Our partners are local heroes from interesting wine regions who create dynamic, inspired, lively wines.
Adega Algueira | Artadi | August Kesseler | Bisol | Ballot-Millot | Billecart-Salmon | Bruno Rocca| Bila-Haut | By Farr | Ca'Marcanda | Cape Wine Company | Domaine d'Henri | Dunn Vineyards | Gaja | Giant Steps | Giodo | Grosset | Hugel | Henri Giraud | Kutch Wines | LAS Vinos | M.Chapoutier | Maison Trenel | Monteraponi | Pascal Jolivet | Pierre Gaillard | Pieve Santa Restituta | Poderi dal Nespoli | Raats Family Wines | Schwarz | Storm Wines | Shea Wine Cellars | The Sadie Family Wines | TinPot Hut | Willunga 100 | Williams Selyem
Founded in 1818 in the village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ and currently run by the 8th generation of the Billecart family. During their 200 years of making great champagne, Billecart-Salmon pioneered the cold stabilization technique and goes to great lengths to prevent oxidation to create their charming fruit driven style full of elegance and finesse. Sweden has a special part to play in the Billecart-Salmon story. In 1999 in Richard Juhlin’s Millennium tasting Billecart-Salmon’s vintage 1959 not only took home the title of “Champagne of the Millennium” but the 1961 vintage took second place as well.
Hey Hey Hey Lively Wines you are the fucking best!
- Antoine Roland Billecart
Monteraponi is situated just outside of Radda in Chianti on a high hill where the governor of Toscana, Baron Ugo, resided in the 900s. The Braganti family has breathed new life into the charming estate producing Chianti as God intended, without the use of international grape varieties and a refined use oak which allows the elegant red fruit to shine. The Monteraponi estate includes 150 ha of land but only 15 ha are planted with grapes. All farming on the estate is organic and also incorporates biodynamic practices. Monteraponi’s sophisticated wines have been awarded the highest score of three glasses in the Italian wine bible Gambero Rosso several times over and have left the sommeliers of Michelin starred restaurants world over screaming for more.
Situated in Alsace’s picturesque town Riquewihr Familie Hugel has been hard at work since 1639 with their fresh, elegant, mineral driven dry wines and pioneering late-harvest wines in Alsace, Vendange Tardive and Sélection de Grains Nobles. Each of the 13 generations of the Hugel family has taken tradition very seriously and aren’t afraid to fiercely advocate for Alsace whether it be standing for stricter Grand Cru regulations, geological research to create their first single-vineyard wine Shoelhammar, or simply making sure that Alsatian wines are enjoyed worldwide.
Modern winemaking techniques with traditional methods and an unwavering focus on sustainability. Domaine Henri Giraud is located in the grand cru village of Äy, considered one of the top villages for Pinot Noir. Henri Giraud’s rich, full-bodied, Pinot Noir dominated Champagnes take great care to reflect not only terroir of Äy but also the traditions in Champagne which includes only using oak sourced from the Argonne forest. In recent years the house has focused on natural materials almost completely removing stainless steel from the winery instead opting for concrete, sandstone, and oak.
Domaine Henri Giraud is glad to be partnering with a young, inspired and dynamic company such as Lively Wines. It has been a great journey full of hard work and lots of fun!
- Claude Giraud
When the world thinks of German wines, they think Riesling but August Kesseler didn’t earn the moniker “The Prince of Pinot” in the German press by caring what the rest of the world thought. Instead of embracing the current style of pinot noir in Rheingau August looked to Burgundy for inspiration. He planted pinot noir in the warmest vineyards with the most sun hours and let the fruit fully ripen. He harvested later, let the maceration last longer, and let the wines go through malolactic fermentation in French oak - unheard of in Rheingau at the time. The result was an instant success and without a doubt made August one of the foremost red wine revolutionaries in Germany.
August is still however a true German at heart and he still has a soft spot for making Rieslings, his Grosse Gewächse from the Rüdesheim sites Berg Schlossbeg and Berg Roseneck number among the best in Germany, year after year.
21 generations of the Bisol family have been present in the heart of Prosecco Superiore country, Valdobiaddane. Bisol is a traditional house with a focus on the message of Glera, the steep hills of Valdobiaddane and the qualities of the unique terroir of each Cru and Rive. Bisol aims to be the reference point for Superiore and lift the image of premium, terrior focused DOCG Prosecco.
Bruno Rocca has been producing wine under his name in Rabaja since 1978 but now with the help of his son Francesco in the cellar and daughter Luisa in export markets the family Rocca’s name has never been stronger. Bruno is a true modernist and makes extremely elegant wines with pure fruit and a well-balanced oak influence. Rocca does not use any enzymes or additives to concentrate the color or soften the structure of the wines instead all focus is put on to producing the best fruit possible from some of the absolute best areas in Barbaresco and letting Nebbiolo’s characteristic floral notes shine.
If you want to make high quality wines you need great vineyards. If you want good business you need excellent importers.
- Luisa Rocca
Fiona turner is one of New Zealands most exalted winemakers. In 2003 Fiona decided to produce wine under her own name and began her search for vineyards that produced fruit with good concentration and high acidity. In Blind River, Marlbrough, she found exactly what she was looking for. In addition to her own vineyards Fiona buys fruit from select growers in the area based on district, soil type, and climate. With TinPot Hut Fiona delivers aromatic, fruit driven and elegant style with mouthwatering concentration and a high acidity.
In 2004 three friends David Gleave MW from renowned vinimportören Liberty Wines in London, John Ratcliffe from Oddbins and Michael Hill Smith MW from Shaw + Smith decided to taste through the Australian wine assortment available in England and clearly saw there was a huge gap both in quality and price between the everyday wines and the most well known prestige wines. David and John came together to found Willunga 100 in McLaren Vale to fix that gap in the market by producing high quality Grenache that didn’t break the bank. It wasn’t just the export markets that had been thirsting for high quality at a reasonable price, the very first vintage was awarded 5 stars by James Halliday in 2008’s wine guide and Willunga 100 was named in Australia’s top 10 newcomers.
It’s great to be working with a distributor who shares our enthusiasm for Grenache!
- David Gleave MW
Artadi was founded in the middle of the 1980s as a cooperative under the leadership of winemaker Juan Carlos Lopez de la Calle. Juan Carlos dead set on showing the potential of Tempranillo to produce some of the best wines in the world. He shunned many of the traditional practices in Rioja including the rules of aging and the idea of using American oak that has been so prevalent in Rioja thinking that both practices masked the taste of the wines from the region. Juan Carlos instead studied the soil, exposure, and climate of each of his vineyards- in short, their terroir. Artadi has embraced their more Burgundian wine making philosophy deeply rooted in terroir and now only produces Villages and Single Vineyard wines that properly express Rioja. Juan Carlos has certainly reached his goal of showing Tempranillo from Rioja’s potential, Artadi’s single vineyard wine El Pison is consistently rated as one of the top wines in the world.
Three varieties of grapes grow on the land covered by Domaine de Bila-Haut, Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan . The Roussillon was bound to attract Michel Chapoutier’s attention. He decided to locate his domain at Latour de France. Michel began with wines like Occultum Lapidem so show the terrior of the region but after six years of standing back, observing and analyzing the terroir Michel created a Selection Parcellaire wine called “V.I.T.” which stands for “Visitare Interiore Terrae”, the perfect expression of the sophistication Rousillon can offer. Rousillon continues to surprise Michel has he finds more hidden treasures in granite soils and interesting terriors in the region.
Poderi dal Nespoli
The Ravaioli family has produced wine at Poderi dal Nespoli since 1929 in the heart of Italy’s gastronomic center, Emilia-Romagna. The estate is focused on varietals of the region but especially Sangiovese di Romagna. The Ravaioli family created a single variety Sangiovese de Romagna wine called Prugneto which is considered one of the most noble and faithful expressions of Romagna. The wines are produced by hand with respect for nature and a passion unrivaled in the region. The fourth generation of the Ravaioli family continue the tradition of generosity in the region by welcoming guests to their agriturismo Borgo di Guidi.
After consulting at some of the greatest estates in Italy famed oenologist and Sangiovese savant Carlo Ferrini has finally settled into his own estate, Giodo. Located just south of the town Montalcino Giodo is small, just 3.5 ha but the perfect size for Carlo to pour his years of experience in to. Giodo is named after his parents Giovanna and Donatello. Carlo spend many years looking for the perfect south-east facing, gentle slopes all perfectly exposed to the morning and afternoon sun that are found at Giodo where no vines were planted yet only “woods and wheat”. There in the picturesque landscape he planted 15 different clones of Sangiovese all selected for their quality of fruit and low yields. He farms organically and has one full time employee just to take care of the vineyards. Carlo Ferrini makes Giodo wines at Castello Romitorio’s winery, though he has cleared land for a tiny winery on Giodo estate to be completed for the 2019 harvest.
The Sadie Family Wines
The outspoken and artistic Eben Sadie has earned his reputation in the wine world where he has been described as everything from enfant-terrible to National treasure. Eben insists that “no man is an appellation” but he has defined the largest region in South Africa, Swartland. Long thought to be better suited to wheat than to wine Swartland has a well defined and varied terroir that is influenced by three mountains, Paardeberg, Piquetberg, och Riebeek Mountain which each give pockets of granite, slate, sandstone and quartz. With such interesting terroir Sadie believes in place above progress. He searches out old vineyards with interesting varietals and vinifies the wines using traditional techniques and equipment. All the grapes are hand harvested and sorted then pressed in a small traditional basket press or foot stomped. Even has an aversion to oak in wine which has led him to work mostly with concrete, clay, and foodies with thick old oak which protects the freshness of the wine without imparting any oak tones.
One of Australia’s most hyped producers, By Farr, is on the forefront of what it means to be ‘new Australia’ producing elegant single vineyard varietal wines in their cool climate region of Geelong. Gary Farr and his son Nick Farr have taken lessons from Domaine Dujac in Marey-Saint-Denis and like any successful pilgrimage to Burgundy returned to Australia with the mantra “terroir, terroir, terroir”. The Farr family has chosen focus on the true expression of their own vineyards with no regard for the mainstream demands of the market. They want to show the world their unique “tiny piece of dirt” in Geelong.
It is with great pleasure and excitement that l continue to work with a fantastic group of people. The enjoyment is based on the love of food and wine but the relationship doesn’t finish there. It is a country and team that l want to visit and share a drink.
- Nick Farr
Maison Trenel was founded in 1928 by Henri Claudius Trenel who set out with a simple goal, to produce the purest expression of each origin. This defining philosophy of authenticity in both the wines and fruit-liqueurs is shown through Trenel presenting the most beautiful examples of the region by using fruit from talented wine growers with ambitious and respectful vinifications to express the quintessence of these origins.
In 2001 Charles Ballot took over his family’s already reputable domaine and like all young inspired winemakers was ready to raise the bar and leave his mark on the domaine which dates back to the 17th century. Of the family’s 10ha, 7 are located are in Meursault. Charles started in the vineyards, working the soils, reducing yields, using more natural viticulture, shortly followed by generally updating in the cellar. The resulting wines were in much more of a “Roulot-school” of Meursault, more taught and racier than the fatter, honeyed and nutty style of 20-30 years ago. On the red side, Charles has been able to discover slightly more graceful expressions of these Bugundy appellations, without compromising the expression of the underlying sites as well.
Jamie Kutch was living a high paced life working as a NASDAQ trader when his life took a literal left turn. In his free time Jamie was an avid wine enthusiast with a real love of Pinot Noir so one day wrote to his favorite producer in California, Kosta Browne, and was invited to come intern. He uprooted his family from New York and headed to Sonoma to pursue his passion in wine. After the internship at Kosta Browne was finished Jamie stayed in California to start his own project, Kutch Wines. Jamie hunted Sonoma for cool climate vineyards to create well balanced, low alcohol Pinot Noir and eventually Chardonnay. While Jamie’s passion may lie with Pinot Noir his first vintage of Chardonnay landed the wine the nick name Kutch-Dury.
Shea Wine Cellars
Shea Vineyard is probably the most well-known vineyard in Oregon. Top producers in Oregon and California buy fruit from this iconic vineyard including Antica Terra, Bergström and Ken Write Cellars, to create some of the best Pinot Noirs on the west coast of the United States. In 1996 after 10 years of selling all of their fruit, Dick and Deirdre Shea have decided to keep 25% percent of the fruit to make their own world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay under the label Shea Wine Cellars. Obviously vineyard work comes first, Shea Vineyard has 10 skilled employees totally dedicated to vineyard work year round but in the peak growing season the staff grows to 35-40 employees. The grapes are farmed to express their terroir and the Shea family firmly believes that all synthetic materials are harmful to their fruit and avoided at all cost.
Winemaker Nick Peterkin grew up in cellars, his maternal grandparents are Di and Kevin Cullen and his father Mike founded Pierro. Its safe to say Nick comes with a solid winemaking heritage, but he’s not the type to rest on his family name. Nick’s determination of forge his own path led him to create LAS Vino, the LAS stands for Luck, Art, Science. His experiments with luck, art, and science have led to wines totally untypical of Australia using unusual blends for Margret River, or unconventional vinification as in Albino Pinot. Fruit is sourced from vineyards that Nick finds interesting and if no quality fruit is found, the vintage is skipped. The wines are made with minimal intervention because this allows them to best express the time and place. Nick’s wines are anything but conventional in his own words, “If I can’t answer the question ‘what makes this wine unique?’ then I won’t make it”.
Jeffery Grosset, a long-standing advocate for Riesling in Australia, has always been an innovator. He has challenged convention and tradition with his winemaking, a challenge that came with great rewards. Jeffery was voted Australian Winemaker of the year in 1998 and belongs to Decanter’s list of Top 10 White Wine Makers. Grosset has always stood for the terroir of their vineyards in Clare Valley. Jeffery views it as a challenge is to make the most unpolluted environment for his vines, by working organically and hand tending each vineyard he can express the dramatic differences between each site. Each one of the eight highly regarded wines Grosset produces is a benchmark in its class with a significant international profile.
Privately owned and estate based Giant Steps has forged a reputation for delivering some of Australia’s most consistent, over-performing, varietal wines. Owner and winemaker Phil Sexton, formally of Innocent Bystander, has always been considered a visionary. He has spearheaded projects all over Australia producing wines, bubbles, and even beers. The cool climate of Yarra Valley is the latest to catch Phil’s attention. Phil’s dedication to showing the terroir of the Yarra Valley is clear in each of the wines and especially true for the single vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs, four of which are consistently listed in James Halliday’s with 5 star ratings.
Raats Family Wines
Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc. That’s it. Since 2000, founder Bruwer Raats has kept his focus on these two varieties, believing that specializing would lead to success. This belief was not unfounded, as today, Raats Family Wines is regarded as a leader of South Africa’s Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, receiving consistent local and international accolades.
Cape Wine Company
Cape Wine Company was founded in 2010 when Erlank Erasmus decided to take his craft as winemaker and create a space from which he could share the produce with wine lovers across the world. With full confidence in the quality of wine produced in the Cape Winelands of South Africa,Cape Wine Company likes to get creative and develop new product ranges throughout the year.
Even though the Chapoutier family has been prominent in Tain l’Hermitage since 1808 it wasn’t until 1989 when Michel Chapoutier took over the management of both the vineyards and the cellars that M.Chapoutier started on their current course as one of the world’s undisputed top producers. Michel choose to focus on the health of his vineyards and by using organic and biodynamic practices he makes his wines to be a snapshot of each vineyard letting each vintage shine. With so much work being done in the vineyards Michel unabashedly refers to himself as a “lazy winemaker” stating that his only job is to make sure the character of the vintage is in no way tampered with. “Lazy” or not, Michel’s wines have been awarded more 100 point scores by the magazine Wine Spectator than any other winemaker.
“Lively Wines has positively transformed our distribution in Sweden and are especially doing a fantastic job sharing with the restaurateurs our passion for terroirs through our Selections Parcéllaires. Great team and great job!”
- Michel Chapoutier
Dunn has separated its self from the glitz and glam of Napa Valley and settled in to down-to-earth authentic winemaking. Randy Dunn and his wife Lori purchased just under 17 ha of land in the while Randy, who has long been considered one of the world’s most renowned makers of Cabernet Sauvignon, was still working as the winemaker at Caymus. The couple worked their small vineyard in what is now the Howell Mountain sub-AVA on the weekends with their son Mike in tow. In 1979 Dunn Vineyards put out their first vintage and in just 10 years the winery was going so well that Dunn family was digging into the mountain to make more space for a barrel room. Mike Dunn has taken over winemaking since the early 2000s and while he still follows his father’s example, he has clear ideas of his own. Mike’s meticulous winemaking has furthered the quality of Dunn Vineyards.
Burt Williams and Ed Selyem started to make Pinot Noir in Sonoma in 1981, the pair didn’t set out to make wine for anyone but themselves in a garage in Forestville but gradually built up a winery with cult-status and international acclaim. Burt and Ed set a new standard for American Pinot Noir and elevated Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley to among the best wine growing regions in the world. Williams Selyem now produces over twenty different Pinot Noirs from fruit bought with handshake agreements from different sites around Sonoma. No doubt the success of Williams Selyem has been built on partnering with these growers.
Hans Schwarz, the larger than life Butcher in Andau, always had a small hobby production of wine but sold most of his fruit to local cooperatives until Hans’ friend and Austrian sweet wine legend Alois Kratcher convinced Schwarz he had to start making wine under his own name. At the time Kratcher was working closely with Manfred Krakl of Sine Qua Non and both men set out to help Hans Schwarz make the best red wine possible. The result, Schwarz Rot, brought quality Zweigelt to a whole new level and raised the bar for all Austrian reds. Since then Hans and his son Mikeal have continued to push the bar with wonderfully fresh reds from Burgenland including the Butcher Pinot Noir.
“Passion for wine, passion for food. Love at first meeting!"
- Mikeal Schwartz
Hannes Storm, a fierce burgundy lover, has taken to growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay just outside of his hometown of Hermanus, a small fishing town in the Hemel-en-aard, a unique region with a strong Atlantic influence from Walker Bay. Storm Wines is the only producer to have Pinot Noir to represent each of the regions in Hemel-en-aard, the Valley, Upper Valley and the Ridge. Hannes has a philosophy of minimal intervention, sustainability, and embraces the elegance in the wines of a cool climate region in South Africa as a nod to the old world. Storm Wines are sought after both domestically and abroad with small allocations selling quickly to wine lovers and sommeliers who consider Storm Wines a must have for any South African wine list.
No name means as much to Chablis as Michel Laroche. With over 50 harvests under his belt Michel has worked for more sustainable viticulture and a lower volume harvest with the idea that the best wines can only be made with the best raw materials. Many were shocked when Michel sold his life’s work, Domaine Laroche but Michel had already begun his next project. In the sale of Domaine Laroche Michel kept 8 hectares of his family’s best and oldest vineyards so that he, along with his children, could keep their heritage in Chablis. The new project named Le Domaine d’Henri after Michel’s father and will show both history of the Laroche family but also the future. The Laroche daughters work tirelessly in the vineyards, cellars, and abroad to take over the mantle of their father as the spokespeople of Chablis.
Angelo Gaja is Italy’s most known and dynamic wine personality. He has combined the traditions of Langhe with bold innovations in the vineyards and in the cellars in addition to bringing Gaja to international markets. His wines have received more success and recognition than any other Italian wine house. Angelo has a long family tradition of total dedication to uncompromising quality behind him, the Gaja family has been producing Barbaresco since 1859. The single vineyard wines, Costa Russi, Sori Tildin, and Sori San Lorenzo are among the most treasured and sought after wines worldwide. Recently Angelo has handed over the reins to his daughter Gaia, the fifth generation of Gaja, who has already made her mark in 2013 with the re-introduction of the single vineyard wines to DOP Barbaresco.
In 1996 the Gaja family purchased their second property in Tuscany located in Bolgheri. The winery’s name comes from the Piedmontese dialect and means “house of endless negotiations”. It refers to the hundreds of hours Angelo spent trying to convince the property’s previous owners to sell the estate, which had been primarily an olive grove and fruit orchard, with only a few hectares of vineyards. The wines from Ca’marcanda are primarily international varitals along with Sangiovese. Bolgheri’s hot summer days, freshened by brisk sea air and cool nights, create an ideal climate for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese and Syrah vines. As in his native Piedmont, Angelo Gaja’s goal is to produce wines that are true to their origins, reflecting the distinctive qualities of their unique terroir.
Pieve Santa Restituta
Pieve Santa Restituta is located in the beautiful Montalcino countryside just south of Siena. The estate is the first property Angelo Gaja invested in outside of Piemonte in 1994. Even in their shabby state, the vineyards had so much potential with chalky soil and the perfect southwestern exposition. The estate is named for the church at its center, Santa Restituta which has a history dating back to the 300s. Angelo saw these historic vineyards as the perfect way to grow outside of Piemonte, he restored the church and built the winery underground as not to disturb the gorgeous landscape. The project was finally finished in 2005 which was also the first vintage released of both single vineyard wines Sugarille and Rennina. In this short amount of time Santa Pieve Restituta has become one of the absolute top producers in Brunello di Montalcino.
One of the brightest stars in the Northern Rhone. After studying in Beaune and Montepellier Pierre worked with E.Guigal. in 1981 he bought his first vineyard, Clos de Cuminailles in Saint Joseph but it wasn’t until 1987 that Pierre started to vinify under his own name. Today Pierre has 25 ha in Northern Rhone which span from Côte-Rôtie in the north to Cornas in the south. Pierre works thoroughly in the vineyards, has a tedious selection of grapes and extremely careful extractions which means even though the wines spend a relatively long time in oak, they always exhibit a purity of fruit and a classic floral tone. True elegance in northern Rhone.
Pascal Jolivet is one of the youngest and most dynamic producers in the Loire Valley. The Jolivet family has worked exclusively as negociants for four generations, but Pascal had other ambitions. When Pascal took over the family business in 1982 he immediately started to look for the best vineyards in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Shortly after in 1987 Pascal founded a house with his name and today he owns around 50 ha in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. The wines are produced with low intervention practices, natural yeast, and with no clarification so that the wines keep as much character as possible. Pascal’s wines are represented in star restaurants world over.
Adega Algueira is located in Ribeira Sacra where they grow their fruit on extreme slopes that line the river Sil. Algueira used traditional methods and traditional Spanish varietals such as Mencia, Alvarello, Merenzao Caino, Godello, Loureiro, Alvariño och Treixadura to produce expressive, fresh, and elegant wines with silky tannins and flowery fruit that can only remind one of Bourgogne. The top cuvees are foot stomped for maximum extraction without harsh tannin.
”Our appreciation of the dynamism and commitment of Lively wines has led to a partnership of which we are more than proud. They are a young and brilliant team who are proving themselves to be the perfect foil with which to face up to the challenges of the ever-changing market that is wine.”Gianluca Bisol
”This team is f-cking fantastic.”Antoine Roland Billecart
”I would say Lively wines is the only importer that makes your dreams come true. On one day you can have a crayfish party, the next a very serious business meeting and finally end up in the middle of the archipelago fishing for pike. And this with a team of the sweetest wine crazy people in the trade. Love you guys!”Jean Frederic Hugel