About Aubaï Mema

Aubai Mema

At the foot of the village of Aubais, Mark Haynes, "The Gentleman Vigneron" has made his dream a reality.

What's in a Name?

Aubais Aubai MemaThe first sight to greet you as you pass the signpost to AUBAIS is of a ruined castle, perched up on a hill. In its glory days, when the Marquis de Baschi owned much land in the region, the people from the village, the seat of regional power and influence, always identified themselves as being from Aubais itself, ('Aubais meme' in French) or in the old Provençal language, that they were from 'Aubai mema'.

We took this old expression as the name for our domaine.



About Mark Haynes

Mark Haynes“My mother is French and from this region. I spent every summer holiday from England in my youth on a family property that produced execrable wine, destined to be blended with Algerian plonk. But the fumes emanating from the cave must have been strong because they affected my brain and I came to nurture the ambition to make wine one day, even though that day would be a long way off.

A case of love at first sight, always a dangerous proposition...

I pursued an entrepreneurial career (antique dealer, publisher, financial public relations, financial data bases, a private postal service for banks) in England and bought a house in the village of Aubais in 1989. That was a case
of love at first sight, always a dangerous proposition, and still I wasn’t making any wine.

Gradually I got to know the land around Aubais, and I also came to realise that a whole generation of viticulteurs who carried their grapes to the local cooperative were retiring and grubbing up vineyards. It seemed unacceptable to me that a village which had been dominated by the wine trade in the 19th. Century, where there are cuves carved into the rock in peoples’ outhouses, should cut itself off from its agricultural past. I moved into action.

James Bond Stainless Steel

By 2002, I had become the proud owner of 10 hectares of vineyards in the Liverna valley, no doubt securing fond memories of that mad Anglais in the minds of the retiring peasants; and I had equipped a winery that looked like a James Bond set. With a barrel ageing room attached.


Many people had tried to discourage me. Several told me it would take 7 years to understand anything, and despite precocious success in international competitions, I have come to think that 10 years is more like it.

So now, having preserved a bit of the past with my old Grenache and Carignan vines, and having understood how to get the best out of my younger vines, I am constantly looking for improvement by working with nature rather than against it.”


The Names of Our Wines


The origin of the name Aubais is the word 'Alba' meaning white, which refers to the white rocks that rose out of the sea bed 15 million years ago, and upon which the village and fortress were built. It is my white wine. There is also a reference to my original homeland Britain, the Albion, or as Napoleon called it: the perfidious Albion.


The Liverna valley is on the outskirts of Aubais, and it is where the vineyards are located. Ninety three million years ago it was the sea bed. Today it is a fertile valley bordered by rocky outcrops of wooded hills and terraces. In my village it is spelt with an 'a' at the end. Our neighbours add a 't'. Take your choice.


L’Insoumise in the French feminine form means the rebel, the indomitable one. Why name a wine like that?: I will explain. If grape varieties were people a cabernet sauvignon would be your chosen son in law, a chardonnay would be the obliging shop assistant in Tiffany’s, a merlot would be that nice guy you meet at parties, a good mixer, but you never remember his name.

Carignan would be Carmen.

Treat her right and there is no guarantee that she will return the favour. The most lunatic (affected by the phases of the moon) of all the grape varieties, the yields can vary by 50 % from year to year. She drives you to distraction but she is worth the wait.


Grenache is a grape variety which really belongs in the midi. I am lucky enough to have some old Grenache vines. Although it tends to go high in alcohol, if you are careful this is not at the expense of drinkability and fruit, of which there should be an explosion in the mouth. Need I say more?


La DouziemeThis cuvée is my homage to what I consider to be the greatest wine in the world The Cote Rotie. It is sometimes made with a small percentage of Viognier a white grape variety. They are picked at the same time and vinified together. I always do this. So why LA DOUZIÈME?

It is a bit of a crossword clue. Eve was created from Adam’s rib (his twelfth) and the French for rib is cote for Cote Rotie and La Douzième is the twelfth in French.
Anyway, find me 5 wine labels with a Z on them (Zinfadel does not count).


LunaticoA lunatic in French means someone who is affected by the moon and its phases. In English it has come to mean someone who is crazy, which is what you need to be if you want to make wine. Lunatico was also the name of a famous racehorse that belonged to Carlos Gardel the Tango singer, but that’s another story.

Lunatico is made from old Grenache vines in a small north-facing vineyard that is set apart from the Liverna valley. It was the first vineyard to which I applied biodynamic treatments. The effects were remarkable, and crazy or not I follow the phases of the moon and the biodynamic calendar in field work and in winemaking.


Find out about our Vinification Process here >