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Returning After 100 Years – Prunier Cognac in Australia

COGNAC4.JPGGeelong’s reputable speciality liquor store, Wine {Domaine} has embarked on an exciting new venture, forming a very special business relationship with one of the oldest cognac houses in the world.

Words by ELLIE GARDNER  |  Photos COGNACPRUNIER.FR

 

Sophisticated, inviting, and beautifully unique – this is how I would describe Geelong’s stylishly welcoming Wine {Domaine}, perfectly situated on Garden Street, in East Geelong. Whether you have a casual interest in fine wine, whisky or speciality cognac, or perhaps consider yourself a liquor connoisseur, this antiquely furnished store accommodates for all tastes. Passionate owner Dale Cooper, is continuously developing his knowledge and expertise in the field of boutique beverages, most recently becoming the sole Australian distributor of Prunier cognac, a historically important, and family-owned French brandy.

Dale’s passion for winemaking and speciality liquor has taken him around the globe. He studied at the renowned Hennessy Academy in Cognac, France, learning the art of tasting and blending the luxurious cognacs, and has travelled the world as a wine consultant managing an impressive 138 vineyards. However, after years of travel, Dale ultimately decided to settle back in Geelong, opening his store two years ago, and he is very excited to be sharing the story of the Prunier-Burnez family.

COGNAC1.JPGHe says, "I hadn’t heard of Prunier cognac before, until I had a customer come in and enquire about it, so I decided to do some research. I eventually got in contact with the current owner, Stéfane Burnez, who is the tenth generation of the Prunier-Burnez family (his daughter is the eleventh generation!), and told him about where I’d been and what I’d done. I discussed the relevance of cognac in Australia, and he suggested that we work together."

The Prunier family history can be traced to as far back as 1701, when the first member of the family to work in the industry, Jean Prunier, began shipping wine and cognac from La Rochelle, the main port in France at the time.

The business flourished and remained in France for a century and a half, until Gaston Prunier, the sixth generation of the Prunier family, moved to Australia, where he began running a branch of the company in Melbourne. The family own one of the oldest houses in Cognac, which was built in 1490, and it is still standing today, refurnished and serving as the store front for the family business.

Dale says, "This year is exactly 100 years that Prunier cognac was last seen in Australia, as Gaston Prunier passed away in 1916. Interestingly, Gaston was well known for having a pet kangaroo and so the Prunier logo incorporates a kangaroo within it because of that!"

COGNAC3.JPGI was delighted when Dale showed me an old television advertisement for Prunier cognac that can be dated back to some time between 1920 and 1924 – it hilariously depicts a lone kangaroo on a beach, stumbling across the delicious brandy, and drinking some for itself. Very Australian, indeed!

Dale has been in discussion with the Prunier-Burnez family for three months, and is ecstatic that they have been so excited to work with him. He says, "It takes me only 6 days to get Prunier cognac in Geelong. They are so passionate about what they do, and have been so helpful and equally as excited as I am about bringing the cognac back to Australia."

As well as hosting his regular master classes on whisky and wine tasting, Dale intends to run sessions on Prunier cognac to educate people about the distillation process, the history of the family, and his own involvement with them. He continues, "I am really keen to share my excitement about Prunier with customers in weeks to come. When I first started doing master classes, we had six people participating, but with increasing popularity we have had to have custom tables built to accommodate for everyone – they are going really well. It has been a fantastic journey so far, and I look forward to the next 20 or 30 years of doing it!"

This preservation of history and family legacy is what sets Wine {Domaine} apart from regular wine stores, and Dale’s commitment to providing high quality products is unparalleled. Book a master class, visit the store, or have a chat to Dale about Prunier and see for yourself the passion that drives this wonderful business.

 

Wine {Domaine}
66 Garden Street,
East Geelong, VIC, 3220
P: (03) 5222 2600
www.winedomaine.com.au

Opening Hours:
Monday-Thursday: 10:00am-6:00pm
Friday: 10:00am-7:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am-5:00pm
Sunday: Closed

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