The passionate winemaker
Antoine grew up in the town of Biel-Benken, near Aesch. After his apprenticeship years in Neuchâtel and Sion, he had the urge to go to the South and farther abroad to widen his “wine horizon”.
Antoine travelled and worked in wine growing areas like Veneto in Italy, at Napa Valley in the U.S.A., at Haut-Médoc in France and in Victoria, Australia amassing wine making and viticulture knowledge along the way.
At the beginning of the 90s he earned his Degree in Oenology and Viticulture at the Polytechnic of Changins in Switzerland. He eventually moved to Provence which was his home for 20 years working as head of the Delinat Group’s organic winery, the Chateau Duvivier. During this time, he and his wife Irene rebuilt a previously neglected vineyard in Cotignac and gave it a second lease in life.
In 2014 new challenges were tugging and Antoine heeded the call. Many options were open but tackling a new start in his provenance had the strongest appeal. After 32 years of winemaking experience he is now back in his hometown.
Irene grew up in Ipoh, Malaysia. The idea of discovering the world tickled her thoughts at a very young age and to follow up on this dream she eventually worked as a stewardess for Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific travelling the world for 8 years.
She then worked as an assistant securities trader in Hong Kong and in this melting pot of culture she became a wine connoisseur.
Eager to broaden her horizon in wines, she attended the renowned Sommelier training in the Rhône Valley at the Université du Vin in Suze-la-Rousse in 1997 where she met her husband, Antoine Kaufmann.
The two well-travelled individuals from two different continents made their home in a paradise-like but remote corner of Provence.
After 18 years in the beautiful Provence, Irene is happy to immerse herself in a new culture. Having lived in two continents that moulded her rich sense of the orient and the west, she naturally brings with her this unique style to KLUS 177, her new home.
She looks forward to welcoming you at the Klus with her very elementary Hochdeutsch, but fluent Cantonese, English and French.
Lukas Vögele was born in Bad Boll near Stuttgart in Germany. He grew up in a most natural backdrop in the midst of the sprawling Schwäbisch Mountain Ranges and its spring water.
Upon completing his Abitur, he worked at Wiengut Wittman. Here he encountered quality wine for the first time which solidified his interest in good organic wine and its industry.
He subsequently moved to sunny Provence where he met Antoine and Irene Kaufmann at Chateau Duvivier. After a six-month stint in Sales and Wine Tastings at Bernd Kreis in Stuttgart he began to study Viticulture and Oenology in Geisenheim.
During his studies he would disappear for weeks on end every year in the cellar of the highly esteemed Olivier Pithon in the small town of Calce in Roussillon, in the sunny south of France. Calce is the French stronghold of Biodynamic Viticulture.
In 2016 after completing his studies in Geisenheim he worked for half a year in the Austrian Langenlois with Stefanie and Alwin Jurtschitsch, until he received a call from Thomas Teibert from Calce to work at the Domaine de l'Horizon.
In April 2018, he happily took up the offer of his old acquaintance Antoine Kaufmann.
Though a light traveller, Lukas brings along all his Bio-dynamic’s experience, determination, motivation and passion for the nature to make the finest wines at KLUS 177.
Marius von Ballmoos
Our first apprentice!
Marius joined us right before the dream harvest of 2018. He is part of our team as he is completing the practical part of his second apprenticeship as a winemaker. He is a qualified carpenter and had worked for a few years in metal construction with his father at the Lake of Biel. He is a warm and friendly ‘Allrounder’, who executes all his task meticulously. Marius is indeed a well treasured three-star apprentice!
Marius’ short story on how he entered the Universe of wine:
“Never have I ever dreamt of starting another apprenticeship at the age of 30! Well, a few years ago, my three friends and I farmed a vine parcel and vinified our own wine at the picturesque Lake of Biel. I was captivated by the magic of wine and would like to discover more of it. As I like to work in the nature and with my hands, I decided to start all over again with a winemaking apprenticeship! Here I am, learning an exciting, unbelievably versatile and highly recommended profession from Antoine and Lukas.”