Monica Bourgeois and Neil Gernon, a New Orleans couple, decided to purchase Pontchartrain Vineyards last November after they visited the winery’s Jazz’n the Vines events featuring Charmaine Neville. The wine spot was put up for sale last summer.
“You could see every star, it was one of the most charming things I’ve ever seen,” Bourgeois said.
The couple will plan to reopen the vineyard under the new name Wild Bush Farms & Vineyards. They love the vineyard but want to put their own stamp on it. They have painted the tasting room walls and replaced the furniture. That will add a ping pon table, frisbee golf and a movie screening area. The couple will keep the traditional Jazz’n the Vines events every spring and fall.
“It’s going to be this really cool viticulture playground out here,” she said. “There are hardly any wineries in Louisiana and I don’t know anyone that’s trying to do what we are going to attempt to do out here. We’re going to do the style of wines we would enjoy drinking from around the world: thoughtful, honest, sustainable wines and that’s what we want to focus on, building an ecosystem, producing things of nutritional value that are beautiful.”
Monica and Neil are no strangers to the wine industry. Both worked in the wine distribution and retail industry on Magazine Street in New Orleans. In fact, in 2009 the couple, along with a vineyard owner in Napa, founded Vending Machine Wines. The results were nice red blends with California grapes and Louisiana flare. There was a Double Shotgun, a Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot blend, and a Cabernet Sauvignon called Crooked Mayor, which she said “speaks for itself.”
“We’ll have a lot of different offerings for a lot of different people,” Bourgeois said.