The energy in Burgundy today has also fuelled the rise of the small négociant, the merchant who makes wine from grapes purchased from multiple sources. It’s a time-honoured system that is no longer the preserve of the merchant houses but is widespread at many domaines as land prices soar out of reach. And for many aspiring winemakers, with no land of their own, it offers an exciting, if expensive, chance to edge in. Among the most interesting négociants are those starting from scratch, like Jane Eyre, or Géraldine Lochet in a barn in Rosey, or Andrew and Emma Nielsen at Le Grappin, who began by making wine in a garage.
There are now many more opportunities for passionate incomers. Australians such as the Nielsens, Mark Haisma and Jane Eyre; Belgian Gilles Moustie of Domaine de la Douaix; former taxi driver Ludovic Martin – are all perfectionists, micro-négociants, sourcing small quantities of fruit from interesting terroir. Some of these are well on their way to celebrity, but equally there are many unassuming winemakers, such as Pierre Damoy and Rémi Jobard, quietly making delicious wines and staying under the radar.