Inside Maison Saint AIX

Inside Maison Saint AIX

Partypink, that's the colour of AIX Rosé. This Provence rosé has been an outright hit for years. Why is that? WINELIFE was allowed to take a look inside one of the most successful rosé houses in Provence, run by purebred Dutchman Eric Kurver.
Text: Petri Houweling | Image: René de Waal, Maison Saint AIX

Pink makes
the world go roun

Whether WINELIFE won't come over for an AIX party? Of course! Say AIX, say party and that is indeed what it is here. We let ourselves be enchanted by the beautiful landscape, the fantastic welcome and the super deluxe lunch with... rosé from AIX. Everything is right here: from the petanque balls to the fancy jeep, everything is printed with the signature logo and exudes a fine luxury. The French term joie de vivre - you know, that everything feels absolutely right and fine - applies here. How has Eric Kurver, the founder of AIX, managed to be so successful for 15 years? 

I am leaving

It's everyone's dream. Just packing up and moving to Provence, one of the most beautiful regions of la douce France. Eric Kurver did it in 2009, together with his family. He bought a 140-year-old wine estate in the village of Jouques, near Aix-en-Provence. Not a bad place, because if there's anywhere you're undergoing the laid-back lifestyle of Provence, it's in this town. There, on his 75-hectare vineyard, he decided to make the nicest rosé in the world. Quite a challenge, but he tackled it smartly. He understood that if you want to sell wine worldwide, you have to think about the name first. After all, he had little faith in the domain's original name. Eric: 'Domaine de la Grande Séouve is not a name that sticks. Then you're just another one of the umpteenth Provence rosés and demand for yours is way down.'

Voilá AIX

After much thought and then some old-fashioned cut-and-paste, he came up with the bright idea of naming his company Maison Saint Aix, after the nearby city of Aix-en-Provence. French law allowed it and eventually all that remained on the wine labels were the three letters AIX, a recognisable and appealing logo. But a good logo alone won't get you there; the wine has to be good too. That proved to be the case, as in 2010 it immediately received its first gold medal for making the best Provençal rosé of that year. Voilá, Maison Saint AIX was on the map.

Where is the party? Here's the party!

So then you have a cool logo and a nice rosé. But since you produce enough juice for about 400,000 bottles of wine a year on 75 hectares, it's nice if you can also sell the wine. Eric had a plan for that too. He uses the 'branding by association' tactic. He thought that drinking AIX Rosé should be associated with places where people enjoy life. In other words, where the rich & famous enjoy themselves.

Since you have to bet high then, you go straight to the best place. That was Le Garage, at the time the jet set restaurant in Amsterdam. Joop Braakhekke immediately gave him a chance and from then on it went fast. AIX is now a global brand and is sold in cities like Amsterdam, Sydney, New York, Ibiza, London and Bali. Kurver: 'People no longer order rosé, but an AIX. That's also because you know what you're ordering, because AIX has tasted the same for 10 years. We don't have different styles, just the very tastiest rosé every year.'

Further reading? You will find more information in WINELIFE Magazine, issue 88. You can order this here. 

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