Villebois Wines Discover our story
Welcome to Villebois
Welcome to Villebois; in the heart of the Royal Loire Valley.
Travel with us along the endless miles that have defined the Northern borders of Europe’s wine culture for many centuries. Home to some of the most famous vineyards in the world, which have welcomed the Villebois family with open arms.
Villebois Wines was founded on a common ground of passion and vision. The true passion for authentic Sauvignon Blanc wines from the Loire region, and the vision to produce these distinguished wines using the latest techniques and technologies. Combined, these values have led to the creation of an outstanding range of Sauvignon Blanc wines, each of which is recognised internationally for its high quality.
It all started in 2004, when Joost de Willebois spotted a small, local winery in the Touraine region. The owner at the time established himself with a long tradition of producing the finest local Sauvignon Blanc wine, however he lacked a successor. Joost recognised this as a golden opportunity to transform the small winery into a wider producer of quality Sauvignon Blanc wines from the broader Loire region. And so, with the support of his wife Miguela and along with a small group of close friends, Joost began the Villebois adventure.
By this point, the team realised that behind every great bottle of wine, stands a great winemaker; Thierry Merlet. They knew Villebois would only succeed with daily commitment and attentive involvement. So the team did .
At the time of meeting Joost, Thierry had just returned to the Loire, after a number of years at renowned wineries across Australia and the USA. Thierry’s ambition was to create a global benchmark for authentic Loire Sauvignon Blanc wines. Sharing both Joost’s passion and vision; with Villebois, Thierry was well on his way to achieving his dream too.
Joost and Thierry's combined strengths, with the unrelenting effort and support from Miguela and the rest of the team, have turned Villebois into the brand it is today. As one of the leading producers of Loire Sauvignon Blanc, the full range of Villebois Wines continue to gather awards year after year at international and renowned wine competitions. From its modest beginnings, the winery has evolved into a successful and innovative wine business.Thierry is in charge of all aspects of the production and sales assisted by Patrice Merceron to ensure consistent high quality wines year on year on . Joost and Miguela deploy their commercial and managerial talents to grow and guide the Villebois business.
The Villebois' Roots
Our great love for France and the Royal Loire Valley in particular can be easily explained. For years Joost had worked in various parts of France, hence his passion for the country’s culture, history, and, of course, its wines. What’s more, his family name ‘de Willebois’ is originally French.
The de Villebois family history dates back to 900 years, when our ancestors were living and working in France. In 1630, Louys de Villebois, the eldest son of Jean de Villebois, inherited a family estate in the northern part of France and decided to settle there. Joost is a decendant of him. Our label, J de Villebois, is therefore a tribute to his father.
Over time the single V of Villebois transformed into a double V, or W, and so the name became Willebois. However, the journey has now gone full circle as the family is back in France with Villebois Wines as the Loire Sauvignon Blanc specialists.
History of the Sauvignon Blanc Grape & Villebois
The Loire Valley is as much our home as it is to the Sauvignon Blanc grape. For centuries the grape has grown here, recorded as early as 1534 in Francois Rabelais’ Gargantua. Back then it was given the nickname ‘fiers’, which paired perfectly with the local bread, ‘fouace’.
Two centuries later, in 1783, the Sauvignon Fumé or Blanc Fumé was indigenous to Sancerre and Pouilly. Although the more recognized name of Sauvignon Blanc was first established in the Bordeaux area, scientific research has proven that the grape originated right here in the Loire Valley.
It is here that the grape is most at home and able to proudly reveal its characteristic variety. Owing its name to the French words Sauvage (wild) and Blanc (white), the Sauvignon Blanc certainly produces a wild white wine, packed with flavour
This wild white offers aromas of gooseberries, nettles, asparagus, and freshly cut grass. Whilst the palate reveals a fantastic combination of green apple, pear, green figs, peach, apricot, kiwi, tomato, pepper, minerals, and, of course, citrus.
This quality grape may have earned worldwide notoriety, however production of it remains relatively small. To give you a clearer idea, 75,000km2 of the Earth’s surface is covered by vineyards. The Loire Valley represents 700km2 of this - that’s about 0.009% of the total. What’s more, within this tiny area, the limited availability of Sauvignon Blanc means each and every fruit is to be treasured.
The geographic position of our vineyards, our delicate winemaking techniques, dedicated team, and innovative research techniques are wholly dedicated to this one fruit. We live, breath, and sleep Sauvignon Blanc and know each of its unique characteristics like the back of our hand.
As we hold sustainable production high in our values. This means:
- Rain water is held and reused
- We restrict our use of fossil fuels
- The reduction of insecticides
We cherish this priceless Loire territory !
Joost de Villebois
Villebois wines operates under the inspiring leadership of Joost, ever since the start of the company in 2004. For more than a decade now, he has focused on building the Villebois reputations as a producer of distinctive Sauvignon Blanc wines.
As an experienced hands-on manager with a passion for wine, Joost has fresh ideas and abundant knowledge of large scale consumer retailing and operations.
Joost got to know for the wine industry well when he spent the early part of his career working for Shell France in the Bordeaux area, where he managed wine industry accounts. After this first taste of the wine business, he embraced the opportunity to start out his own winery in the Loire. Before this Joost first spent many years working in the financial services sector, where he held senior positions.
Joost still maintains close links with the international finance community, serving on the boards of several large multi-national companies as a non-executive. Besides enjoying the pleasure of living and working in France, Joost loves driving around in old cars and appreciates working in the fields around his house.
As the Villebois Chief Winemaker, Thierry leads a dynamic team responsible for cultivating and refining the range of Villebois Sauvignon Blanc wines. He is in charge of all aspects of the production to ensure consistent high quality wines year on year. Assisted by the talented oenologue Patrice Merceron.
Thierry enjoyed his education in oenology at Beaune and the university of Bordeaux after which he worked in wineries in Australia (Petaluma Winery, South Australia) and the United States (WillaKenzie Estate, Oregon) to put his knowledge into practice. When he came back to the Loire Valley, he was one of the first to introduce some of the latest winemaking techniques and equipment.
Ever since he is putting his talent at the service of Villebois by overlooking and organising all aspects of the supply chain, wine production and sales in direct co-operation with Joost de Willebois.
Miguela de Villebois
After Sales Manager
Miguela has been with Villebois right from the start . Now 14 years ago and is responsable for the after sales processes. Assisting to marketing and commercial activities.