Joly is a French winegrower in the Loire wine region, and one of the pioneers and leading personalities of the biodynamic wine movement. Joly studied at Columbia University and subsequently started to work for J.P. Morgan in New York as an investment banker. He was later posted to London, but in 1977, he left banking to take over his family’s wine estate Château de la Roche aux Moines in Savennières.
At the time he took over the family estate, Joly was sceptical about modern agriculture and the effect it had on nature. He encountered a book on biodynamic farming and took an active interest in the ideas found there, and from 1980 started to experiment with them in his wine estate. From 1981, the estate’s top wine Clos de la Coulée de Serrant has been made biodynamically, and from 1984, the estate’s entire range has been produced biodynamically.
Joly has later written extensively on biodynamic wine production, and has served as an inspiration to many other wine producers who have converted to biodynamy.
His biodynamic convictions also means that Joly disapproves of the label “winemaker” to the extent that his business card is reported to read “Nicolas Joly, Gérant de la Société, Nature assistant and not a winemaker”.
Nicolas Joly and his Château de la Roche aux Moines holds all 7 hectares (17 acres) of Savennières most celebrated enclave, Coulée de Serrant, which is an Appellation d’origine contrôlée of its own, Savennières-Coulée-de-Serrant. Joly’s wine from this appellation is labelled Clos de la Coulée de Serrant and is often mentioned as one of the world’s best dry white wines.
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