Tour European wines with Gervais & Lulu

Vincent Desnoes stands in his newest endeavor, Gervais & Lulu, which showcases European wines made the way he remembers from his childhood. (Cheyenne Sharp)

CULLMAN, Ala. – A new experience for choosing wine is available to the residents of Cullman County. Gervais & Lulu started with a dream and a desire to introduce a new world of wine to the States, beginning at home.

After marrying a classically trained ballerina from Cullman, Vincent Desnoes and his new bride Brooke Desnoes uprooted and relocated to Paris for 25 years. Upon emigrating back to the States, Vincent Desnoes said, he missed and longed for the tastes of home.

Growing up in Paris and learning the life of the back alleys and mom and pop vineyards of France handed the Gervais & Lulu founder a unique, first-hand perspective into the ever-involved processes of making, storing, drinking and eventually enjoying the fermented beverage.

“That’s why I’m doing this; I’m missing the wine; I’m missing the winemakers. I used to spend a lot of time with them. I spent a lot of time in that world and I learned a lot,” Desnoes fondly recalled. “My parents were from that world, the name Gervais & Lulu – Gervais is my father and Lulu is my uncle. With them I started learning about wine at age 14 selling it on the streets of Paris, sort of like a movie.”

Longing for the tastes of home and sharing the fondness he has for Paris, Desnoes envisioned transporting guests on a tour of Europe by showcasing small-farmed wines from the hills and valleys of the country. Desnoes works directly with many vineyards and farmers of the wines he imports himself to stock the shelves of his new endeavor.

“The way they make wine there (in California), it’s gone wild – too many chemicals and too many genetically modified grapes. People complain; they say, ‘It gives me a stomachache, it gives me a headache,’ because it is not natural,” said Desnoes. “All these wines are made, to me, what is the ‘normal’ way. There is no tampering with the wine itself. It’s a story between the climate, the sky, the soil and the man in the middle who is going to manage whatever the weather gave him this year.”

While tastings and events are not available in-store, Desnoes hopes that interested individuals will reach out and dip their toes into the waters of new varietals and wines. Groups of four or more can call Desnoes at 256-338-4637 to discuss private tastings and coordinating appetizers and entrees to curate an upscale in-home date night experience.

Gervais & Lulu is open for the enjoyment of the public to hear and learn about wines made in Europe. It is located across the street from Mary Carter Store at 402 Fifth St. SE.  A grand opening will be held at a later date.

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