There is an ancient tradition of winemaking in Gascony but by the third quarter of the 20th century the vast majority of the wine made there was destined to be distilled into the region's distinctive brandies, which was not always a profitable business for most growers, though it has seen a recent resurgence.
When the spirit market became depressed in the wake of the oil crisis of the early 1970s there was a need to consider other outlets for the grapes, and this is where André Dubosc came in. As a native of the area and a man of great determination and vision, he set about changing the way he and his fellow growers perceived their terroir and their grapes.
In 1979 he persuaded three co-operatives, those of Plaisance, Aignan and Saint-Mont, to join forces in a merger that was named Plaimont Producteurs. The name was taken from the three constituents (PL-AI-MONT) and the aim was to provide growers with a fair deal and to market the wines with more professionalism. Their success in doing both led to three more co-operatives coming into the fold in 1999.
They now represent 98% of total Saint-Mont production, and nearly half of all the production in Côtes de Gascogne, Madiran and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh. Over 1,000 growers contribute their fruit to the co-op and adhere to strict rules and supervision over their combined 5,300 hectares of land. Payment for the grapes that come in to the winery are higher for better-quality fruit, which incentivises growers to give their best.
André Dubosc was also keen to retain, and where necessary to recover, local varieties like petit courbu and pinenc and they have contributed uniquely to the flavours and character of the wines. Research continues into other varieties.
As the co-operative moves into the future following Andre Dubosc's retirement, they have sometimes struggled to maintain the trajectory set for them by their mentor and The Society only buys when we are sure that the quality is good.