Better than a Money Tree – L’Arbre à Vins in Vaison-la-Romaine
Mathieu Schillinger hails from France’s Alsace region with its fabulous white wines. However, he tells me that it was only when he moved to England that he gained an appreciation for food and wine.
An Epicurean paradox?
In 2007, Mathieu and his wife returned to France to open a B&B in Carianne a village he describes as the heart of the Côtes du Rhône. Living in wine country, it is almost a given that you might get to know a few local industry professionals, and eventually some of the hearty tannins might just soak into your soul. In 2011, Mathieu returned to school and achieved a masters’ degree in wine from l’Université d’Avignon – although he tells me he did not have a plan (at the time) on how he might put the knowledge to work.
The couple moved to Vaison la Romaine in 2012, after selling their B&B. The idea of opening a wine store was already fermenting by the time they left their beautiful, isolated location in Cairanne for Vaison’s town centre that is surrounded by famous vineyards.
Why visit Vaison la Romaine?
According to Mathieu, he describes Vaison la Romaine as a village is lacking nothing, unlike other towns in the region there is a year-round vibe. There are plenty of cultural events to choose from, including outdoor concerts (summer), movies and theater. Besides a clear attachment to wine, Mathieu highly recommends the countryside near Vaison for cycling and hiking – a buffet of pastoral views with the amazing Dentelles de Montmirail and Mont Ventoux as backdrops and for hill training.
Bursting at the edges of the barrel three years after opening his small wine shop, an opportunity to expand presented itself. In 2015, renowned butcher Daniel Millet retired and closed Boucherie Millet – a perfect location for a wine tree? Mathieu jumped at the chance to buy the space and quickly settled into renovations before opening l’Arbre à Vins a wine store and bar.
At l’Arbre à Vins, you will find wines from all over France with at least 50% from the “local” vineyards in Côtes du Rhône, Gigondas, Chateauneuf du Pape, Cairanne and Rasteau. Mathieu describes every bottle as a voyage.
What appears to be growing in popularity for both clients and the team at l’Arbre à Vins are the wine bar gatherings. There are weekly themed evenings on Friday nights where Mathieu and his chef craft wine and food pairings to tease your taste buds. Each week you can expect a grape-filled discovery that might include meeting a winemaker or a student from the Université du Vin de Suze la Rousse or a fellow wine lover.
Things to do near Vaison la Romaine?
Visit some of the local vineyards
Explore some of the perched villages including Brantes, Crestet and Séguret
Don’t leave without getting to the summit of Mont Ventoux where the view is magnificent, and there is no shame in driving to the top!
Tastes of the Vaucluse?
Truffles (in season)
Best place for a coffee in Vaison la Romaine?
Any brasserie on Place Monfort – cool video link here.
Image credits: All photos provided by and published with the permission of Mathieu at l’Arbre à Vins