An Irresistible Life in Wine
Known by the playful nickname of Lulu, Ludwig Bindernagel had his heart taken by Burgundy before landing in the nearby Jura region. Quickly becoming a local loyalist and passionately cultivating the region’s stalwart grapes, Savagnin, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Lulu found success in a decidedly hands-on vineyard, hands-off winery approach.
Previously working as an architect in Paris (how very chic), the charming pull of a life in wine became irresistible to Lulu and wife Nathalie. The year 2000 heralded the beginning of their foray into wine, purchasing the established Les Chais du Vieux Bourg in Jura, Burgundy’s more affordable neighbour.
Sticking to his regional loyalist guns, it didn’t take long before the glass-swirling masses caught wind of Les Chais du Vieux Bourg’s new custodian. From its 2.5 hectares and growing notoriety, the family purchased further vineyards in Poligny, l’Etoile and the mountainous Château-Chalon.
In timing with their organic certification and in keeping with the progression of their new chapter, Les Chais du Vieux Bourg became Lulu Vigneron in 2019. Playful by name, playfully puritan by nature, Lulu’s lo-fi approach transports us to the Jura a bottle at a time.
A stickler for the natural winemaking and traditional styles of the Jura, the Bavarian-born winemaker holds nothing more sacred than the health of his vines. True to form, you won’t catch a piece of machinery nor a waft of insecticide on his 100% organic estate, grown from a distinct soil combo of calcareous fossilized oysters and layered marl. You better believe biodynamic conversion is well and truly underway.
Most days you’ll find Lulu in the vineyard, wildly pruning to maintain super low yields. When harvest rolls around, he’s hand-selecting clusters, ensuring that production will always be teasingly limited.
Lulu shows that slow and steady wins the race. A wholly natural approach continues in the winery, with native yeasts and natural ferments allowed to create their own magic and running their course for up to two years. Tinkering throughout the year rather than tampering at vintage, some barrels are topped while others aren’t allowing for oxidative ageing where desired and minimal sulphur is added at bottling. Lulu simply doesn’t mess with mother nature’s grand plans for his fruit.