Larry Slaughter ’85

Alyssa Carvara

“Cheers!” to winemaker Larry Slaughter ’85, an organic wine producer in the south of France. Slaughter says he and his wife, Constance, had dreamed for decades of running a vineyard, but it wasn’t until they found the Château de Mille estate that they knew they had found their home.

The Château de Mille vineyard is the oldest wine estate in the Luberon region of France — records of wine making on the site go back to 1238, when it was a summer residence of the popes. In 2018, the estate took on a new life when the Slaughters purchased it with the express purpose of restoring it to its former glory, as parts of the estate were run down: “That combination of history and the great quality of the land was enormously attractive for us,” notes Slaughter.

The couple quickly began transitioning the winery to organic practices and launching restoration projects on the site, including saving a 17th-century bell tower and restoring a baroque altar. During Covid-19, Slaughter enrolled in a two-year winemaking course through UC Davis, earning a certification in viticulture and enology (everything “from the vine to the wine,” he says).

Château de Mille grows 10 varietals of grapes and produces red, white and rosé wines. The wine is mostly sold in France — in the United States, Château de Mille wines are only available in a few restaurants and stores in New York. However, Slaughter is looking to expand in the coming years.

Slaughter offers visitors tours of the site and its archives, as well as wine tastings. “We’re guardians of this property; we’re going to be here for a nanosecond in the history of this place and so we’re delighted to be able to share it with people,” he says.

Anne-Ryan Sirju JRN’09