Loucine Hayes & Olivier Lecomte - Erasmus entrepreneurs

Success stories

Recent testimonies of successful business networking - Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme

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New entrepreneur:
Loucine Hayes (Armenia)
Age: 51
Company name: Hayes Wines | @hayeswinesandvineyard (Start-up)
Sector of activity: Agricultural, forestry, horticultural, aquacultural and apicultural products and services

This has been a truly life-transforming experience one that is not limited to the few months of the exchange but will span over a lifetime, since the relationships developed are profound and there is a dynamic for exchange of experience and knowledge in the wine industry.

Host entrepreneur:
Olivier Lecomte (France)
Age: 59
Company name: SCEA David-Lecomte | https://passavant.net/ (25 years of experience)
Sector of activity: Agricultural, forestry, horticultural, aquacultural and apicultural products and services

Discovering Armenia as the oldest wine-making country with its history grape varieties and practiced methods has been an eye-opening experience. Loucine is courageous, as it is not easy to change professions, and I am sure she will succeed with her determination and knowledge about the wine world.

Period of exchange: 04/2022 until 11/2022
Duration of exchange: 4 months


Results and benefits


5 new jobs created
1 new contract
1 new country reached
1 new country reached
10 new contacts
Biodynamic viticulture and winemaking


This story begins in a small town in Armenia with a little girl and her big dream. She grew up watching her grandfather make wine and had the most fun pressing the grapes with her feet. Inspired to follow in his footsteps, Loucine decided to make "Hayes Wines" a reality. She was studying to obtain a certificate in viticulture and wine business when she learned about the "Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs" programme. The timing was perfect as she was looking to gain practical knowledge and skills in managing a biodynamic and organic vineyard and in natural winemaking processes and techniques. The EYE enabled her to meet and collaborate with the host entrepreneur Olivier Lecomte, who is the fourth generation of the family to run the Château de Passavant winery in France. Olivier was very interested in an exchange of knowledge and experience with Loucine in order to discover Armenia as a winemaking country and to open up new export markets.

The entrepreneurs decided to carry out the exchange in two equal parts in spring and autumn to cover all phases of wine production. Every day Loucine would bike through the beautiful Loire valley as if through Van Gogh's paintings to immerse herself in the world of hard but rewarding work. She spent the first month in the winery learning all about labelling and packaging, transferring wines from wooden to stainless steel barrels and taking samples for analysis before bottling. Loucine also participated in the planting of a new vineyard. She worked with the Coteaux du Layon Grolleau Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon varieties and learned about secondary pruning (ébourgeonnage) and palissage canopy management. In the second phase, Loucine went through the processes of manual and machine harvesting, sorting and pressing of the grapes, followed by thermovinification and carbonic maceration. Olivier involved her in the production, filtering and bottling of natural and AOC red, rosé, white and Crémant wines.

Loucine and Olivier feel that collaborating together has really made a difference. Loucine has grown a lot, made good friends and connections, but most of all she is sure that she wants to be a winemaker for the rest of her life. Thanks to the support of Olivier and the team, Loucine learned about biodynamic viticulture, winery management in terms of logistics, orders and finances, winemaking, running a Salon des vins, marketing and sales activities. She also had the opportunity to meet many local producers when 60 reporters came from all over the world to discover the region and in particular the Chenin Blanc variety. Upon her return, Loucine launched her first label, "Ubuntu", made from Tozot grapes, to be sold in France and internationally. In the meantime, she is preparing to launch a white wine (Halivoruk variety), a red wine (Milar) and, in two years, "Hayes Reserve" made from Areni grapes. She would like to continue the partnership with Château de Passavant and the Wine Association in Loire for further market development.

For more information, please contact the local contact points involved in the exchange:

New entrepreneur's contact point:
Jinishian Memorial Foundation (Yerevan, Armenia)

Host entrepreneur's contact point:
Association Laval Mayenne Technopole (Laval, France)

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