10 May - Naked Wines report that 2,500 Angels pre-ordered 30,000 bottles in just 48 hours. On her website Katie Jones wrote, 'I was watching the bidding and just couldn't believe how fast the cases were selling – even my Mum and Dad didn't manage to get their order in before it was sold out.' A very fortunate resolution.8 May - Naked Wines, the online wine retailer advance-funded by its own customers, or 'Angels', has stepped into the breach. They tell us, 'As soon as we saw your article about vandals destroying Katie Jones’ white vintage, we dropped her a line and asked if we could help.' A deal has been put together about which Katie says, 'this offer will help us get back on our feet and come back with an absolutely outstanding 2013 wine. Thank you, Naked Wines and all your lovely Angels.' Naked Wines will be promoting the offer to their Angels later this week and hope to sell out within a matter of hours. Keep a lookout here.
In the latest case of wine vandalism, the taps on two vats of 2012 white wine at Katie Jones' Domaine Jones were opened while she was attending Prowein, thus destroying the entire vintage of 2012 Jones Blanc made from 80-year-old Grenache Gris near Maury in Roussillon. At least she still has her admired red wines to provide some income – unlike Soldera of Case Basse, who lost six years' entire production because of an act of vandalism on the part of a disgruntled employee. Another recent case was not that far south of Domaine Jones when Dits del Terra, established in Priorat by Eben Sadie of South Africa with a colleague, was vandalised in 2011.
These are just two recent cases of what seems to be an increasingly common phenomenon, but I sincerely hope they serve to remind wine producers just how vulnerable they are to such acts. It's fun to run an open house and allow visitors to come and go in wine cellars, but these incidents highlight the regrettable need for top-quality security. (I have often thought how easy it would be for some malfeasant to taint an entire crop by surreptitiously pouring a small amount of toxin into just one barrel during a cellar visit.)
I am probably the only wine lover in Britain who doesn't know Katie Jones well. She was always popular with the British wine trade and media, and did wonders for the reputation of the co-op at Tuchan in Fitou. Here's how on her website she describes how she became a vigneronne in the village of Paziols: 'Beguiled by the drama of its scenery, the charm of its villages, the warmth of its people and their obsession with winemaking, I moved to the area nearly 20 years ago and took up a job with the local cooperative, itself about to embark on an exciting journey. I was to become their Export Sales and Marketing Director – and then one day I came across a small vineyard clinging to the side of the picturesque Maury Valley.'
She may be feeling differently today about 'the warmth of its people'. I do hope there are enough supportive neighbours to see her through this trauma, not too strong a word, I suspect. Do support her by buying her award-winning wines, which are good enough to be sold here by The Wine Society, whose latest finds I review today in The Wine Society's spring collection, and also by Fareham Wine Cellar.
Our thoughts are with you, Katie. And I know some friends have already offered to pre-purchase Domaine Jones Blanc 2013 to help with the cash flow. You can contact Katie via domainejones.com.