Flavien Darius Pommier is a winemaker who also runs his own business. It’s difficult to say which came first, but this twenty-six-year-old man has managed to bring his most ancient of crafts into the twenty-first century through well-traveled routes of celebrity endorsement combined with cutting-edge technology. It’s a potent combination.
The vineyard is located in the legendary Saint-Emilion appellation, one of the most prestigious in Bordeaux, giving the wines a blue-blooded pedigree. The Pommier family founded it in 1990.
The Pommier family already owned 1879 vineyards totaling 100 hectares in the Bordeaux region. In 1990, his parents, Michel and Odette Pommier, fulfilled a long-held dream by purchasing seven hectares in Saint-Laurent de Combes, a town in the heart of Saint-Émilion, in addition to their vast vineyards.
The wine was named Darius in honor of a King of Persia who reigned in 500 BC, as well as one of Pommier’s grandchildren, whose mother is of Iranian origin. Château Darius is now one of 200 wines marketed under the Saint-Emilion Grand Cru label.
So, straight from the ancient world of wine, steps the young eponymously named entrepreneur, who manages to orchestrate a wine tasting with Macron at the presidential palace – the Elysée – thanks to a fortunate association through the official French President’s chef. Once at the table, the wine’s pedigree is quickly established, and Chateau Darius now bears the stamp of the French state’s head.
Pommier’s role progressed at a rapid pace. Another introduction, this time to billionaire real estate mogul Mohamed Hadid, resulted in a strategic partnership in which Hadid created his own wine brand. Chateau Darius has been able to expand into the United States as a result of this relationship.
It didn’t hurt that Hadid is the father of supermodel Gigi, whose boyfriend is former One Direction member Zayn Malik. Both wines – Chateau Darius and Hadid wine – were given as a congratulatory gift at the birth of their first child.
In terms of geographical footfall, Pommier has now turned his attention to London, where he has secured placements in many top establishments, but COVID has halted his more active penetration of the UK and international markets.
But it’s a bad wind that blows no good, and Pommier’s forced lockdown led him to pursue another keen interest, cryptography.
“I am very interested in crypto, and I am also very interested in art.” So when I first heard about NFTs, I was hooked. Then I saw Chef Nobu make NFTs out of his world-famous sushi, and I realized this could be applied to wines.”
He wanted to see if he could use NFTs to reach a wider audience, particularly during the lockdown. Finally, with the help of a technical adviser, he created NFTs from his wine label on the Bakeryswap platform but tied the purchase of the NFT to the purchase of a physical bottle of wine.
“After all, the whole point is to spread wine awareness.”
People who purchase the NFT can choose to redeem their wine right away – or, in an unusual move, they can choose to collect the wine in person once the lockdown is lifted.
“I invite people to come to Saint-Émilion in September to see the harvest.”
Pommier sees NFTs as an extension of his wine, and he plans to make about 50 new ones this harvest, creating a limited collection for each vintage. It wasn’t without hiccups, as Pommier discovered that the volatile nature of crypto drove the price of his NFTs much higher than the actual wine at one point.
“We didn’t want the NFT to be more expensive than the wine – the whole point of using NFTs is to reach a new audience.”
At the end of the day, it’s all about the wine – Pommier is a winemaker and entrepreneur, not the other way around.
When asked to describe his wines, he does so enthusiastically:
“What distinguishes Chateau Darius wines? Really good wines, on the other hand, can be consumed at the bar, by the glass, or at the table. Our wines are extremely versatile, with the 2018 vintage, for example, pairing well with both fish and meat.”
He is also passionate about green or sustainable winemaking.
“We have the utmost respect for the environment. The vineyard is composed of 60% merlot and 40% cabernet franc. The vines have an average age of about 40 years. We work with nature on the vine – the grounds between the rows of vines are grassed, and the amount of grapes harvested does not exceed 35 to 40 hectolitres per hectare, which is well below the permitted yields and ensures naturally concentrated wines.”
I wish all of the happy purchasers of his NFT linked wines a safe trip to September to enjoy the harvest and their very own Chateau Darius wine. It sounds like a very unique way to enjoy wine. Flavien and new friends, la tienne Flavien