So, this arrived… intriguingly delicious Licence IV. Their French wine products have entered my category of “The Future Is Now the Present.” Besides being fun wines, it’s one of greatest environmental reliefs for the planet, from the manufactured products to the shipping, handling, and delivering, so much energy is saved, while enjoying these wines. This is their declaration, “where taking it easy is taken seriously.” I also take all aspects of wine seriously, including how they are impacting sustainability, and cans are a blessing, not a curse.

Hippie Alert! We don’t have to use those dang, dank sheepskin pouches, anymore, people, if you’ve not evolved yet. Try wine that’s canned, and you will understand.


This image is overdone, for present thinkers, I know. But…

Nothing could go wrong with this combination. Limoges (handed down from my great, fraternal grandmother, to an aunt, to me), French lace (made by my maternal grandmother, handed directly down to me), and Licence IV Rosé (from Provence), along with a Melon de Bourgogne, from the Loire region of France.

Tasting Licence IV

  • The Licence IV Rosé is a blend of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Merlot. It experienced a low fermentation (15 days, after pneumatic pressing and 24 hours of settling, first), creating gentle flavors to come forth in the aromas, and flavors of pink fruit (like watermelon and strawberries), on your palate. It’s a delightful Rosé, just suggesting that Merlot is present, and will be a hit at any party. (Alcohol 14 percent)
  • The Licence IV Blanc… This one is one to write home about… at least it will help you on your way to being a Wine Century Club Member. This is only the second time I’ve tasted the wine grape called “Melon de Bourgogne,” and it’s as delicious as I remembered it. At first you might think you’ve encountered a fruit bomb, but it quickly settles into its delicacy. It’s similar to a Sauvignon Blanc, with its grassiness and tropical lime notes. It’s exciting and off the beaten path to a new adventure in taste for most people. And… it lingers longer. (Alcohol 12 percent)


To finish these details ~ prices for four-250 ml cans = $23.99/four pack (very convenient) and $21.99 for a 1-liter bottle.

[PHOTO purchased: all rights reserved]

More on Licence IV

The line of French wines, called Licence IV, was founded by French Sommelier Gregory Castells. Remember his company’s motto “where taking it easy is taken seriously…” Licence IV is cleverly named for the permit in France (Licence IV) to serve alcohol. Debuting in 2018, this canned wine came out ready for prime time. It’s meant to be enjoyed at all occasions, really. So, no problem there. The only problems – which still remain – are perception and education. The adoption curve has not yet crested, as it steadily becomes accepted. Not so little, as when I first started advocating for canned wines, but the evolution wheels turn very slowly, and now plenty of beverages (besides wine) seems to be going toward cans. The beverage shelves in a supermarkets almost have a dizzying effect.

[PHOTO purchased: all rights reserved]

Finding a Catchy Name

Licence IV is a regulation permit which unites every bar, brasserie, and restaurant in France: the Licence IV placard. It allows cafes, restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs to serve alcohol. The official enameled placards can be found bolted to the walls of these establishments throughout France; perhaps even in a window, like this one.

Against All Oligopolies Odds

Bravo! So, here we are… Also to learn is that it’s the morphing of a very clever, and slick company. Got a great concept, got a great image, got a great wine, and a very industrious crew. Just the combination of creativity is so refreshing to see.

Photo Website – Study in Simple and Effective

If you go to their website, there’s so much going on, in the most minute of words. Very efficient and effective, which is why I used “slick” earlier.

Motto: where taking it easy is taken seriously

Origin: Licence IV placard.

Pairs well with: lunch, after the game, with friends, listening to the classics, outside.

Brilliant, just living fun times, forget the menu. Taken the snobbery image of wine into everyday enjoyment… because their French leadership is really down to earth, as is most of France; villages, hamlets, the endless fields of flowers… no waxing poetic, just joie de vivre.

Behind the Curtain Revealed

How Martine Saunier and Gregory Castells got together is a bit of a journey (click on the link to the left, for the longer version). Briefly:

Fine wine importer and wholesaler Martine’s Wines celebrated its five-year anniversary under owners Gregory Castells and Kate Laughlin, by announcing the creation of a California sales team and several notable additions to its portfolio, as the company approaches its 40th year of business. Martine’s Wines was started in 1979 by legendary tastemaker Martine Saunier, who hand-selected Castells and Laughlin to purchase the company in December 2012.

[PHOTO: Property of Licence IV]

Who is Martine, copy from website

Martine Saunier was born in Paris. Although she lived and attended school there, she spent every summer vacation at her aunt’s home in Prissé, near Mâcon. Her aunt owned a winery with approximately 10 acres of vineyards planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

When Martine moved to the United States in 1964, she started to look for some local California wines. In 1965, she drove to Beaulieu Vineyards, knocked on the door and was lucky enough to meet the great André Tchelistcheff. He told her in his good French that if she wanted good Pinot Noir, she had to go to Burgundy to get it! The seed was planted in her mind.

Needless to say, one fascinating connection + another impressive connection = good life happened. To read more…

Final Thoughts

This all took me on a journey that made me realize owners Gregory Castells and Kate Laughlin are the brainchild behind this wine brand, and they are to be celebrated as a company. He’s got a palate for excellence and style, Kate has a passion for management as CEO, and their associates are an assembled, talented team from within. Martine Saunier must be very pleased… her dream is still in full bloom and totally evolving into something quite beautiful… from my perspective.