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Interview Patrick Bruel Interview Patrick Bruel Interview Patrick Bruel Interview Patrick Bruel

Interview with Patrick Bruel, owner of Domaine Leos and producer of the oils H of Leos

What does LEOS mean?

LEOS is the name I gave to the French Agricultural Development Company that runs the Domaine. It is a contraction of the first names of my two sons, Léon and Oscar. They are very much attached to the estate and I hope they will pursue this fine project that I started for them.

Can you tell us about the history of the Domaine?

The Domaine stretched across the entire plateau of Margoye, which accounts historically for the origin of the city of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. It has a Roman oppidum as well as a Hospitaller headquarters. It was turned into an agricultural farm during the French Revolution.
In the past, the lands were planted with olive trees, vines, almond trees and truffle oaks, but the olive trees froze in February 1956, as in most of Provence. Some olive trees regrew from their base but the land has not been exploited since that time.
Regarding the vines, they were uprooted and replaced by pine trees in the middle of the twentieth century. The rest of the land was left in fallow and the farm was largely abandoned before being first redeveloped in 2002.
 

When were the olive trees planted?

The project started a few months after I fell in love with the estate, which I bought in 2007, when I realised the exceptional assets of the Domaine and its history. In fact, the idea of planting olive trees and producing an exceptional olive oil, and then wine, came from the discovery I made of the potential of the soil as well as my desire to revive this historical estate. I bought several plots of land that had been separated. Some had wild bottom prunings of olive trees.
At the same time, it was necessary to do considerable work at restructuring and protecting the estate, which had become the favoured off-road area of some motorbikers, and clearing to protect it from fires.
After that work, I and a team of devoted professionals were able to have some 200 existing olive trees trimmed and regenerated. Additional cuttings and bottom prunings allowed us to revive in all about 500 « Aglandau » olive trees. Between 2011 and 2015, we planted more than 1,000 olive trees, followed during the springs of 2018 and 2019 by 800 trees more than fifteen years old. In 2020, another 1,000 olive trees will be planted, bringing the olive grove to more than 3,300 trees.

huile olive
 

What is the source of your passion for olive oil?

My passion was first born from my love of the olive tree. The olive tree is the ultimate tree of life! It is a symbol of wisdom, purity and well-being, but it is also a symbol of peace for almost all civilisations and religions in the world!
This being said, olive oil was a major part of my entire childhood. I even think that it has molded my taste. At home, we barely cooked with butter!

When I started working on the olive oil project, I discovered the many extraordinary virtues the olive tree had. I learned that it was the Greek goddess Athena, daughter of Zeus, who turned it into an immortal and divine tree capable of guiding and nourishing humans, but also, and this is less known, of healing them! The extra virgin olive tree, the olives and olive tree leaves contain many beneficial health properties that we have recently rediscovered, especially on the cardiovascular level, but also in fighting some cancers, thanks to its antioxidant polyphenols, its beta carotene, vitamin E, and mono-unsaturated fatty acids.

How did you manage to reach the quality level you wanted?

For me, producing an exceptional olive oil is first of all a creative job! It is a matter of passion and sharing as well as of high standards and talent. Just as I’m used to doing in my job as an artist, I looked for talents and I assembled a formidable team with whom I share the same passion and ambition for olive oil, wine and for the future of Domaine Leos!

I have been surprised by the richness and complexity of the olive oil. As much as I felt I knew a little about wine, my other passion for regional products, I quickly realised the long way I still had to go to know about olive oil. So I had to learn and work! Producing an oil such as L’Huile H or such as the line H of Leos Selection has been difficult, but the adventure is exciting and exhilarating! Today, I am proud of the quality we have achieved.

I am reassured for the future but I know that if we want to keep pursuing our dream of excellence, we must continue learning and improving year after year. I like what René Char, the great native poet of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, said: We don’t achieve the impossible, but it serves us as a lantern! »

Today I am very proud of the quality we have reached.
I am confident about the future, but I know that if we want to keep up to our dreams of excellence, we must continue to make progress every year. I like what the great Isle-sur-la-Sorgue poet René Char used to say: "The impossible, we cannot reach, but it stands as our guiding star!"

Do you have any other projects in future for Domaine Leos?

Last year, we installed 14 beehives and planted 4.5 hectares of vines. We also recently acquired new plots of land to expand the planting of olive trees and vines in 2020 and 2021.

Simultaneously, we are taking steps for Domaine Leos to qualify as HQE (High Quality Environmental standard) and organic. It is indispensable for the biological equilibrium of the estate as much as the presence of bees, the diversity of plantings, and the limited area of each plot. We also have a new organisation to maintain and improve our production and guarantee the excellence of our products while meeting our customers’ needs. Our objective remains the same: create exceptional products based on olive trees and vines, able to recapture the original taste of the products. With my team, we work on it but we need to take our time. In my view, what is important is to maintain a high level of quality while keeping intact the pleasure of making and tasting them, because I believe that we can only do well and share what we love!
 
Patrick bruel
Patrick Maurizot
in charge of the Olive Threes of The Domaine Leos
Patrick bruel
Christian Argenson (on the right on the picture)
Expert oléicole