A Second Life

Published on June 20 2018

*Behind every menu, product and experience, you’ll find passionate people and their stories. Discover these proud Outaouais ambassadors!

Raymond Huneault welcomes us to his house, which he built himself. Though it’s only about 40 years old, it has the smell of an older house: a mixture of dry wood and fire. It’s reassuring. And Mr. Huneault gives the same impression: quiet strength.

Did he ever think, 40 years ago, that his land would be dotted with vines and become Clos Baillie? “No! I worked all my life as a public servant!” After 20 years at the CRTC as a programming analyst and a dozen at RNC Media, always in the field of radio and TV, he decided to devote himself entirely to his passion for wine.

Where does this passion come from? “My maternal grandfather had a vineyard in Megève, in Haute-Savoie,” he says. Add to that heritage an annual trip to France to meet winemakers, to make friends in and around Burgundy, to meet, drink and chat with winemakers from southern Ontario, to taste, to be inspired … He points out that the Outaouais is a lot like Burgundy, with its valleys, its forests, and even its microclimate.

In 1999, he learned of a hybrid vine species from Minnesota that’s adapted to our harsh climate, and that did it.

While still working at RNC Media, he started planting vines.

“Can I thank them?” asked Mr. Huneault during the interview. “The president of the station, Pierre Brosseau, took pity on me,” he recalls, laughing. “He gave me incredible support. With all the publicity they offered me, they really carried me forward. I was spoiled. I’ll never forget it.” So, Robert Parent, Michel Noiseux and Pierre Brosseau: Thank you!

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In 2007, he left RNC to devote himself completely to his passion. What does he like most about this new life? “The freedom. The flexible schedule. Being your own boss. Even if your day starts at 4 a.m., that’s your choice. It’s fulfilling.” What is he most proud of? “Being the first winemaker in the Outaouais. That opened the door for others.” And if he had to do it all over again? “I’d start sooner!”

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