Meet Eric Kurver, the owner & winemaker of Maison Saint Aix
Curious to learn more about AIX Rosé and the man behind the brand? Meet Eric Kurver in this exclusive interview!
hello eric, first of all, let’s start from the beginning: can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
Hello! My name is Eric Kurver, I am 57 years old and was born in the Netherlands. I am a proud husband, father, & grandfather, a good friend, a life passionate, a winegrower. And I’m also the owner of Maison Saint Aix and the creator of AIX Rosé.
where does your passion for wine come from?
When I was still in high school near Amsterdam, I worked in a wine shop. I learned about wine while talking to the clients who invited me into their cellars. This is where my passion started. After that I began to organize wine trips for school etc. Back then, I didn’t know I would ever turn my passion into my job.
why did you become a winegrower?
When I hit my mid-forties, I decided I needed a life change. So I ended my career in advertising and sold my company. I moved to France with my family and did several things before my wife asked me: ‘’Why don’t you start doing something with your biggest passion: wine’’?
why did you choose to move to provence?
Because of my wife! (laughs) I don’t know if you have ever been to the Netherlands before but I can tell you, it rains a lot and winters last forever! We have spent some holidays in Provence and this is where we have moved first. When we started searching for a winery there weren’t much opportunities. I searched for a winery without a ‘chateau’ because a chateau doesn’t make the quality any better, yet a winery big enough to make a real business out of it. We visited ‘Domaine de la Grande Séouve’ and fell in love with this winery. Such a quiet, peaceful place! After all, buying a winery in Provence came as an evidence. It is the oldest wine growing region in France, and the first wines to be made were rosés, so we found ourselves in the perfect region for it.
what do you love the most about provence?
The ‘joie de vivre’ of the people. You go to the bakery and order a baguette for lunch. The baker knows who you are. Everybody in the village knows each other. You open a bottle of rosé for lunch, always with a blue sky, whether it’s June or January… What’s not to like about Provence?
what was your objective when you bought domaine de la grande séouve in jouques, provence?
My idea was to create a wine that is a pleasure to drink, but also complex enough to win gold medals and high rates around the world. A wine for a starter but also a great match with several meals. A wine you don’t talk about but just enjoy till the last drop.
what was your first step after buying the winery?
The first step was the renovation of the winery. We invested in state-of-the-art machinery for the cellar, and brought it up to the safety standards. We have also replanted several hectares in the vineyard, mainly Grenache and Syrah. Then we turned the old farm into a house. All our friends visiting have helped in something here and have enjoyed every part of it!
"Provence has everything to make high quality rosé, the weather, the terroir, the knowledge… Provence is known for making the best rosé in the World."
how did you come up with the name aix and its logo?
For the first vintage of AIX in 2009 we had 350.000 bottles of rosé to sell but we didn’t have a name. We thought about a name that people were able to remember, a name that could reflect the joie de vivre of the region. One thing for sure it wasn’t going to be called the original name of the estate, Domaine de la Grande Séouve; too difficult to remember and to pronounce.
Thinking of it, we were in this beautiful region of Provence, in the Appellation Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, only few kilometers from the renowned city of Aix en Provence, so we thought the name AIX would be perfect. I did not see any other name which will best fit the rosé I wanted to create. Actually, we have first called it Saint Aix, it was then St Aix and become AIX, these 3 big letters very recognizable. People were surprised that we could register the name.
One could not think of a better name for a Provence Rosé. It covers everything Provence has: charm, friendliness…
why do you only make a rosé wine?
Provence has everything to make high quality rosé, the weather, the terroir, the knowledge… Provence is known for making the best rosé in the World. Provence Rosé has become what Champagne is amongst sparkling wine.
what’s your perfect aix rosé pairing?
I am in love with Lobsters. To me, that’s the perfect pairing for AIX Rosé. AIX also pairs deliciously with oysters or Asian food. Of course it would not be the same if you were not accompanied with good friends!
let’s talk a bit more about you. do you travel a lot?
I used to travel a lot, let’s say, equivalent of 5 months a year. I was not able to travel last year due to the COVID restrictions, and I have to admit I did appreciate spending more time in the vineyard and having an even better understanding of it. Therefore, I guess I will slow down a bit with the travels from now one. We have great ambassadors all over the world, and I am confident they are doing a great job.
what’s your favorite place to visit in the world?
Being the owner of AIX Rosé has allowed me to visit so many countries, but if I had to pick one only, that would be - and don’t laugh - France. This is my adopting country and I love it. Mainly because of its wine culture, the good food but also for its many different landscapes.
what do you do on your days off?
I love walking around the vineyard with my dog Kenzo. I have 3 kids and 2 grandchildren and love spending time with the family, which is the most important thing to me.
where can i buy aix rosé?
AIX Rosé is distributed in over 35 countries in the world. From San Francisco to Miami, from Antigua to Ibiza, London to Dubai, Hong Kong to Sydney. So you can find AIX Rosé in many places around the globe but not everywhere. Only in the most fascinating, festive, and desirable venues worldwide, where people come to have fun, to enjoy life!