Olivier Hillaire has two big passions in life - wine and rugby.
He’s built like a prop - but he was a fairly handy centre in his day. He modestly tells me he played at a ‘reasonable’ level - for Grenoble and Bayonne in the Top 14 equivalent back then. Although he admits there was ‘plus de bagarre que le rugby’.
Of course rugby wasn’t professional back then, so he’s been a winemaker since the age of 18, growing up on his parents’ vineyard. When his parents retired, he went out on his own and started Domaine Olivier Hillaire.
Olivier loves sharing great wines with people, so he created a successful restaurant and boulangerie in Châteauneuf-du-Pape called La Mule du Pape.
As if that wasn’t enough, he runs a wildly popular wine festival, called Les Apéros de la Crau (look it up). It’s a favourite haunt of local winemakers and rugby pro’s. It’s basically a nightclub under the stars for hundreds of people, held every weekend in the summer, and booked out months in advance.
If the idea of watching the sun set over Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyards, as you sip amazing wine and listen to live music sounds appealing to you, then you should check it out!
We’re the first new importer that Olivier has taken on in over 8 years. He only works with people he likes - he doesn’t know me from Adam, but one of my trusty French insiders has worked her magic and found us a gem of a winemaker and person!