Birthplace: Saint-Étienne France
His Uncle grew grapes and his family has been involved in the wine business since the 70’s.
First Harvest: Age 16
And he hasn’t missed one since.
University Major: Agribusiness and Winemaking + MBA
Julien then honed his craft in Provence and Bordeaux, working at famed wineries like Château Lafite-Rothschild and Smith Haut Lafitte.
Why Move To The United States? Love!
Julian met his wife Elan in the Loire Valley where she was studying wine and French language. Elan grew up in Oregon, so a move to Napa Valley in 2006 was their way to “meet halfway” (and we are all glad that they did).
First Job In Napa: Quintessa
He then joined Atelier Melka, where he spent seven years as the Director of Winemaking working with clients like Lail Vineyards, Gemstone, and Dalla Valle. During this time, Julien gained an intimate understanding of Napa Valley’s many micro-climates and vineyards.
First Release of His Own Label, Azur Wines: 2007
His philosophy is to produce wines that express pure, terroir-driven specificities and characteristics. Wine style is a combined expression of the fruit, soil, vines and climate.
“As a winemaker, my job is to bring out the best qualities that the vines have provided. I don’t seek to make a style of wine but more so to make wine that sings of it’s place, it’s history and it’s uniqueness. That’s my goal as a winemaker, to make wines that are pure expressions of their environment and not mask it. Wines with an identity.”
— Julien Fayard
Favorite Wine Region Outside Napa: Pauillac and Ribeira del Duero
“I don’t know if we can find more complex wines in the world. Napa is a close second. Time will tell the difference.”
[exceprt from Terroirist interview]
Hobbies: Surfing and Travel
According to his Terroirist interview, If Julien wasn’t making wine he “would open a surf shop that wouldn’t be open mornings when the swell is up. And travel as much as possible.”
Check out Julien’s Azur label, currently featured in our sommelier series, >> here <<
Want to learn more about Julien? Check out the recently released documentary, Decanted, on Netflix.
“It’s a beautiful business because it grows with your life and becomes part of your life in the long run.” – Julien Fayard