Dirk Vermeersch, from Gran Turismo to … Grand Terroir

The StoryDirk Vermeersch Winemaker

Without any diploma, without any prospect of a decent job, but incredibly enthusiastic as ever, Dirk Vermeersch dreams, as a young taxi driver, chiefly about making a career in car sport racing.
Barely two years after starting in local races with his brother’s VW Polo, he win the 24 Hours of Zolder and, that same year 1977, he is the reserve driver of the victorious car in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. As of that moment, he becomes a professional racing car driver.

After a long and successful career in auto sport a serious rally accident in 1986 put an end on his racing activities. He takes a step back and embarks on the operation of a petrol station, where he deals simultaneously in used cars. Three years later, his secret wish to become the dealer of a top-ranking make of cars comes true. Dirk becomes the official Lancia and Maserati dealer, in Schilde, near Antwerp.

In 1999, he manages to sell the dealership at a handsome price. Retirement is beckoning, but Dirk is unable to sit idle. Firstly, he gets hold of a ruin in the South of France, and then he starts a construction firm to renovate the wreck, turning it into one of the most beautiful and largest buildings in the region. A third dream comes true: Dirk, his charming wife Hélène and daughter Ann are running together a B&B in Provence.

Next to the ruin, a small plot of old Carignan vines in winking. Dirk begins enthusiastically to prune and plough like an accomplished autodidact, before his family knows, he has become a full-time winemaker. Another dream come true. His first LePlan GT-S 2003 is awarded 2 stars in the Hachette Guide des Vins and Robert Parker, the famous American Wine Advocate, give his LePlan GT-1 Chateauneuf-du-Pape 95/100 points… The rest is history.

  • vermeersch family
  • Ann and Dirk Vermeersch
  • Wine making in France
  • Wine making in provence
  • DOMAINE LE PLAN Dirk Vermeersch ET Barbara Vermeersch
  • Ann Vermeersch Winemaking
  • Ann Vermeersch
  • Ann et Dirk Vermeersch in the winery

The Family

Meanwhile his daughter Ann went to the local oenology school in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region to learn her trade. Here she met her future husband Sebastian. Sebastian Barbara is a former rugby player, biker and rock musician. In 2005 they both joined the LePlan-Vermeersch Winery.

In 2010 the Vermeersch-Barbara family decided to sell the old Mas and B&B and built a brand new, ultra-modern, 2400m² winery in Suze-la-Rousse, which is situated in the middle of 25 hectares of GT “Grand Terroir” vineyards at Suze la Rousse (village of the Université du Vin).

The Team

Ann Vermeersch
Ann Barbara-Vermeersch

Mother of two toddlers, Ann excels in sharing her time between winemaking, tastings, emails, orders and her fulfilling family life.

Sebastien Barbara
Sebastien Barbara

Part time musician, full time passionate, Sebastien loves to channel his passions into his work, his wine and his creations.

Dirk Vermeersch
Dirk Vermeersch

Dirk Vermeersch, former Racing Car Champion and Maserati car dealer, founded the LePlan-Vermeersch Winery in 2000.

Thomas Oui
Thomas Oui

Naomi Schiff
Naomi Schiff
Brand Ambassador &
Racing car driver

Louise Chow
Louise Chow
Public Relations Asia

Esther de Bièvre
Esther de Bièvre
Public Relations Belgium

Dirk Vermeersch Rally & Racing

Winner of 24 Hours Zolder 1977 (A112 Abarth)
Winner of 24 Hours Zolder 1981 (BMW 323)
Second in 24 Hours Spa-Francorchamps 1978 (BMW 530)
Second in 24 Hours Spa-Francorchamps 1980 (BMW 530)
Second in 24 Hours Spa-Francorchamps 1981 (BMW 530)

Pole Position in 24 Hours of Zolder 1978 (A112 Abarth)
Pole Position in 500km of Spa-Francorchamps in 1980 (BMW 530)

Belgian Champion Rally gr.A 1983 (Opel Manta/Ascona)
Belgian Vice-Champion Rally gr.N 1984 (Toyota Corolla GT)
Belgian Vice-Champion Rally gr.N 1986 (Toyota Corolla GT)