The 1920′s – Vine & Wine, a family passion
1920, this passion was born in Algeria. At this time, the grandfather, Robert-Elie Skalli, selected the best soils in the regions of Oran, Mascara, Mostaganem and Aïn Temouchent. He planted grape varieties from the south of France: Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Alicante… Then the Skalli family, including Francis, Robert’s father, cultivated and vinified full bodied, generous wines made from very low yields, which were bought by major French and Swiss wine merchants.
The activity flourished in this period, and ever since the family has held a special attachment for southern wines, warm climates and the sunniest regions, such as California…
The 1960′s – Corsica and Languedoc
1961, Francis Skalli fell in love with a virgin territory on the west coast of Corsica called Terra Vecchia, one of the most beautiful spots on the island.
At the same time in the Languedoc, he set up ‘Etablissements Skalli’, a company dedicated to importing wines from Algeria – this company was later to become ‘Les Chais du Sud’.
1974, Robert – son of Francis – took up the family’s vocation through the discovery of varietal wines in the world. He saw new market opportunities and settled in Sète where he gave a new lease of life to ‘Les Chais du Sud’ by developing wine maturing cellars and a winery for making Languedoc wines.
The 1980′s – St. Supéry and single varietals
Robert Skalli and his uncle, Albert Skalli, contributed to building up the quality of wines from the South of France and in parallel, along with their nephew and cousin Robert Touboul and Claude Skalli, created a great wine in the Napa Valley in California.
1982, purchase of the Dollarhide Ranch estate to the north east of the Napa Valley region in California, which gave birth to the St. Supéry Winery. In the same year, Robert Skalli traveled widely throughout the Languedoc in order to persuade growers to follow the quality trail by planting new varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon.
1987, further to the initiative of a group of professionals, led by Robert Skalli and Jacques Gravegeal, a decisive step was taken in the creation of the «Vin de Pays d’Oc » label.
In the same year Fortant, the first French varietal wines, were produced. They were to develop a solid reputation throughout the world.
The 1990′s – A permanent drive towards quality
In 1990 the wine cellars in Sète – which dated back to 1877 – were entirely renovated. They could now contain some 2700 French oak casks used for maturing wines with finesse and complexity.
1995 saw the birth of the F. label of wines, as a tribute to Francis Skalli. Intimate understanding of the wine making environments contributed to the selection of the very best parcels and, in concert with ten or so dedicated growers, a strict cultivation programme was deployed in order to produce the very best fruit from these excellent soils. The first vintage for the F. label was produced in 1996: three wines of exceptional quality made from the Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
The 2000′s and Beyond – Rhone and Provence
2000, purchase of ‘Caves Notre Dame’, the most highly reputed wine stockist in the Languedoc, underlines a constant desire to remain as close as possible to its local consumers and restaurants. The company also aims to communicate its philosophy with regards to wine making and its deep understanding of wines from the South by developing and maintaining close links with the best wine makers everywhere. An additional acquisition: the Domaine du Silène estate, in the hinterland of the Languedoc, which has a vocation of producing the very best in terms of AOC Coteaux du Languedoc wines.
2001, Skalli decided to establish a market position in the most prestigious appellations in the South of France via the acquisition of Maison Bouachon, a century-old wine company in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in the Rhone Valley.
2006, Skalli began to develop contacts with wine making estates in Provence, always on the strict basis of a passion for quality.