inland, the little villages, the good restaurants, and the outstanding local producers of products like honey and goat cheese.

Delphine d'Aboville
© Domaine Allegria

Settling in Languedoc

To start our wine-making adventure, we decided to move to Montpellier to study again, agriculture-related this time, and to work at a wine estate to learn the ropes. Adventure called us once again, and we decided to move to Argentina to do a vinification there. We were very close to starting our new life across the ocean, but, in the end, we preferred moving to the Languedoc region to settle our little tribe (1 & 2).

We visited many, many wine estates between Nîmes and the Agly Valley above Perpignan. First, we looked for a wine estate with vineyards, a wine cellar and a house. But we couldn’t find our place. So, we decided to only look for vineyards, which, in fact, is our working tool. And that’s how we found our ‘coup de coeur’. After all, it’s like buying a house. After seeing a lot of vineyards, we fell in love with the one where we felt ‘it’.

This was in 2008, and three years later, we built our wine cellar and, another five years later, our house. I didn’t think it would take us this long. But by taking our time, we could create everything with our own hands, which was very rewarding! Ultimately, it’s not the destination that counts but the journey to reach it.

Domaine Allegria

At our Domaine Allegria (3), my family and I live with the rhythm of the seasons, and we absolutely love that. Our lives are very unified in the sense that our working and personal lives get mixed together. But that doesn’t matter, as I love what I am doing.

Being a winemaker means you don’t have a single profession, but fifteen at the same time. The activities vary a lot over the year. It starts with pruning the vines in winter. Spring is for tying up the plants and weeding (we are an organic estate), which continues in summer. Autumn is harvesting time, of course, ‘les vendanges’. We pick the grapes, mostly by hand, followed by spending a lot of time in the wine cellar for the vinification. But there is also the commercial side of being a winemaker, creating good customer relationships, marketing, designing labels, administration, accounting, etc. And then it starts all over again!

The whole experience has been a great change of lifestyle that has permitted me to meet many beautiful people, real ‘bons vivants’, in amazing places across the world.

Wine tourism

You have to be creative to attract new clients, so I’m always looking for new ideas. For example, you can now come to Domaine Allegria with a group of people, assemble your own wine barrel of 300 litres, and design your personal label. After six months, you receive your personally assembled wine. Or you can do a bike tour around the vineyards of four participating wine estates, ‘Raisins et Bicyclettes’, including a wine tasting, of course. It takes place on the 26th of May, and you can buy your tickets here.

Last year, I wanted to add an original setting where you can taste our wines. Living in such a magnificent place, we like to share our little paradise. Therefore, we launched the ‘Tables d’Hôtes Éphémères’ (4) in the summer of 2023, and we are going to continue in 2024 from June to September. During these evenings, we will cook a four-course meal for you, prepared with local ingredients and paired with six of our wines. It was a great success from the beginning, to our surprise. It gives us so much joy to share our profession in a fun way. Every evening is unique; it’s like an improvised piece of theatre. It makes us so happy to welcome enthusiastic people and spoil them with our passion for wine and good food. You can make a reservation here or via the Domaine Allegria’s website.

Domaine Allegria
© Domaine Allegria (picture on the left)

Setting up a business in France

The profession of wine making is a difficult one. The work demands a lot and never stops, especially when you are organic. You have to be passionate about it. We depend on nature, so we are grateful when we can harvest. It’s so difficult to lose all your hard work on drought, frost or hail. It’s not easy being an entrepreneur every day; you must fight to sell your product and find new clients.

However, what joy it is to live in paradise and experience the simple things in life, like picking vineyard leeks or wild asparagus and making a feast. You can savour it while sitting on a hay bale with the most incredible view in front of you and feel like the queen of the world. It’s blissful being able to receive friends for a weekend or during the harvest and spend incredible moments together. Also, we meet great people all the time and create beautiful new friendships, which is a big plus in living this life. But the best part is working with my family, our children, and sharing good food and- now they are growing up- a glass of good wine.

Living in the South of France

I love spring and autumn when the light outside is incredible (by the way, one of our white wines is named after this special light: Hautes Lumières). Winter, I like too, when we look for the sun instead of trying to avoid it. It’s fantastic to have lunch outside in the sun in winter. Also, I enjoy walking in unique sites, such as the Lac du Salagou and the Espiguette beach.

Best Languedoc wine

I prefer delicate and elegant wines more and more. We visited the Domaine Danjou Banessy of the Danjou brothers in the Pyrénées-Orientales department, and I loved their graceful wines and warm welcome! I also enjoy Thierry Navarre’s Ribeyrenc red wine, an ancien Languedoc grape variety brought back to life. It’s very light and easy digestible.

From our own wines, my favourites are the Cinsault Abuelo, with its aroma of roses and violets and a new soon-to-be-launched wine called Chaï Chaï, which smells of forest strawberries and raspberry. A beauty!

Favourite restaurant

Äponem (5), without any doubt! I absolutely love this place, which used to be the rectory of the little village of Vailhan. The restaurant is amazing, and the experience of dining here is out of this world. We are lucky to be able to walk to have a Michelin-starred lunch, a leisurely 2-hour walk through the garrigue scrubland and then walk back when evening falls with eyes full of stars. Isn’t that just perfectly luxurious?!

Perfect day out in Languedoc

Recently, we have loved going to Pézenas’ Saturday morning market (6). At first, we did this to socialise our Australian Shepherd puppy. But we’ve still got a taste for it, and now we have our little habits. Our organic bread comes from Jean Marie; there is a stall where we get our fougasse with fleur d’orange from Aigues-Mortes, and don’t forget the fresh pasta with Italian ricotta. We love tasting some olive oils at the stall, accompanied by a glass of wine. We are so lucky to be able to embrace these moments!

Delphine d'Aboville

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