Born at the Hospices de Beaune in Burgundy - site of one of the world’s greatest yearly wine auctions - Brigitte feels it was a sign of destiny! She grew up in the small village of Volnay at Domaine Musy, where her grandfather was the manager. She got her degree as an oenologist, encouraged by him, although her parents disagreed saying that the job was “not for a woman”. After university she worked at Chauvenet for over 20 years, created her own wine trading company in 2006, and then in 2014 took over technical management at Nicolas Potel where she is in charge of the winemaking and quality of the wines. For Brigitte it is the rigor and the work that must be developed to ensure the high level of quality of the grapes, the wines, and the customer satisfaction of drinking them - all invaluable teachings she received from her grandfather.
Who has inspired you the most in your work? My grandfather, no doubt, but also the two men I worked with at the beginning of my career at Chauvenet who allowed me to enter the “world of wine” while I was just a very young woman. At the time it was very unusual in this environment as 99% of winery positions were held by men.
How do you see women’s roles in the wine business evolving since you began? The evolution is remarkable. Forty years ago, there were very few women who occupied the wine-making scene, whether in the big trading houses or in the smaller family wineries. We were the pioneers, wishing to leave the laboratories where we had our only place. Over the years, we have shown that we are all as capable as men of winemaking, of mastering the technological aspects of this profession, of mastering blends, of supervising teams and traveling to promote our wines. Oenology schools have become more and more attended by women. Mentalities have changed little by little. Today, being a woman in this profession almost becomes an advantage.
How do you sum up what being a woman in the wine business has been like for you? The technical and commercial exchanges I have had throughout my career with our French and foreign clients have always been of high quality, without any exceptions. Is it because I am a woman or because I am professional and passionate? I think you have to be competent to be credible, whether you’re a man or a woman. What is your favorite wine and food pairing? I am greedy, so I have a lot! Burgundian beef served with a Nuits St George or a turbot blanquette served with a Santenay 1er Cru blanc.