TRAVEL & LEISURE
La Verrière is the hospitality branch of Chêne Bleu, a family-owned winery in the Ventoux region of the Southern Rhône of France. The medieval priory, La Verrière, operates as a guest house recognised for both luxury and environmental sustainability. On the property, they produce wines that are critically acclaimed around the world but also renowned for eschewing the use of chemicals, proving that it is not necessary to resort to any artifice to achieve the highest standards of quality.
Nestled very high in a mountain saddle, the vineyard on which La Verrière is situated has a unique “unicorn” terroir, which allows the fruit to ripen fully with the southern sun yet retain its freshness and age impressively. The grapes’ complexity is enhanced by the stunning ecology of the surrounding forests of the UNESCO Biosphere of Mt Ventoux, which hosts 1400 species of butterflies alone. Cutting edge programs nurture this biodiversity: “SustainaBEElity” replaces chemicals with bees; bamboos filter the winery’s effluent; sheep graze as lawnmowers; a potager and orchard are cultivated organically.
A WORD FROM THE FOUNDERS
Our drive is an unwavering pursuit of quality, commitment to the environment and equal respect for tradition and innovation in everything we do. Our motto in Latin, visible on our wine labels; Non mihi, non tibi, sed nobis. - ‘Not mine, not yours, but ours.
XAVIER & NICOLE ROLET
BUTTERFLY MARK TESTIMONIAL
My husband Xavier was passionate about environmental conservation for most of his life, well before Sustainability and Regenerative Agriculture were fashionable hashtags. But when we wanted to assess our work and apply for certification, we discovered that there was no road map, no guidance, and most of the existing checklists were not well adapted to viticulture and winemaking. Our experience with Positive Luxury has been the opposite: the process is tailored-made to understand our ethos and our operations but our advisors have also able to share best practices and save us lots of time, effort and mistakes. Also, on a human level, we have found them to be such a class act. Diana Verde Nieto is a truly inspirational human being, a thought leader on the global Climate stage, and is surrounded by a terrific team of passionate people.”
CO-FOUNDER & PRINCIPAL
DIVERSITY, EQUALITY & INCLUSION
La Verrière’s policy on diversity, equality, and inclusion (D, E & I), which it shares with Chêne Bleu, goes beyond the established set of comprehensive legal requirements in France. Through the years, employees have been recruited from all major ethnic groups, religions and genders, with a culture of supportiveness and openness which is spelled out clearly and nurtured. With stringent approaches to address harassment and grievances, other social impact areas such as recruitment, employee performance reviews, and training programmes also prioritise inclusivity and transparency. For instance, in 2023 all employees had a D, E & I workshop on communication and conflict resolution and unconscious bias training has also been both prioritised and provided. In its recruitment and employment policies and processes, the Domaine incorporates D, E & I considerations in contracts, flexible working hours, and working locations. Recruitment partnerships with universities, schools, and private recruitment agencies also have a strong basis in promoting D, E & I via multiple media channels. Job postings are readily accessible for any interested applicant. Employees not only share a sense of belonging at the Domaine, but they also draw on the same D, E & I principles when engaging with external stakeholders.
La Verrière resort is located as part of a larger estate, which includes the Chêne Bleu vineyards. The Domaine is situated in the UNESCO-protected biosphere reserve of the Mt Ventoux, in Southern France. Some 77% of the Domaine's 135 hectares are preserved for biodiversity. The team onsite actively protects the fauna and flora, working to harness that complex ecosystem while supporting guests’ everyday needs. The surrounding (PEFC-certified) forest is managed actively in conjunction with the National Forest Protection Agency, while the team’s commitment to biodiversity has led to other certifications such as Bee Friendly, Ecocert,(organic) and HVE (3).
Beekeeping and local produce, including from biodynamic farming onsite and nearby, reinforce an ongoing commitment to maintain organically tended gardens and dedicated soil management techniques to enhance the vitality of the local ecosystem. Dozens of bird species have returned, alongside other animals, and this complexity is reflected in off-the-charts diversity of microorganisms and rhizome networks in the soils.
HEALTH & SAFETY
La Verrière’s multifaceted approach to health and safety is premised on clear objectives, policies, risk assessments, and training. Staff responsibilities are documented, while routine inspections allow for addressing any urgencies or upkeep. Regular external and internal training focuses on a wide range of topics such as regulatory requirements, health and safety risks, first aid, food preparation, waste management, and recycling. For risk assessments, specific items in all the rooms as well as protocols related to services onsite are defined in line with risk levels and safety indicators. Preventative measures are listed, and frequent checklists are made visible across La Verrière. Emergency procedures and phone numbers are indicated throughout the premises for all the staff and guests. Safety precautions are also identified for children and dogs according to where they should be allowed to go and why. Internal guidelines regarding potential occupational hazards are also posted and regularly reviewed for everyday health matters such as hygiene in the kitchens, and safety issues in guest rooms.
The team at La Verrière are looking to go further on monitoring their supply chain logistics. They are eager to adopt the right Science-based metrics to assess their work and set goals for progress. With the help of a protocol set up by Positive Luxury, Marlene and Katja, who have spearheaded the company's efforts, are putting in place new systems, and getting the community involved. Progress has been made, for example by limiting air travel, resulting in significant reduction in the company's carbon footprint.