Jean-Pierre Galateau, director of the U.S. Office of Domaine de la Presidente Chateau Galifay, was at Total Wine on Thursday for a seminar on his company's red and white wines. (Photo by Dave Raith).
ORLANDO – In the south of France, where tourists from across the globe flock for tropical vacations, the climate is ideal, said Jean-Pierre Galateau – ideal for his business.
“In our region, it’s the perfect climate to make wine,” he said. “It’s cold in the winter and it’s very hot in the summer. We have no weeds because we have big rocks in the countryside.”
There’s only one thing they really don’t do much of, he said, and that’s make a lot of white wine at Domaine de la Presidente Chateau Galifay, the winery that he works at in Cotes du Rhone and the village of Cairanne.
This part of southern France is famous for its wines. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape lies to the south between the cities of Orange and Avignon, and is known for producing some of the best sweet wine produced in France.
“We have 400 acres, and we make mostly red, but a little white,” said Galateau, director of the U.S. office of Domaine de la Presidente Chateau Galifay. “It is the second largest wine producing region in the world after Bordeaux.”
On Thursday, Galateau was in another tropical climate – this time Orlando, where he spent four hours greeting customers at Total Wine, the wine retailer at the Colonial Plaza on E. Colonial Drive. Galateau has been on a tour of the eastern United States, where he also made stops at wine retailers in New Jersey and Maryland before arriving in Orlando.
”Total Wine is exclusive with us,” he said. “They buy directly from us. I go from store to store, to do seminars. Florida is my last state. I came in yesterday, and I’m leaving at the end of the week.”
Galateau brought along bottles of red and white wine for patrons to sample – Dom Presidente Chateauneauf du Pape, for example.
“This is fermented in wood,” he noted. “This is the Pope’s wine.”
He also had a bottle of Cairanne, a red wine named after the village in Southern France where they operate. The bottles of French wine that he had on hand ranged in price from $14 to $34.
”Our wines are inexpensive,” he said, adding that what they produce is ideal for those who want a good bottle of wine served with their meals.
‘’Lots of fruit, no acidity, no sugar, and great with cheese, pasta, salad and fish,’’ Galateau said.
But again, they mainly produce red wine. In France, it turns out that’s the law.
‘’Only about 5 percent of the wines we make are white,” he said. ‘’Whites are difficult to make in the Mediterranean climate. When we foment in the fall, it’s still hot, and we need to cool down the fomentation. And we have a different system than California (wine producers). Our system is different. In our region, we cannot grow Chardonnay. It’s too hot, it won’t grow. Even if we wanted to grow it, we couldn’t. It’s illegal. We are heavily regulated in France. A winery in California, they can do whatever they want to do. We can’t do that.”
On the other hand, Galateau said his winery is still producing the same kind of wines that they’ve been making for decades.
‘’’As far as the style is concerned, we have not changed anything,” he said. “What has changed is the white wines. We make them with fruits and they are very pleasant.”
Total Wine is at 2712 E. Colonial Drive in the Colonial Plaza, and can be reached by calling 407-894-6553.
This store is a massive wine warehouse fully stocked with a varieties of wine, beer, liquor, kegs and specialty items. Total Wine & More is America’s largest independent fine wine retailer, offering more than 8,000 types of wine.

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