by Camilla Ridley
Another sunny weekend! Time to get a wonderful floral print sundress on and some great rosé into your fridge. We caught up with Jeany Cronk, founder of multi award-winning Mirabeau Wine to talk about her favourite rosé, french fashion, and her life-changing decision to swap London for following her dreams in Provence.
Mirabeau Wine founder Jeany Cronk pictured here in a Ridley printed floral sun dress with her iconic Provence Rosé
Ten years ago Jeany Cronk and her wine enthusiast husband Stephen were busy commuting to corporate jobs and starting a family in London. They then decided to throw everything into the air, swapping Southwest London for winemaking, and their dream of building a challenger rosé brand in the heart of Provence. Mirabeau Wines are now widely known and have scooped many of the industries most sort after awards and accolades, including a pretty impressive 92 from the world's most influential wine critic Robert Parker who reported that "Mirabeau Wine is about as good as Provence Rosés get." Not bad for a British start-up. I caught up with Jeany Cronk to learn more about her Mirabeau story, to get some great inside tips on getting the most out of your rosé this summer and to share her experience of making the big move and risking everything to follow your dreams.
Thanks so much for getting involved in this post Jeany. Like many of our readers, I've certainly been enjoying kicking back in a Ridley sundress and the odd glass of Provence rosé in the garden this summer. With that in mind, what do you think makes Mirabeau wine so special?
Hi Camilla, thanks so much for getting me involved in this post and I'm glad you've been enjoying a glass or two of Mirabeau this summer. I've absolutely loved wearing the beautiful Ridley sundress you sent me, and I get loads of compliments about it. I think what makes Mirabeau wines so special and really stand out from other Provence Rosés is their balance of really incredible quality and light, easy-drinking style, and unlike a lot of other wines, there is no stuffy wine related etiquette around drinking them. We work with some of the most experienced growers in our beautiful region and artfully blend the wines into an elegant and pleasurable Cuvées that will brighten up any occasion. Our grapes are harvested during the night to keep them cool, very gently pressed before fermenting and resting on the lees for up to 6 months to be fully expressive. Mirabeau have won a record number of industry awards for our range during 2020 and this has been immensely satisfying for us and our talented female winemaker Natalie.
Which is your favorite Mirabeau wine and why?
This is always such a tough question and feels a bit like choosing a favourite child. Wine is also so personal and how you feel about a wine often relates to the situation you drink them in. Our “Classic” Rosé is our first wine and will always hold a special place in my heart and its joyous character instantly makes me happy. Pure is the perfect aperitif and I wheel it out whenever we have special guests. Etoile finds its way onto my dinner table and I love it best out of the three with food.
What's the best way to enjoy drinking Rosé?
Rosé wine is super versatile and perfect for any occasion that calls for a bit of a celebration (even if it’s just finishing the working week). They also pair really well with most foods. It’s great with everything from pizza to lobster and given its good acidity and length easily stands up to food. Mirabeau wines are all extra dry, yet very aromatic and you can enjoy an incredible flavour profile without any residual sugar. My advice would be not to over-chill it to get the best out of the beautiful aromas, leave it for a few minutes as most fridges are on the cold side for wines.
(From top left) Mirabeau Wine's outstanding Etoile is a big hit with the critics. Jeany Cronk pictured here in her favorite Ridley made to measure rosé satin silk blouse showing off Mirabeau's new rosé gin. (Bottom) Mirabeau Wine's beautiful vineyard situated in the heart of Provence rosé country.
Why did you choose to make Provence Rosé and not another type of wine or something else entirely?
Stephen and I both absolutely love Rosé and always have done, even when it wasn’t really fashionable. So it was quite obvious that when we obsessively thought about where to live and which wine to make we chose the iconic home of Rosé wine, Provence.
What do you love most about living in Provence?
Wow, where do I begin? The incredible landscape, full of scented botanicals. The rolling hills with Lavender and Olives. The markets brimming with incredible fresh vegetables and cheeses or looking out over the Med, when I make it down there. It really is a gorgeous place to live and I appreciate it every single day.
Are there any real advantages or differences of bringing up a family in France?
Well, the main difficulty for us was that our kids didn’t speak the language as we made a last minute change of plans from an international school to a French village school. So this proved to be a massive shock to mine and in my son’s case took a few years to get over. On the massive positive side is the freedom my kids have enjoyed here living in the countryside, the natural affection of adults for children here, the interesting conversations that are going on at every street corner. The French schools have a very high level in core subjects, to the detriment of sports and the arts, and they are in general quite rigid and not child centric. You have to fit in and bringing out the best in a child is not particularly part of the educational mindset. Kids have to endlessly learn by heart, which may suit some but not others and critical thinking is not really encouraged. My children all went back to an international school at 15 and they all flourished much more in the Anglo-Saxon system. But overall I am so glad we came here and my kids are resilient and resourceful because of this experience and having to learn how to fit in all over again at a young age.
(From top left) Mirabeau Wine's best selling 'Pure' is a an incredibly versatile and refreshing rosé. Jeany Cronk pictured here enjoying a glass of Mirabeau Pure rosé and her printed floral silk sundress. (Bottom) Jeany's husband Stephen running a tasting from Mirabeau's iconic Citroen van.
What were your biggest fears about your radical move and leaving your life in London?
Apart from worrying about the kids, losing my friends and not finding my purpose were top of my list of worries. And being a bit of a worrier I always have a few on the go...But luckily through Mirabeau I could express my creativity and to play my role in connecting people, which is something I really love doing. We have found a great set of friends locally and most of our previous ones come to visit, so this was the best of both worlds!
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about making a big life-changing move like you did?
Do your research and listen to the opinion of others, but in the end you need to just be courageous and go. There will never be the perfect time or a risk free option and you have to believe in your destiny and your future. There will always be a lot of people who will doubt what you are about to do and if you let this impact your path too much you will never leave a place or start a new venture.
French women are famously known for their elegant style and chic clothes, does this stereotype still apply? And if so, what are the best style tips you've picked up since moving to France?
I have always loved French style and have admired how great the women wear the basics and always look so effortlessly chic. Although, I suspect it is a bit more effort than it looks! My existing wardrobe staples fitted well for here having always worn good white shirts, a nice dark blazer, well fitting jeans and a pair of flats. On the flip side I love the more whimsical and bohemian English style and have carried on wearing lighter and more floaty pieces, which are especially great in the heat of the South. Your Ridley Liberty print sundresses fit the bill absolutely perfectly as they balance classic feminine style with modern wearability. For me, they're the perfect holiday dress for warm climates!
Thanks Jeany, I'm so pleased to hear you like our Savanna sundress so much.
I really love all of your Ridley dresses and clothing Camilla. It’s so beautifully crafted and made to last. Which is just so rare these days. I make my clothes last many years and the Ridley range is timeless and well made, so it does. I also think the shapes are really flattering and bring out the best in a woman’s shape, especially as they are made to measure....yet I feel incredibly comfortable in them. And having a fair bit of pink in the range is obviously an added bonus! The perfectly pink Honor silk blouse has to be my superstar wardrobe item. I literally wear it all of the time. And I love my beautiful flowy Gracie midi, it's an absolute joy to wear and the printed silk is so comfortable in the heat.
(From top left) Influencers including Kat @doesmybumlook40 and Becky @bricksandstitches pictured here enjoying a glass of Mirabeau rosé in their Ridley London printed floral sundresses. (Bottom) Jeany and her husband Stephen Cronk and their three children living the dream in Provence.
And finally, for anyone visitng Provence, can you let us know your three favourite places, things to do?
Firstly Aix-en-Provence, though not a big secret, is always worth a visit. I love the Hotel Caumont where you can view a lovely exhibition and then eat in its amazing gardens. Ramatuelle Beach, behind iconic St Tropez is an amazing destination with an airy beach and some nice clubs. My favourite is Indie Beach, which is a totally relaxed vibe and you would get chucked out if you sprayed a Champagne bottle. Lastly (sorry for the plug), but come to Cotignac, my home village, for its amazingly pretty and typical feel and to spend some time in this lesser-known part of Provence. We also have a lovely tasting room and boutique and there are plenty of nice shops and restaurants. But any visit to Provence is bound to be a great experience, there is just so much to see and do.
That's absolutely brilliant, thanks so much Jeany. It's been lovely chatting with you and finding out a little more about Mirabeau wine and your amazing Mirabeau story in Provence. And I'm sure our readers will be absolutely delighted to hear that you are offering them an exclusive 15% discount off Mirabeau wine until 19th of August with checkout code Ridley15 on your on-line store: www.mirabeauwine.com