Women in Wine Talks with Marie-Laurence Sanfourche, Propriétaire du Château Loupiac-Gaudiet

Château Loupiac-Gaudiet dates to the 15th century and has been owned by the Ducau family since the 1920’s. The wine estate is located in the village of Loupiac, above the Garonne River in Bordeaux, and directly across from the famous appellations of Sauternes and Barsac.

Château Loupiac-Gaudiet benefits from southern exposure and has been in the family for five generations. The wine comes from manual harvest with vines that are over forty years old. Covering an area of ​​​​30 hectares, the wine estate produces both sweet white wine and red Bordeaux.

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche joined her husband Marc Ducau in 1991 by taking over the commercial and administrative roles of the company. In 2014, their son Nicolas joined the family business.

Liz Palmer
Who is Marie-Laurence Sanfourche and tell us a little about your history.

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche
This is an old family business – at the end of the 18th century, the Chateau was built. It has been the property of the Sanfourche and Ducau families since 1920, when the Ducau’s combined Chateau de Loupiac with their own vineyard, Guadiet, to create Chateau Loupiac Gaudiet.

When I met my husband, I married the man, not the chateau. In 1991 I started to work with my husband and my uncle.  My uncle was the soul of the chateau… he passed away at 93.

I now have the commercial role, which is dealing with the export markets as well as the general administration of the business.  Our largest markets are China and USA, I also work with wine merchants in Bordeaux. My son is the fifth generation and he also works in wine sales and exports. My husband (on the other hand) is the winemaker.

Liz Palmer
Who were your mentors in the industry?

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche
My uncle and my father (both) taught me.  I was very often in the vineyard to learn, even when I was a student. They both loved their job and they communicated that love and the hard part of their work….little by little..they taught me. 

Liz Palmer
Do you have a message for other women in wine in your particular role?

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche
When I first started and received clients they (the clients) would say oh it’s a woman ….now it’s different. It’s changed a lot since then and it’s much easier.

I find that women communicate differently, and they are more open.

Liz Palmer
The future is certainly bright for women in the industry, what are your comments?

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche
Women will be more and more important…. Wine is a question of sensitivity, philosophy, and tasting …… wine speaks to us women.

The personality of the wine and the owner are the same (I believe).

Liz Palmer
In your personal wine collection, what would we find?

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche
(I collect) Spanish wines, and wines from California and Australia.

Liz Palmer
What is your favorite food and wine pairing?

Marie-Laurence Sanfourche
For me, I like stronger older Comté or Roquefort cheese paired with and sweet wine.

#Liquoreux #loupiacgaudiet #vins #loupiac #Loupiac #liquoreuxdebordeaux #loupiacwine #sweetwine #loupiacvin #vinliquoreux #vindebordeaux #VinBlanc #Oenotourisme #Vignoble #Vin #winetourism #tourism  #winepairing #womeninwine #womeninwinebusiness #bordeaux #bordeauxlovers

Wine Unify Appoints Alicia Towns Franken Executive Director

Wine Unify, a nonprofit organization, founded to champion and promote diversity within the wine business, has announced Alicia Towns Franken as Executive Director.

Alicia has served as the Head of Mentorship and as a member of the Board of Directors since Wine Unify was officially founded in 2020. Described by her colleagues and mentees as “the heart” of Wine Unify, she brings with her firsthand experience of how the non-profit serves the wine community.

“We have all worked as volunteers at Wine Unify since the beginning, knowing that the most important priority for our donations was to go back to the awards and community-building goals we set for ourselves. We are thrilled to have reached a point in our growth where an Executive Director is both necessary for our growth and a natural part of our evolution,” says Wine Unify Co-Founder Mary Margaret McCamic, Master of Wine. “There is no one I would rather see steer this ship than my friend and colleague, Alicia Towns Franken.”

Board of Directors member Priyanka French stated, “Alicia has brought compassion, raw conversations, a sense of community and genuine relationship building into our Wine Unify program since its inception. We are so excited to see her step into this role.”

Alicia brings with her nearly 30 years in the wine industry. She began her career as the Wine Director for Boston’s famed Grill 23 & Bar, where she worked for over a decade to build one of the city’s most respected wine programs. She later worked as a sought-after wine consultant and event planner under her own business, Towns Franken Consulting. Most recently, she was the Vice President of the Wine Portfolio for Archer Roose, a canned wine company seeking to democratize the wine business. Ultimately, though, her passion for building community, working to champion a more diverse wine industry, and innate talent for mentoring young wine professionals led her to take on the role of Executive Director for Wine Unify.

“I could not be more proud of the work we have done at Wine Unify, and I cannot wait to lead this organization as we continue to grow. Giving back, being a part of change, and working to diversify the wine industry is what feeds my soul,” Alicia says of her new role.

To date, Wine Unify has given 95 awards to BIPOC wine professionals and enthusiasts. These awards include fully-funded courses through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), sponsorship from Coravin, glassware from Stölzle and Gabriel Glas, as well as subscriptions from Jancis Robinson and more. These awards are one piece of the organization’s core mission to welcome, elevate, and amplify the voices of underrepresented minorities in the wine business.

#wineunify #womeninwine #womeninwinebusiness #bipoc #wineindustry #winetrade #winenews #wine #winelovers #winelovers #AliciaTownsFranken

Women in Wine Talks: Laure de Lambert Compeyrot, CEO of Château Sigalas Rabaud 1er Cru Classé 1855 Sauternes

Where good things come from a smaller 1er Cru Classe” Liz Palmer

On my recent trip to Bordeaux, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and speak with Laure de Lambert Compeyrot.  Laure is CEO of Château Sigalas Rabaud 1er Cru Classé 1855 Sauternes (Bommes), the 6th generation of Château Sigalas Rabaud.

Château Sigalas Rabaud has a 14-hectare vineyard which is the smallest of the premier crus and is a very close neighbor of Château Yquem. Located in the commune of Bomme, on a slope facing south, the vines grow on the famous “Sauternes Terrace” characterized by a clay bedrock, covered with a silico gravel soil deposited by the Garonne over 600,000 years ago. Their plantings are 85% Semillon and 14% Sauvignon Blanc and 1% Muscadelle, with the average vines being 45 years old.

Château Sigalas Rabaud produces an extraordinary elegant and delicate Sauternes whose structure is 90% Sémillon and 10% Sauvignon Blanc, stored for 18 months in French oak barrels, with > 120g/L sugar.

This great terroir also produces excellent dry white wines.  What stood out for me was the Sémillante de Sigalas. Made from older Sémillon vines, it is a single varietal, aged  8 months in French oak barrels, with > 5 g/L sugar.  This wine was made without sulfur and produced on the same terroir as the 1st Grand Cru Classé, making it even more special.

The property features a beautiful 17th-century Chartreuse with five elegant guest rooms.  When I stepped out onto the terrace, I found stunning views of neighboring chateaux. The lounge and dining room have a real family feel, with an elegant mix of traditional and eclectic furniture and design. I was thrilled to find that Château Sigalas Rabaud received a 2022 Best of Wine Tourism Award on accommodation, and I can see why – what a stunning property.

Laure de Lambert Compeyrot

I finally get a chance to speak with Laure de Lambert Compeyrot about her start in the industry and other interesting facts about her.  The content has been edited for clarity.

Château Sigalas Rabaud has been under the management of sixth-generation Laure de Lambert Compeyrot since 2006 who has given the property a huge lift.  Laure officially became CEO in 2013. Her winemaking studies were at the School of Oenology of Bordeaux, although her position has shifted from winemaker and management to CEO she has a deep passion for the vineyard and the Chateaux.

While we were walking towards the vineyards, Laure explained how she is working with other neighboring Grands Crus Classés châteaux, to develop wine tourism in the Sauternes region.  She was elected President of Route des Vins en Graves et Sauternes in 2021. The association has over 150 members which include wine estates, chateaus, restaurants, hotels, and other properties.  Laure is hands-on “I love to be in the vineyard, to check on the vines, I like to decide the day of harvest, for me that’s very important.”   As we walk through the vineyards Laure tells me that she is “aware of the importance of respecting the terroir and its ecosystem.”

Once back on the terrace Laure and I sit down to continue the discussion with some wine and cheese.  It was a lovely view watching the sun go down and seeing the twinkling lights from the neighboring chateaux…

Liz: Who is Laure de Lambert Compeyrot and tell us about your history?

Laure:  laughs and says I “was born in a barrel” literally.  My mother and father are both from Pomerol and were in the wine business. My grandfather used to go out with me looking botrytis – I learned a lot of things from both grandfathers when I was young. I was exposed to vineyard work back then.

I worked in the Louvre, Paris in furniture – I loved my work.  After I had my children, I came back to work.  My husband is a banker, so we moved often like Toulouse and other locations.

In 2003 my father (Gérard, Marquis de Lambert des Granges) asked his children if someone would go to Montreal, Canada and I did.  I felt it was luck and I presented the 2001 in Montreal and I felt proud. I decided to go back to school to study winemaking, it was difficult but so interesting. I got an internship (in the family estate) in 2005.  My teenage children supported me in going back to school and for me, it was necessary to be successful in my studies for my children.  I couldn’t fail.

            “It’s important to take the risk by yourself”

 Liz:  Can you tell us what changes you have made since becoming CEO and what future plans you have?

Laure: Since becoming CEO, the first thing I changed is the tractor (laughs). I also wanted the estate to be bio, it was a good idea.  I also changed a lot of things in the vineyard and the cellar.

I also decided to organize agrotourism, so I invited a specialist (to study how it would work).

I have become successful with (wine) tourism, we have 57 % French guests, 20 % are local from Bordeaux, with the other 43% are from USA, Belgium and UK.

Another change I made is linking with the neighbors, you must speak with them and be with them and learn how we can all work together. I like to create links!  I am also the President of the Route des Vins en Graves et Sauternes.

“You are a révolutionnaire” my father’s friends have told me

Liz: Who has been your mentor in the industry?

Laure: I have two of them – the first one is a friend of my father and a big owner of Bordeaux of Medoc. In 2009 we were having dinner with my father and he said to my father its time for your daughter to become CEO. He showed me so much…he took my hand.  I had the code – because I’m from an old family. The second one is a true artist Eric Boissenot who is an oenologist.

Liz: If you weren’t the CEO of Château Sigalas Rabaud, what would you be doing?

Laure:  A lot of things….. maybe a painter, or something with my husband, maybe in Cambodia working in agriculture….

Liz: In your personal wine collection, what would we find?

Laure: Including historic family wines, I also collect a lot of wines from Napa, California.

Liz: What is your favorite food and wine pairing?

Laure: I have so many …. Sauternes 2016 with Roquefort cheese.

This ends our conversation and as we enjoy our glass of Chateau Sigalas Rabaud 2006 [Sauternes] and Roquefort cheese.

To learn more about Laure de Lambert Compeyrot and Château Sigalas Rabaud please visit  ttps://www.chateau-sigalas-rabaud.com/

This interview is part of “Women in Wine Talk” series, our continuing effort to highlight winemakers, sustainable specialists, executives, and others making a positive impact in the world of wine.

@charmeu_usa @charmeu_canada and @vinsblancsdebordeaux_usa #enjoyitsfromeurope #euAgriPromo #MadeintheEU #thecharmingtasteofeu #charmeu #bordeauxwine #bordeauxwinelover #madeinfrance #wine #winelover #travelling #traveldiaries  #winelife #winetourism #womeninwine #womenwinemakers #womeninwinebusiness #femmesdevin #awardwinning #wine #sweetwine #whitewine #ChâteauSigalasRabaud #PremierCruClassé #sauternes

Women in Wine Talks – Bordeaux

On my recent trip to Bordeaux, I interviewed many wonderful families including female owners, winemakers and other women in the wine business.. watch this space for the interviews, discussions, and wonderful visuals captured!

Liz Palmer 

@charmeu_usa @charmeu_canada and @vinsblancsdebordeaux_usa

#enjoyitsfromeurope #euAgriPromo #MadeintheEU #thecharmingtasteofeu #charmeu #loupiac #cadillac  #saintmacaire #cerons #saintecroixdumont #bordeauxsuperieur #premierescotesdebordeaux #bordeauxmoelleux  #bordeauxwine #bordeauxlover #madeinfrance #wine #winelover #travelling  #traveldiaries  #winelife #winetourism #winedestinations #womeninwine #womenwinemakers #womeninwinebusiness 

2023 Women’s Wine & Spirits Awards London/Hong Kong

I’m so thrilled to be associated with this organization, and to be “nominated” to be a judge for the 2023 Women’s Wine & Spirits Awards London/Hong Kong.

The organizers state: “Your work in the industry is recognized by the Women’s Wine & Spirits Awards™”

The judging date is November 11th, 2023 and the wines and spirits will be judged by some of the world’s most influential female wine marketers, buyers, retailers, and sommeliers.

The wine business has discovered the exciting importance of women consumers.  Some facts:

  • 80%of wine is purchased by women (Women and Wine Study, Vinexpo)
  • Over 60% of wine is consumed by women (Women and Wine Study, Vinexpo)

#wwsa #womenswineandspiritsawards #wineawards #awards #women #womenbuyers #winetasting #womeninwine #womenspirits #wines #instawine #winejudge #winetime #winelife #winelovers #womeninwinebusiness #winetrade #winenews