You may remember this haunting melody sung by Frank Sinatra back in the 1960s – he won a Grammy for it in 1966. Or perhaps you’ve heard it more recently on the TV series The Sopranos?
But what about 2019? Was it a good year for Champagne? The shipment figures are a bit disappointing but, as they say, It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good and the silver lining for 2019 may well be the number of women who are rising to prominence in the Champagne trade
Most Champagne lovers will already know that there have been many powerful and determined women who have shaped the history and fortunes of Champagne over the centuries, and whose names are still famous today.
Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin (La Veuve Clicquot), Elisabeth (Lily) Bollinger, and Louise Pommery are probably the names that spring most readily to mind, but which women would you mention in more recent times?
Carol Duval Leroy, head of the eponymous Champagne house, is certainly one.
She recalls a story of her early days as the head of the house
I remember one of my first visits to the press house after I became President of the company. It was at Cramant in La Côte des Blancs. When I got to the press house one of the workers stopped me and told me that he didn’t need any more women harvesters. I introduced myself and he was not a little embarrassed.
A lot has changed since then for Madame Duval. Apart from managing what is now a very significant player in Champagne she is also, according to one report, the 4th richest person in the world of Champagne and in the top 250 richest people in France.
But who else would you cite?
Although I know a lot of talented and hard-working women in Champagne, I can’t say that they are as well-known as perhaps they should be, so what follows is a list ( far from exhaustive) of the many women who have achieved or sustained positions of success in 2019 in a variety of capacities in Champagne.
The list is by brand name because you’ll probably recognise those more easily
It’s up to you whether you find this list surprisingly diverse , inspiring long, or disappointing short.
Krug - Margareth Henriquez – President (picture)
Nicolas Feuillatte – Veronique Blin – President
Duval Leroy – Carol Duval – President
Taittinger – Vitalie Taittinger - President
Boizel – Evelyne Roques-Boizel – President until 2019
Laurent Perrier – Alexandra and Stéphanie de Nonancourt – Directors
Bruno Paillard – Alice Paillard- Brabant – Managing Director
AR Lenoble – Alice Malassagne – Joint President
Thiénot – Garance Thiénot – joint Managing Director
Chefs de Caves
Krug - Julie Cavil,
Henriot - Alice Tétienne (picture)
Castelnau - Elisabeth Sarcelet
Ayala - Caroline Latrive
Joseph Perrier - Nathalie Laplaige
Duval Leroy - Sandrine Logette-Jardin
The women in this list are likely to be involved in everything from working in the vineyards to being the ambassador of their brands at wine shows in France and overseas and almost everything else in between
J. Lassalle - Chantal Decelle et Angeline Templier
Virginie T – Virginie Taittinger
Marie-Copinet – Marie Lure Kowal – also President of the association Les Mains du Terroir
Philipe Gonet – Chantal Brégeon-Gonet (picture)
Claude Cazals – Delphine Cazals
Natalie Falmet - Natalie Falmet
Marie- Noëlle Ledru - Marie- Noëlle Ledru
Françoise Bedal – Françoise Bedel
Lionel Carreau - Oriane Carreau
Marlène Delong - Marlène Delong
Chapuy - Elodie Higonet
Last but not least, I have to include the 7 vigneronnes who have joined forces to market their champagnes under the banner
Laureen Baillette ,
Hélène Beaugrand ,
Charlotte de Sousa,
Delphine Brulez ,
There are so many more women that could be added to the list and even then one could claim, probably with justification, that women are under-represented. However that’s a topic outside the scope of this article which is just to give credit where credit is due and to introduce you to some of the current and future movers and shakers, in Champagne of whom you may not yet have heard – you probably will before too long.
Leave a comment if you know of any other talented women who absolutely should be in this list and equally, if you love Champagne and want to discover even more about it, you can do exactly that by clicking on the link below