Farid Yahimi: Sons of Wine
Sons of Wine: About the Founder
Sons of Wine was created by Farid Yahimi, a winemaker born and raised in Nancy, France. Farid started a career in digital communications and open-source software before switching to the natural wine movement. Carole Yahimi, Farid’s cousin and the founder of the French Association of Natural Wine (AVN), introduced Farid to low-intervention wine. Carole connected Farid to some of the movement’s pioneers, such as Pierre Overnoy, Marcel Lapierre, Thierry Puzelat, and Christian Binner, which sparked a greater curiosity. Through conversation and lending a hand in their wineries, he received an informal yet essential education in vinification which launched him into winemaking.
Sons of Wine: The Early Days
The early winemaking efforts involved a lot of experimentation and the occasional batch of vinegar because Farid was never interested in a formal enological education that taught him dogmatic vinification methods. Instead, he wanted to learn precision through practice. In 2010, Farid planted his first parcel and released his first vintage with fruit purchased from a few friends. Until 2017, the wine was mostly for his friends and himself to enjoy. However, with the quality of his wine reaching new levels, Farid increased production to 5,000 bottles and named it Sons of Wine, inspired by the show Sons of Anarchy and his love of motorcycles. He told a friend, “If I can sell out 5,000 bottles, that’s great. If not, I will still drink it in the next 2 years.” He sold all 5,000 by the end of that year.
Winemaker and Negociant
Farid rented a part of Christian Binner’s winery and some equipment from the beginning. In 2020 he created his own winery in Ribeauville, a medieval town in Alsace. He owns just 2 hectares of his own vines: 1ha in Côtes de Toul and 1ha in Beaujolais. However, the land is expensive in Alsace, and access to good terroir is even harder to come by, so Farid decided to make Sons of Wine primarily from purchased grapes (90% are Biodynamic, 10% Organic). Each cuvée has a story behind it and a specific terroir devoted to it, so he is always sourcing from the same vineyard from vintage to vintage. If there is any issue with the fruit, the cuvée would be dropped, and a new project would take its place. By not farming a large area, Farid can travel and work with a diversity of grapes and terroirs. This also means he can source grapes that he wouldn’t be able to own in Alsace—for instance, 200-year-old Verdejo from Spain with a similar terroir to Alsace, the rare red Muscat, grapes on volcanic soil, and so on.
Farid dedicates a lot of interest to the personal relationship he has with his growers. It’s the first deciding factor. “Sourcing grapes is, first of all, a human adventure. Do we get along, and do we want to grow together?” Farid takes care of the vineyard practices and advises his grower on the biodynamic treatments he wants. He also searches for vineyards without any plowing, pruning, or copper/sulfur treatments—only biodynamic preparations to produce quality fruit in healthy quantities. All of his wines are produced without any additives at all, including sulfites, and without any filtration.
This care in the vineyard is representative of Farid’s philosophy in the cellar. “We do nothing, period. We do the best we can. Vintages are always different, you can see people making wine for 30 years with biodynamic vineyards for a long time and having a lot of troubles in the cellar, while others are making wine for 2 years with organic vineyards in conversion, and everything goes smoothly in the cellar. There is no certainty, and the cellar’s work is firstly humility. When it goes wrong, you just take a Kleenex. I might be lucky, but I’m not throwing out a lot of wine every year. Some wine doesn’t complete sugar; it is not wine or vinegar. I just wait, and very often, it works out.”