Alexandra Kalna was born in Warsaw (Poland), came to France during her studies in geology and settled down in Southwestern France.
Loic Richard was born in Lyon, and moved to the Southwest part of France after graduating in geology.
We fell in love with this beautiful region, its people, food, landscapes, architecture and wines.
We purchased the present-day Ekoto real estate in 2003, when our first child was about to be born. Old farming and vine-growing property, it was abandoned for many years and the buildings were in poor shape.
Our dream was to give it life again, and to grow and produce the famous sweet white Jurancon wine on the best "terroir", South-facing hills of the Pyrenees foreland, from which a beautiful panorama of the high mountain chain is visible.
We decided to give our wine (and the domain) the name
Ekoto - after the first names of our three sons: Émil, Kosma and Tomas.
The main farmhouse dates back to the 18th century. We remodeled the house and the barn preserving their pure local Bearn style. The thick walls are in stone, to provide shade and shelter from summer heat; the roof is in oak wood, covered with slate from the Pyrenees.
The farmhouse proudly overlooks the vineyards and offers a panoramic view of the mountains.
An old farm building, located in an isolated part of the property, was also brought back to life, remodeled and equipped with state-of-the-art modern facilities. This stand alone building, dating back to 1718, also in stone, slate and wood, is called Palou by the local people. Since 2009, we rent the Palou house to visitors year round through the Gites de France platform. It can host up to 7 people and offers an incredibly quiet retreat in a lush greenery.
We produce the wood used to heat both houses on our land, which is in large parts covered with forest. The houses are equipped with modern heaters and boilers fueled by chopped wood. This fully automatic system uses locally produced renewable energy to provide heat and hot water.
The old cellar , called chai, and old hand press were still in use until 2013 to elaborate our sweet Jurancon wine from our vineyard. We are currently moving forward to something more confortable and reliable with the new plantation which now is about 3 hectares.
Pressing grapes with the old fashion press was quite an experience. This is something we will never forget and we want to pratice from time to time for some vintage wines.
Ahlocolic fermentation is started in stainless containers for a couple of months after manually harvesting our organic grapes, end of October begining of November. We age our wine for almost 2 years in oak barrels.
Each year, in February to March, we produce beautiful daffodils, traditionally offered in France for the Grand Mother day.
These flowers highlight the hills during winter time and it is not uncommon to have snow when the time to harvest them comes.
For a couple of years we produced organic Suffolk sheeps that breed on our grassy land around the vine, limiting the competition of weeds and provide organic matter for fortilization.
Our friends the donkeys.
They welcome our visitors to Palou house gite, for the greatest joy of children.
© 2018 par Ékoto.