SERVE is a family story, in the truest sense of the word – three generations are involved today, almost 30 years after its establishment, in the life of the winery, even though the youngest participate for now just by their name and personality, which they lend to the winery’s top wines.
It would be easy to write a book about SERVE – the Euro-Romanian Society for Exceptional Wines, but it is much more difficult to write down just a few lines. SERVE is a precious symbol of Romanian wine, being the first in so many fields, that just a simple enumeration would wear out the patience of a normal reader.
SERVE, the story born from fog and mud
In 1993, the Corsican dentist / winery owner Guy Tyrel de Poix arrived in Romania, after reading just six lines from Hugh Johnson’s Wine Atlas, which drew his attention to the fact that Romania would have a great potential for quality wines.
The beginning of the 90s, for those who do not remember, was defined by a production of volume wines, often exported in bulk to the former countries in the Communist influence area. At the time of Guy de Poix’s first visit, even Bucharest was a gray and dark city (really, no street lights!), with muddy streets and unfinished buildings on every street corner. Venturing into the countryside was already an exaggeration, but Guy de Poix was determined to discover the wine-growing Romania.
After several visits, in which he was assisted by Mihaela Badea, the one who would later become his partner in business and in life, he arrived in Dealu Mare, where he saw from a great distance a foggy valley. That alone would have been enough – fog means slow ripening, essential for a certain type of high quality wine. In the days that followed, came the meeting that would seal his future.
Aurel Rotarescu, from apprentice to master of SERVE Winery
Providence made Aurel Rotarescu, a young oenologist who was starting to learn the wine secrets at the Dyonisos winery, be among the first people Guy met during his visit. The bottled wines did not impress the count, but they moved on to the tasting of tank wines, where a Feteasca neagra made by Rotarescu "for his own soul" made Guy exclaim "this is the wine I was looking for".
If you are ever curious about what that wild wine was like – Mihaela says she neither liked nor understood it at that time – you can catch a glimpse of it from its contemporary versions, a lot more polished and ready for consumption, of Cuvee Guy de Poix Feteasca neagra.
Aurel Rotarescu became the winery’s oenologist and, under Guy’s mentorship, learned to understand his land and grapes. Today he is one of the most appreciated oenologists in Romania and the only one who can boast of 28 years of work in the same winery.
SERVE – Construction, conception, consecration
In 1994, the construction of the winery and the planting of the first 54 hectares had already begun. In all these years, only another 7 hectares were added, all “cherry-picked” in the heart of the Dealu Mare region. It was the first foreign investment in Romanian wine, and the challenges were great. Before being able to collaborate with the distribution networks – which were still in their infancy – SERVE built its own distribution, a fact met with mistrust by the first restaurant owners.
Step by step, Vinul Cavalerului entered the public consciousness, but one of the key moments was the launching of the first dry rosé wine in Romania, in a period when most of the local wines, but absolutely all rosés – were off-dry, semi-sweet or sweet.
At the same time, the lands were planted with vines mainly from their own nursery – the first private Feteasca neagra nursery in the country was born here, with an enormous contribution to the spread of this variety in the years that followed.
Everything that has happened since then at SERVE was under the sign of passion, family, love and respect for the earth, a philosophy unheard of at that time in Romanian wine.
The first cuvees followed, top wines that bore the names of the family’s children – and then grandchildren. Charlotte, Amaury, Alexandru, Guillaume, Clemence, Sissi, Pacs, Lysandre, and Maxence are wines created to demonstrate the deep connection between personality, soul and wine.
Integrated, one by one, into this family, the members of the second and third generations of the great Poix family are preparing to take over the destiny of SERVE, but also of Domaine Peraldi – the Corsican winery owned by Guy Tyrel de Poix, currently managed by Mihaela de Poix, the one who took over the adventurer’s dream after his disappearance and continued to build it as he would have done it himself.
The SERVE winery from Ceptura is the November winery of the month on the Wines of Romania platform. Follow us for more stories and wine recommendations from the winery that changed the history of Romanian wine.