"In 2013, the city of Dijon purchased a 160-hectare agricultural property called Domaine de la Cras, located just outside the city limits. The former owner had already built a winery and planted 8 hectares of vineyards (5ha red and 3ha blanc) on land classified under the Bourgogne AOC, with a possibility to plant an additional 13 hectares. An open call for proposals was held to decide who would take over the winemaking –the primary criteria being that the vineyards had to be farmed organically, the winner had to be a young winemaker with no existing family vineyards, and he/she must be interested in opening the domaine to the public for educational visits.
After Marc Soyard was chosen, he was given free reign to live on-site at the domaine, tend to the vineyards, and produce and sell his own wines, under the condition that he pay a yearly “rent” in bottles to the city of Dijon. Originally from a non-winemaking family in the Jura, Marc worked for six years at Domaine Bizot in Vosne Romanée as chef de culture (vineyard manager), while also working in the cellar closely with Jean-Yves Bizot to learn the winemaking process.
Marc has adapted the same hands-off, natural philosophy to Domaine de la Cras that he learned at Domaine Bizot. All of the vineyards are farmed organically with some biodynamic practices. All vinification is done with natural yeasts and minimal addition of sulfur. Elevage is traditionally executed in a combination of new and used barrels, with frequent experimentation using different types of wood in small amounts, including the traditional oak from various forests, as well as chestnut and acacia barrels.
The official appellation at the domaine is Bourgogne AOC, but the Domaine de la Cras is the sole producer allowed to use the designation Coteaux de Dijon. The Domaine de la Cras produces two reds and two whites.
The Coteaux de Dijon Chardonnay comes from vines at the top and base of a 2.5 hectare block of vines. The vineyards around Dijon are often thought of as Pinot Noir country, but Soyard shows that Chardonnay can thrive just as well and produce some compelling, lively wines with a unique profile that is 100% Burgundy but also unlike anything else. The owl is the symbol of the city of Dijon. The famous chouette is sculpted into the chapel of Notre-Dame de Dijon. Local legend says that if you rub the owl with your left hand while making a wish it will come true." -Paris Wine Company