Ladies & Wine

Domaine Château Coujan

The name of Caîus attesting to the traces of an ancient Roman villa is found in archives dating back to 968. The fortified farm and the Romanesque chapel were erected on the site of Wisigoth tombs dedicated to the martyred Saint-Etienne. Coming into the domain of Goujan, of a metallic blue among the greenery, you will admire house peacocks nesting at the top of tall trees. The scene is magical and unexpected. Peacocks are also found on the armorial labels. Orchards, wheat, barley, olive trees and vines abound on 180 hectares tended and developed by the energetic Florence Guy. She produces from AOP Saint-Chinian to IGP in Coteaux de Murviel. The Bois Joli cuvée, issued from old vines, offers a large and gourmand red. Florence has fitted out two large lodgings with a view on the vines and a pool in the métairie.

Châteaux les Ollieux Romanis

The origins of the Domain go back to the 11th century. In the 12th century, the vineyard depended on the nuns of Fontfroide. Today, the 150 hectares belong to another lady: Jacqueline Bories. We are in the “Boutenac” varieties. Originally, the carignan variety, basis of the Corbières with grenache and alicante, an autochtonal variety, brought color to the pale wine. But this stage has now passed. The carignan is at the heart of their wine. The magazine Vins de France lost its heart to their IGP Costières Boutenac, variety OR 2010, a red blend in majority carignan and grenache; the variety Atal Sia (Let it be????) is original and very fruity, both to be discovered with many others in the very beautiful stone cellar built in 1896.

Château de l’Engarran

For Diane and Constance, the duo of the wine ladies, patrimony and wine are one and the same at Engarran. Atlases are represented on the label of the two emblematic cuvées Quetton Saint-Georges and Adelys. The Atlases, entwined with vine shoots, bear witness to the viticultural activity of the domaine since the 18th centuy. For the Sainte-Cécile cuvée, the label reproduces the face sculpted in stone of Lois de Marigny, beloved wife of Jean Vassal, the former owner. In the park, the statue of a lioness feasting on grapes gave its name, The Lion, to a gourmet cuvée. Statuaries, bestiaries, grottoes and water buffet will delight you. The discovery of the Castle, splendid 17th century “Folie” with its consecrated chapel and its Versailles type park will make y our eyes open wide. Whether on the side of the courtyard or the garden, the architectural ornaments of the façades pay homage to love and wine. 60 hectares, by half AOP and IGP, the wine worked out by the ladies declines in AOP Languedoc, Grès de Montpellier and Vin de pays d’Oc. The cuvée La Lionne had us roaring with pleasure. Guided visit around the castle and wine museum.

La Jasse Castel

Cherries, I tell you! Yes, a generous red fruit, impetuous as a woman. Do not look for a castle, nor for a cellar. Pascale Rivière’ s den is to be found along the Saumailles way. Her vines are all around. Bought one at a time, blended and vinified to render cuvées of great finesse. Her AOP Coteaux du Languedoc are endowed with feminine power. We also like the La Pimpanela cuvée, a peony in Occitan, a treat of a wine that blooms in a complex blend, and les Combariolles that express, on stone, the potential of grenache. At the top, Guide Hachette 2009 lost its heart to Le Jasse 2009. Pascale, a dynamic Dame du Vin, is president of Vinfilles.

Domain owners, winemakers, winegrowers… The world of wine is not just a “male word”. WineChicTravel wished to pay tribute to the Ladies of Wine. The kind of woman who dedicates herself with spirit and know-how to work her vines and her wine.

«Iron hand in a velvet glove», they represent a world of seduction. Strong personalities that we want you to meet.

Clos des Nines

One vineyard and three Nines! By grappling impulsively with the domain in 2002, Isabelle Mangeart baptized its vineyard “Nines” for her three daughters in Occitan. 10 hectares of vines with olive trees grouped together in the center of the garrigue. Varieties newly planted but also venerable ones like carignan and alicante. Three Nines and three ranges. The Pulp collection in the three colors declines pleasurable wines. With the “O” wines, the whole concentration of the grape is expressed, especially for the cuvée “O” of the vineyard: Fine tannins, intense perfume, spices, pepper and vanilla. As to the oils of the Clos and the very fruity wines des Lucques and Picholine, the whole garrigue expresses its versatility.

California > Central Coast

Fiddlehead Cellars

Fiddlehead Cellars. Winemaker Kathy Joseph started the winery to capture the essence of the two grapes she loves best, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. The result is a wine that became a celebrity in itself in the film Sideways, when a character discussed that she was drinking a ‘Fiddlehead Sauvignon Blanc’. Only 5,000 cases are produced per year, in keeping with Kathy’s philosophy of personal interest in each barrel of wine. Open Fri (12-5), Sat (11-5) and Sun (12-4). 1597 East Chestnut Avenue, Lompoc.

California > Gold Country and Lodi

Holly’s Hill Winery

Holly’s Hill Winery. Located at 2,700 feet in elevation in the Pleasant Valley region. The estate vineyards are composed entirely of Rhone varieties including Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and Counoise. This enthusiasm for Rhone varieties started when the owners, Tom and Holly Cooper, shared their first bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape on their honeymoon! Their daughter, Carrie Bendick, is the co-winemaker, with her husband Josh, at Holly’s Hill. Carrie uses traditional winemaking methods, choosing not to over-manipulate the grapes, so that the flavour comes through in the wine. She has travelled to the Rhone region of France to learn more about her craft from long established producers. The white and red Patriache blends pull together the best of the estate each year, and are really good. Tasting room open daily. 3680 Leisure Lane, Placerville.

California > North Coast - Napa Valley

Inman Family Wines

Inman Family Wines. Kathleen Inman is the owner and winemaker, producing small lots of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay from her family’s organically farmed Olivet Grange vineyard and a handful of other sustainable vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Kathleen grew up in the Napa Valley, like her parents and grandparents. She moved to England for 15 years before returning to California in 1998. The Inman Family Winery is housed in a solar powered building, made primarily of recycled materials, and designed with energy and water conservation in mind. Our favourite is the 2007 OGV Pinot Noir – very smooth and drinkable. 3900 Piner Road. Tel.: +1 707 293 9576.

Wilson Winery

Wilson Winery. Ken & Diane Wilson produce their gold medal winning line up of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet France, Syrah and Petite Sirah wines. Diane was honoured as Woman Winemaker of the Year in 2008 and is at the forefront of the Sonoma County wine industry. The tasting room is open daily – enjoy a bottle of Wilson wine on the deck and enjoy panoramic vineyard views. 1960 Dry Creek Road.

Zahtila Vineyards

Zahtila Vineyards. Owned by Laura Zahtila Swanton, a long-time wine enthusiast who purchased the vineyards in 1999. Zahtila specialises in limited-production, premium red wines. Laura has managed all winemaking processes from grape sourcing to the logistics of launching and operating a winery. Zahtila Vineyards make robust Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, and a refreshingly fruit-forward Chardonnay. 2250 Lake County Highway.

St. Clement vineyard

St Clement Vineyard. St Clement owns very little vineyard acreage of its own, but has worked to establish long-term relationships with some of the best winegrowers in the Napa Valley. The result is a wonderfully diverse palate of flavours and tannin structures, and wines with great depth and complexity. The female winemaker is Danielle Cyrot. Danielle grew up with a French father and yearly trips to Paris. Her great-grandfather was the last in an long line of ancestors who owned the Cyrot vineyard in the Cote de Beaune. Danielle had no intention of revitalising her family’s history of winemaking, but an introductory winemaking class at the University of California at Davis changed everything and she graduated with a degree in Enology and Viticulture. After graduation, Danielle travelled to Alsace and South Australia to hone her skills. She returned to Napa and joined the team at Stags Leap Winery, working her way to the position of assistant winemaker. In 2005, she became winemaker at St Clement. Drawing on her travels to France and Australia, as well as her experience in the Napa Valley, Danielle appreciates the philosophy that wine is created in the vineyard, but she also monitors her cellar carefully. Her wines are elegantly structured with refined tannins and balanced components. Open daily 10am-5pm. 2867 St Helena Highway North. Tel.: +1 866 877 5939

VML Winery

VML Winery. New to the scene, founded in Spring 2011. Virginia Marie Lambrix is the female winemaker, and her involvement in viticulture is inspired by the interrelationship of the soil, plants and animals as a self-nourishing system. She’s a strong advocate for alternative agriculture, and is currently on the Demeter Boars for education on biodynamic farming. Guests at VML Winery are encouraged to take in the organic garden, roaming the beds of flowers, fruits and herbs selected to invoke the aromas of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. You are encouraged to pick and eat what is ripe. 4035 Westside Road

California > South Coast

Hoyt Family Vineyards

Hoyt Family Vineyards. Meet Carol Hoyt, the only woman winemaker and owner of Malibu. Her vineyard, very close to the ocean rolls down from the footsteps of her beautiful home. This is private property so do not expect bus tours to be able to step in and sample wines. After various attempts, Carol decided to plant only chardonnay grapes in her own backyard, but produces other wines from purchased grapes, coming mainly from the Central Cost. Her estate chardonnay is not for the light hearted. It is a full bodied and oaked white, typical of the Californian tradition of chardonnay production. With a phone call and a referral from you may be able to schedule a visit in order to see the beautiful vineyard and sample what she has to have you try facing the pool. A woman of character producing wines just like her. Malibu

Vesper Vineyards

Vesper Vineyards. Young couple Chris Broomell and his oenologist wife Alysha Stehly only make wines from locally grown grapes under two brands: Triple B Ranches, made from grapes produced on their family property, and Vesper, using grapes purchased to various local producers. They do not limit themselves to any varietal: Merlot, Syrah, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc…all reflect an expert hand in winemaking, great intuition and a true love of the land. 15030 Vesper Rd, Valley Center, CA 92082, Tel.: + 1 760 749-1300,

France > Alsace

Sylvie Spiellmann Estate

Sylvie Spiellmann Estate. A woman in tune with her land and what land! Her estate is located on gypsum soil and produces an organic wine, unique in the Alsace! After studying the Champagne and Bourgogne, Sylvie went to Australia and California. She came back strong from the experience. She finds happiness here, amongst her vines. An 8 hectare vineyard whose roots lay in old gypsum quarries mined since the Middle-Ages and afford her wines personality and originality. A biodynamic convert, Sylvie ploughs some of her plots and old vines with work horses. She uses natural compost. Her “Old Vines” Riesling is wonderfully mineral. Fascinated by the history of Bergheim, she created the «Witch of Bergheim », a collector’s box with a selection of 6 of her crus. Welcome to the Estate, Sylvie blends Art and Wine and lends the walls of her exhibition hall to painters for private views and organises gourmet pairings with wine and cheese, standing tasting sessions and private wine tastings as well as open days throughout the year. Do go have a look at her website to find out more. 2, route de Thannenkirch. 68750 Bergheim.

France > Beaujolais

Domaine des Haut de Chénas

Domaine des Hauts de Chénas. The Chénas, a rare pedigree vintage, is the wine of Nathalie Fauvin’s domaine. A viticulturist whose love of the vine is grounded in her heart. Just one grape variety but vintages, including the Séléné, a beautiful discovery of a wine in the feminine, full of finesse, and revealing, behind its garnet colour, floral and woody aromas, pure pleasure. Nathalie’s mother looks over the stove. You can have lunch on the terrace with its stunning view, enjoying local dishes: andouillette, marbled ham or snails, all of which can be swallowed down with a Chénas. To round the day off, you should pay a visit to the P’tit musée d’Emile, dedicated to old wine and vineyard tools. Vine tour and tastings, by appointment. Tel.: +33 (0)4 74 06 76 31

Domaine du Clos des Garands

Domaine du Clos des Garands. Mr and Mrs Yves take care of their bed and breakfast, which boasts four ‘wheat ears’ for which they converted their beautiful house, having passed the wine estate on to their daughter. They were right to do so. The young Audrey Charton took over the management of the estate in 2004 masterfully. A wise viticulturist and president of the ten Beaujolais vintages, she takes care of their six hectares of vineyards located in one stretch on the Garands hillside. Just Fleurie wine and three vintages, including the Sublime, which comes from 110 years old wines and is matured 18 months in oak casks, a sublime Fleurie, just as its names indicates. Visits of the vineyards and wine store by appointment. Tel.: +33(0) 4 74 69 80 01

Chateau des Bachelards

Chateau des BachelardsOnce again, this elegant property has been built by the Benedictine monks in the 17th century. They drew themselves the"clos" as well as the main house house of. The 6ha-clos now produces exclusively Fleurie wines, one of the most complex terroirs in the region. The Countess Alexandra de Vaizelles acquired the castle in 2014. Full of ambition, she expands successfully the range with Saint-Amour, Moulin-à-Vent appelations and white wines. A very nice guest room is available in the tastefully decorated castle. Wine tasting on request. Tel: +33 9 81 49 47 00

France > Bordelais

Château La Tour de Bessan

Château La Tour de Bessan is owned by a woman from the Médoc area who is a creator of wines. A trained oenologist, Marie Laure Lurton, manages the three châteaux that were bequeathed to her, including La Tour de Bessan, and produces a Margaux denominated bourgeois vintage. You can visit the futuristic looking wine store and the medieval vineyard.

Château Léoville-Barton

Château Léoville Barton. A great lady and some great wines: Lilian Barton descends from one of the oldest families in the Médoc region whose history is tied to Ireland. Her ancestor, Thomas Barton, established himself as a trader in the Bordeaux region in 1722, becoming a wine merchant and taking ownership of the Château de Léoville, archetype of the region’s eighteenth century style with a park and a French formal garden, surrounded by vines. Exceptional vintages, whose wines are classified as vintage years since 1900, the Château Léoville Barton’s wine is one for aging. They also produce a premier wine, the Réserve Léoville Barton. Free visits by appointment.

Arras’ castle

Château des Arras. One after the other, dungeon, fifteenth century military outpost, then sixteenth century noble residence, the château des Arras was then transformed into a country residence. The defensive aspects of the property are removed, the moats filled in, the drawbridge is replaced with a double staircase and two wings are added to the main building. The superb Bordelais property is now dedicated to viticulture. A 27 hectare estate with a single vineyard bordered by stone walls. Claudine Rozier, a wine grower, manages the family estate and cultivates it sustainably. Supple, balanced wines with silky tannins, both for the Prestige blend and the other treasures of the Château des Arras. Their Bordeaux rosé is full of freshness with flowery and peachy notes and should be kept for lovely summer days. Open Day for Pentecost with picnic and photo exhibition at the château. Visits and tastings by appointment.

Bouscaut Castle

Château Bouscaut. In 1953, having been awarded many medals, the château de Bouscaut wines, much appreciated by the actor Louis Jouvet, and singers such as Maurice Chevalier and Gilbert Bécaud, are awarded the distinction of Cru Classés de Graves in both red and white wines. In 1972, Lucien Lurton acquired the property, already owner of a dozen Grands Crus. Nowadays, it is his daughter, Sophie Lurton who looks over the château, a highly renowned estate, to which she brings both renovation and innovation. The restructuration of the vineyard enabled the planting of merlot and cabernet sauvignon vine plants for elegant blends. Vines over a hundred years old are at the heart of the white Bouscaut made up of half sémillon and half sauvignon. A good example of a wine to put down, which, with its distinct aroma, expresses opulence. The new, futuristic looking, vats, the circular vat, the wooden wine store and cement vat-house, together with the eighteenth century charter house form an amazing set up! Just like the wines! Visits by appointment. Tel.: +33 5 57 83 12 26

Château Chantelys-Lesparre

Château Chantelys-Lesparre. An estate belonging to Christine Courrian, a woman wine-grower who produces a cru bourgeois as generous as her hospitality. Every year, Christine invites about 30 people to take part in convivial grape-picking activities on her 16 hectare estate. The “vendanges” are a great therapy for city folks from all over the place and all different nationalities.

Corbin Castle

Château Corbin. Annabelle Cruse Bardinet, a qualified oenologist and a young wine maker, inherited the magnificent Girondine property from her grandmother with 13 hectares of vines on land that sits at the edge of the Pomerol region. The origins of Château Corbin go back to the fifteenth century when it is thought to have been one of the Black Prince’s strongholds. Annabelle follows traditional cultivation methods and produces two blends as sensible and elegant as she is. The first wine, Château Corbin Saint-Émilion Grand Cru is produced from older vines and is powerful and velvety. The second wine, the Corbin, is produced from young vines and is as a result punchier and fresher on the notes of fruit. Visits by appointment.

Thieuley castle

Château Thieuley. In the region of tiles and clay soil, two sisters, engineers and oenologists, Marie and Sylvie Courselle, combine their talents to cultivate the vines on the estate. 80 hectares spread between three domains: Clos Saint Anne, Château Saint Genès and Château Thieuley. With the support of a whole team, Sylvie looks after the business side and Marie works on the vines and at the wine store to produce blended AOC Bordeaux and Entre-deux-Mers. The Francis Courselle blend, a fermented white wine from old vines, matures in new barrels following the Bourguignon method, expresses all the elegance of a wooded wine. The Réserve Francis Courselle red follows in the great tradition of Bordeaux wines, powerful yet fine. The 2008 vintage was awarded a gold medal at the Concours de Paris. Visits and tastings by appointment. The Château’s shop is open from Monday to Friday.

The estate is a member of the « Bordeaux oxygen » association, which brings together fifteen young and innovative wine makers. Wine makers who whilst producing great quality wines prove that one can reconcile tradition and modernity.

Clos Haut-Peyraguey Castle

Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey. A former eighteenth century barony, the enclosed vineyard is the smallest of the Sauternes classified first growths. 12 hectares, of which one borders the Château d’Yquem vines. Martine Langlais-Pauly has been brought up in the ways of the vine and viticulture since early childhood by her parents. She keeps that passion alive and combines it with her love for the country. A trained psychiatrist, she studied oenology and took over the running of the estate in 2002, helped by eminent advisors. A vineyard for which she has great expectations. Martine gives a new drive to the Bommes fine wines that come from the hill tops. Her AOC Sauternes is written up in the professional wine press as “a dense wine, long and pure, of the utmost modernity, with a noble rot of anthology”.  Visits in the company of the cellar master and wine tasting that can be accompanied by a meal upon request. Tel.: +33 5 56 76 61 53.

Lagueloup Castle

Château Lagueloup. Situated at the place ‘where there is water’, is dedicated to wine and viticulture. Built under the Second Empire, made up of old buildings, the façade was rebuilt in the nineteenth century; the estate is now run by Florence Mothe. The wine store is 1750 sq.m. for 600 hectares of vines, it is here that the different blends are vinified, amongst which are the Château de Mongenan and of Lagueloup in AOC Graves and Bordeaux. The wine and vine museum has gathered together all the implements for the cultivation and cooperage indicated in the encyclopedia of Diderot and Montalembert. Tel.: +33 5 56 67 18 11

Barrabaque Castle

Château Barrabaque. This very old estate dating from 1747 was taken over and has been run by the Noël family since 1936. The estate is run by Caroline Barroux, a winemaker. Great Bordeaux wines, such as the Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac are produced here from nine hectares of south facing vineyards. The Château’s three 2008 vintages were selected by the Hachette Wine Guide. The Château Barrabaque Prestige blend, matured in new casks, turns out to be very complex, velvety and powerful.

France > Burgundy

Domaine des Rois Mages Vineyard

Le Domaine des Rois Mages. Trained as an oenological technician diploma at the University of Dijon, Anne Sophie Debavelaere combines both tradition and modernity, drawing from the knowledge of her elders and more recent technological advancement. From holding just one hectare to begin with, Anne-Sophie has built up her estate with vines over Rully and Bouzeron. Today she has ten hectares along the hillsides planted with chardonnay, pinot noir and aligoté vine plants producing very feminine, truly fine wines. A whole range of Rully made from plots and enclosed vineyards: Rully Cailloux, Rully Premier Cru des Pierres Clos du Mur. All express minerality and freshness.

Mugneret-Gibourg’s Vineyard

Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg. Jacqueline together with her daughters, Marie-Christine and Marie-Andrée are the ladies of Mugneret Gibourg. An elegant winemaking estate, which is closed on Wednesday – children’s day (Her own! Not visitors’!). Since 1900, the estate has produced red Burgundy, Vosne-Romanée, some Nuits Saint-Georges and an Echézeaux Grand Cru. The estate has developed by obtaining precious strips between Chambertin and Vosnes and now has six hectares in pinot noir vine plants, grown sustainably. The aim of these ladies, all shrewd wine makers, is to produce a wine full of fineness and freshness, by respecting and vinifying the pinot noir as much as possible.

Greffière’s Castle

Château de la Greffière. The seventeenth century buildings, together with an old vat room and a vaulted cellar have belonged to the Greuzard family since 1924. Isabelle follows in her ancestor’s footsteps by cultivating 30 hectares of vineyards in Chardonnay and in Mâcon la Roche Vineuse appellations with great passion. Amongst her blends, one finds the Château de la Greffière, a woody wine from old vines, and a Passetoutgrain, blend of gamay and pinot, which are particularly interesting. Tel.: +33 3 85 37 79 11

Le Meix Foulot Vineyard

Domaine Le Meix Foulot. Situated below the ruins of the Château de Montaigu, a château that has been in the same family for over two hundred years. Paul de Launay, a pioneer in matters of winemaking using green harvesting methods, and sustainable culture, founded this estate in 1956. Back from the States, his daughter, Agnès, took over the reins in 1996 and relies on her father’s methods. 20 hectares of vineyards with a range of wine with different typicity depending on the soil that can be found at all the best tables the world over. Her Mercurey is only sold one to two years after bottling in order to leave it time to round off and express itself .

Anne Gros’ Vineyard

Domaine Anne Gros. A wine-making estate with a bed and breakfast, La Colombière. Anne Gros, also a member of the “Woman and Wine of Burgundy” society, runs the estate. After reading literature, she now spends her time cultivating the vine having taken over from her father. She has grown the estate from three to six and a half hectares, and although respectful of tradition, likes to innovate so she is interested in biodynamic culture and biodiversity, treating and working her vines sustainably, however without seeking the label for it. Her vineyards stretch over Concoeur, Vosne-Romanée, Flagey- Echézeaux, Chambolle-Musigny and Clos Vougeot territory. Her Clos Vougeot, the Grand Maupertui, is a full bodied wine, with a velvety purple colour and strong undertones of prunes and liquorice. Through her bed and breakfast business, Anne tries to encourage wine tourism in the region as part of an association. A selection of wine for women, tastings, walks through the vineyards are all on offer to the tourist just passing through. A whole Burgundy way of life that Anne loves to share.

Capucin’s Manor

Manoir du Capucin. Originally owned by the Capuchin friar Luillier, this manor house with its Italian colonnades, cellars and walled in vineyards was bought by Antoine Forest in the twentieth century, great grandfather of Chloé Bayon, who is the president of the Pouilly-Fuissé union of producers. This vineyard had been run by share-croppers until Chloé decided to study wine making and oenology in order to run the business herself and to devote her time to the vine and her wine. Amongst the blends is the Manoir du Capucin and the Clos de la Maison which, according to the Gault and Millau guidebook “a true success with a taste of aniseed and soft liquorice in the mouth”. A women’s wine. Tel: +33 3 85 35 87 74

Béru Castle

Château de Béru. The estate belonging to the Counts of Béru since 1627, has remained within the family for over 400 years and the passion for wine making has been handed down from father to daughter. Today, Laurence and her daughter Athénaïs hold the reins and have adopted organic farming methods for the vintages. The five hectare vineyard, dating back to the thirteenth century, produces Chablis and Chablis first growth. The Clos Béru Monopole gives a powerful, round and mineral wine. The first growth Vaucoupin, to be found in the parish of Chichée, is renowned for its delicacy. As for the Chablis 2009 vintage, it reveals hints of minerals and iodine. Guided tours and tastings are available from 15 April until 15 November and by appointment. The ladies of Béru belong to the Women and Wines of Burgundy society. Guest rooms. Tel: +33 3 86 75 90 43    

France > Champagne

Champagne Launois

Champagne Launois, Father & Sons & …. Daughters with Séverine and Caroline. A very nice champagne producer now run by women. Champagne tasting, discovery of their vineyard and wine Museum, dedicated to local crafstmen and traditional tools ; lunch at the « Clos des Cépages » a renaissance castle and possibility to participate in the grape-harvesting season. A complete oeno-touristic program.

France > Loire Valley

Vaults’ Castle

Le Château de Vaults. A whole dynasty of women such as Vicountess Walsh, Michèle de Feligonde, then Evelyne de Pontbriand have succeeded one another at the Château de Vaults. It is well worth visiting, in the heart of the certified Savennières region. The dwelling, the well-maintained grounds and flower beds, the welcome of Mrs Evelyne de Jessey-Pontbriand, make for an exceptional place. The neighbouring Domaine du Closel offers a selection of the estate’s wine - as poetic as its owner. Wines for conversation in Savennières grapes “La Jalousie” and “Une Emotion”, gourmet wines such as "La Tentation", a cabernet from Anjou with amber notes or exceptional wines such as the Special Vintage "Le Clos du Papillon", suave, delicate, highly mineralised and very fresh, wines for women! Concerts, literary evenings, and holiday promotions at the Chambres au Moulin are also on offer according to what you fancy...

Les Genaudières vineyard

Le Domaine Les Genaudières. Vines atop hills plunging down to the Loire riverbank since the fifteenth century. Steep hills giving a coarse, fruity wine. Anne Athimon has a similar character to her wines – generous and assured, she knows how to give her AOC Muscadet, Coteaux de la Loire and Coteaux d’Ancenis the right dose of minerality, the necessary freshness so that they can fulfill themselves accordingly. Anne also has produces some Coteaux d’Ancenis, supple and fruity wines with raspberry overtones. Tel.: 02 40 25 40 27.

La Chapinière vineyards

Le Domaine de la Chapinière. Florence Veilex is a new generation winemaker since 2003 and has flung herself wholeheartedly into the “Terra Vitis” label for AOC Touraine. The Hachette Guide has singled out a Voltaire blended vintage, a wine to put down made with côt, a grape from the Lot. The Côt Garnon is the pride of the estate, a powerful, round wine with flavours of violet. Florence organises ‘from vine to wine’ tours throughout July and August, together with hand grape-harvesting weekends with meals included. Book in advance.

Chateau de l’Aulée vineyard

Domaine du Château de l'Aulée. One of the most up to date properties where wine tourism is concerned. L’Aulée is the story of Marielle Henrion, a woman passionate about wine, and her husband Armand, originally from Touraine, who have run the estate since 2004. A nineteenth century estate with beautiful wine stores and a barrel cellar dating from 1874. Their wine range covers AOC Touraine Azay-Le-Rideau, Chinon, and Crément de Loire with a Brut 1856 which is 100% chenin, a vintage produced especially for the 150 years of the estate. Here, many themed visits are organised such as the Aulée Vine path visit, unaccompanied, but with an audio guide. Evening entertainment including winemaker’s meals and soirées with musical interludes and story-telling…

France > Provence

Domaine La Ferme Blanche

Domaine La Ferme Blanche. The family estate has been passed through the sons since 1714… that was until a woman finally took over the reins: Jéromine Paret is now the guardian of the 20 or so hectares on the estate, alongside her cellar master Philippe Garnier. The two blends of white wine, the Classique and the Excellence, are complemented by a surprising red wine, produced wholly from mourvèdre grapes, and a round and fruity rosé. Jéromine organises initiations to wine tasting to help you perfect your knowledge (by appointment). Quartier St Jean, RD  559.  Tél.: 04 42 01 00 74.

Château Barbeyrolle Vineyard

Domaine Château Barbeyrolle. A fine lady. Régine Sumeire, always welcoming and so engaging, is one of the most respected figures of the Mediterranean wine world. At the head of the estate since 1977, she has been instrumental in popularising rosé wine, securing its credentials. Her “rose petal” blend launched in 1985 brought her into the avant-garde of a light and fine rosé wine, starting a trend for many other producers. Her 12 hectares, pampered with care and cultivated organically, include 8 varieties of grapes, which are harvested by hand. The primary concern here is to respect the land. A quality of attention that translates into each vintage. By way of anecdote, Régine is also a passionate cook and has edited a small recipe book: “Winemaker and food lover”. 2065 Chemin de la Berle, 83 580 Gassin; Tel.: +33 4 94 56 33 58.

Château Roubine Vineyard

Domaine Château Roubine. From the tasting cellar, one can take the whole 78 hectares of vines in with just one look, all together with different shades following the light. Cultivated sustainably with some principles borrowed from biodynamic culture, harvested by hand, overnight, these vines are cherished by the team, the cellar master, and of course the owner, Valérie Rousselle, who acquired the estate in 1994. She bought the XVIIIth century Italian inspired bastide and the classified estate that came with it after falling for it.. without much knowledge of wine! A challenge she has taken on with boundless enthusiasm: the vintages are well known these days, like the Terre de Croix blend, in reference to the estate’s Templar origins, or the Inspire blend, audacious and elegant. RD 562, Lorgues. Tel.: 04 94 85 94 94.

Domaine Le Mas de la Dame

Domaine Le Mas de la Dame. One of the oldest estates in the region, which is now run by two sisters, Caroline Missoffe and Anne Poniatowski. Bought by their grandfather in 1903, the estate is located in a mountainous amphitheatre at the heart of the Alpilles mountain range and uncovers an old house, once painted by Van Gogh.. An artistic soul that is mirrored in the dramatic aspect of the landscape, made of craggy rocks, reminiscent of the Valley of Hell which inspired Dante’s Divine Comedy. A strong character that is found in the wines, with accents of the garrigue. Each blend reveals the complexity of the land, often accentuating a specific plot: for instance the Coin Caché or the Vallon des Amants, both created by the sisters. Route de Saint Rémy de Provence; 13 520 Les Baux-de-Provence; Tel.: +33 4 90 54 32 24.

Domaine Gavoty

Domaine Gavoty. These vines have been passed down 7 generations of the same family along with their expertise and love of winemaking. 42 hectares, located near the old Roman Via Aurelia that testify of their footprint in time. Today, it is their descendant, Roselyne Gavoty that has taken the helm with her husband. On this limestone ground, known for its white wine, Roselyne has been one of the pioneers in the matter of rosé wine: offering quality vintages that are complex and elegant, she has given rosé wine its credentials, previously under estimated. She does however need to remain vigilant to underline the difference between a light rosé for the aperitif and a gastronomic rosé to the consumer. Le Grand Campdumy, Route de Flassans, 83 340 Cabasse. Tel.: 04 94 69 72 39.

Castle Mentone

Château Mentone. Lost amidst the forest of the Var region, this superb estate appears such an enchanting enclave: the drive is lined with centenary plane trees, there are 30 hectares of vines stretching under the sun, a «mas provencal» in all its splendour and its modernised vaulted cellar. The beauty of that image is matched only by the level of care tended to the vines, whose culture is classified organic and biodynamic (Demeter). If a solid team manages the estate and the vintages, the owner, Marie-Pierre Caille, is also passionate about wine. A city person, she works in public relations. Marie-Pierre Caille took a 180 degree turn when she bought the estate in 2003. To ensure the place lives on, she offers tastings in the early evenings, a table d’hôte and a few refined bedrooms. 401 Chemin de Mentone. Tel.: 04 94 04 42 00.

France > Rhône Valley

Joncier’s vineyard

Joncier estate. Marine Roussel’s estate is in Tavel, but its vineyard is on the Lirac appellation area. 32 hectares planted on a plateau with large worn pebbles that draw heat in, starve the soil from nutrients and allow the roots to penetrate deeper, ideal for vines! Marine, fascinated by the texture of pebbles, is also passionate about sustainable cultivation methods and vinification, techniques that she has developed and integrated little by little. Certified Demeter in 2005, her wine is powerful and elegant. A nice discovery, the La Soumise and Le Maudit blends are classified “Vin de Pays”. The Muses, a red from the Lirac appellation is atypical. 30 126 Tavel.

Mayard’s Vineyard

Vignobles Mayard Estate. Françoise Roumieux, President of the women’s « Vignes Rhône » association, leads her estate with an « iron first in a velvet glove ». Her three Châteauneuf-du-Pape blends in red and another one in white are like velvet! Excellence is the driving word of an estate that pays tribute to the experience and skills of the Mayard family, whose fifth generation is represented by Françoise. The Clos du Calvaire blend, her grandfather’s former estate, one of the first men to “bottle” his own wine, produces a wine that is pure with a majority of Grenache grapes, supple, simple and round. Another blend, the « Domaine du Père Pape » in memory of Maurice, her father, is made from vines grown at the site of the « Grand Goulet » : a robust, warm wine that stands out with aromas of crushed dark fruit, cocoa and spices. The site of the Crau located 100 meters above sea level on large pebbles belonged to Marie-Louise, the grandmother. The Le Crau de Ma Mère blend produced from those grapes was chosen by the artist Michel Barcelo for his exhibition in Avignon. A special edition whose label is signed by the artist is on Tasted magazine’s Top 100 list.

Domaine La Fourmone

La Fourmone Estate. Ever since the establishment of the estate in 1765, Marie-Thérèse Combe and her son Albin have carried on the traditional work of winegrowers producing Vacqueyras and Gigondas with the 13 grape varieties, a safe bet ! It’s the land that makes the difference. The Gigondas, in terraces on clay-limestone hillsides, produces a wine that is tannic and spicy. With the Vacqueyras, planted in the plain on a light and sandy soil, we come onto violet and red fruit. The Trésor du Poète blend, in honour of the provençal poet Mistral, has been carefully crafted from grenache and syrah grapes with strong notes of red fruits. a été soigneusement élaborée à partir de grenache et syrah très orientée sur le fruit rouge. Very discreet, the Cigalou blend reflects its land, that of olive trees and resinous laurel and thyme plants, another poem to savour !

Quatre Filles Castle

Château les Quatre Filles. Nicole and her three sisters Sophie, Régine and Martine ; the choice of name is not haphazard as the ladies are in the majority at the château. A vineyard whose first acts go back to 1715. The 45 hectares converted into organic farming produce a majority of red Côtes-du-Rhône wine. The range includes other AOC wines such as the Cairanne Villages and Rochegude Villages, a blend of grenache and syrah and a white Côtes-du-Rhône blanc matured in oak barrels, perfect for an aperitif. Bookings are taken for meals at the château with a visit of the wine stores and tastings all year round. Route de Lagarde Paréol. Tel.: 04 90 30 84 12

Domaine de la Présidente

La Présidente estate. Named after the President of the parliament in Aix in the XVIIIth century and a former owner. His wife, Lucrèce, known as “La Présidente”, had vines planted around it. Declared property of state during the Revolution, it was acquired in 1968 by Max Auber, the founder of the University of Wine at Suze-La-Rousse. Cécile Aubert presides today over her estate’s destiny with its 110 hectares. Côtes-du-Rhône, Cairanne and Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines. The tasting cellar is open all year round.

Redortier Castle

Château Redortier.The Château de Mon Père vintage 2010 was awarded gold and silver at the Concours Général Agricole in Paris. After tasting it, Robert Parker gave it 90/92. Sabine de Menthon and Isabelle have been running the 35 hectare estate for 20 years with two blends in Gigondas and Beaumes-de-Venise. They created this blend especially, in memory of their grandfather: François de Menthon who was Justice Minister for the provisional government after the Liberation. It is only natural that this Gigondas is robust and colourful, an explosion of blackcurrant and spices. The cellar « La Grange de Redortier » is located at the heart of the village and proposes carefully selected local produce alongside the estate’s wines. Tel.: 04 90 62 96 43.

Domaine Michelas-St Jemms

Michelas-St Jemms estate. Located on what used to be the land of the Marquis of Mercural in the Middle-Ages, the history of the estate, established in 1961, is closely linked to the development of Crozes Hermitage. The bottling process dates from 1970 and it is Sylvie Chevrol Michelas with all her family Corinne, Florent and Sebastien who have been running the estate ever since. Their Crozes Hermitage 2008 vintage, La Chasselière, a very aromatic wine with smoky notes, is the Guide Hachette 2011’s favourite pick. Our own favourite is the Saint-Joseph Sainte Epine 100% marsanne white, round, fat and floral with subtle aromas of blackcurrant, delicious with goat’s cheese. Tastings of wine and regional produce at the cellar.

Domaine Saladin

Saladin Estate. Marie Laurence Saladin, member of « Femmes Vignes Rhône », runs the estate with her sister Elisabeth, a charming and effective duo. The estate has been passed down generations since 1422. The origin of the name is thought to hail from the era of Sultan Saladin. The historic cellar of the Saladin family is located at the heart of the village within the old castle. The 18 hectares and their 13 grape varieties are cultivated organically and harvested by hand, a tradition on the estate. Marie-Laurence and Elisabeth produced their first vintage in 2003. Ever since, their collection of Côtes du Rhône Villages and Côtes du Rhône, has grown with the addition of new blends, including a rosé « Tralala ! », a white « Per Èl » and a red « Loï » , natural wines with accents of the land. Visits of the estate and cellar by appointment.

France > Savoie

Domaine de Ripaille

Domaine de Ripaille. The vineyard's 22 hectares of land dates back to the Middle Ages and according to legend was greatly appreciated by the Dukes of Savoy. Today, owner and winemaker Paule Necker oversees the are Ripaille vineyard. It is a specialized, chic property and was given the first QOC classification for their Vin de Savoie in 1973. Produced from the grape Chasselas, it has a fresh, fruity nose with aromas of violets and honey. On sale at Domain. Tel : 04 50 71 75 12.

Domaine Cellier du Palais

Domaine Cellier du Palais. The estate, owned by the Bernard family since 1700, sits on 7 hectares of land covered with cherry, almond, fig and cicadas tress. Beatrice Bernard, the sole winemaker in Apremont, has created a signature blend utilizing the fresh aromas of the terroir - white flowers and exotic fruit. The Cuvée Vieilles Vignes Apremont, made using 80 year old vines, is full-bodied and has a seductive nose, with subtle aromas of peach and apricot.

Les Fils de René Quénard

Les Fils de René Quénard. Claire Taittinger, of the famous Champagne house, has traded bubbles for Savoie whites when in 2008 she took on the role of manager for Les Fils de René Quénard. Clare has brought glamour and prestige to this Chignan-Bergeron estate whose 2009 Bergeronette vintage is a golden white wine made from the roussane variety. The nose is lingering and sweet with soft aromas of acacia and almond.

France > South West

Château Flotis

Château Flotis. Le trio de choc et de charme Cathy Ribes, déjà vigneronne au Domaine de Roc, Myriam Ribes et Katia Garouste se sont associées pour acquérir et exploiter en 2004 le domaine. Une demeure du XIXe siècle avec 28 hectares de vignes, chais de stockage et de vinification. Conversion agriculture biologique depuis 2009 avec la particularité de mettre des moutons dans les vignes en hiver, le résultat de leur travail a donné quelques belles petites cuvées. La cuvée L, un vin au féminin en rosé et rouge, est ample et savoureuse, fruits et épices pleine de séduction. La Sy Noire 100% syrah sortira en bio pour le prochain millésime. Visite et dégustation sur rendez vous.

Château Caze

Château Caze. La maison est dans le village et les vignes derrière. On entre de plain-pied dans un superbe chai avec la cave du XVIIIe siècle où les vins sont élevés avec soin par Martine Rougevin Baville la 7e descendante d’Antoine Caze. Des vins généreux élaborés avec du cépage négrette additionné de cabernet franc, sauvignon et syrah. Outre les visites et dégustation, chaque année des événements rythment la vie du domaine en particulier en Juillet un festival Musique en Vigne de grande qualité très apprécié des mélomanes. Tel : 05 61 82 92 70.

Les Hauts d’Aglan

Les Hauts d'Aglan. A vineyard passed down from mother to daughter. A passionate wine maker, Isabelle Rey Auriat is part of the fifth generation. On the right bank, the 14 hectares of vineyards are exposed on the hillsides and the highest terraces, on clay and limestone soil, a hard red earth. No wood, just rough concrete casks, as the tradition dictates, along with some stainless steel casks to be able to listen to the wine, a return to convention. The cuvée A from 2005, top of the range, was awarded a well-deserved gold medal.

Jurque Castle

Château de Jurque. A story of father and daughter. Pierre-Yves Latrille, an agricultural engineer, acquired the property in 1959 with 40 hectares of uncultivated land. He started with just 11 hectares of vines planted with petit and gros manseng grapes and has almost 36 hectares today. It is in 1999 that Marion, having obtained her degree in viti-oenology, came to work with her father. She waited until the day of the Epiphany to harvest the late gros manseng and saved the vineyard from a storm. Her vines thus saved from flooding and the vintage produced, Marion names it Epiphany. Opulent, with fine notes of candied fruit, its amber coloured wine is a real success. “If our wines were put to music, a harp would pick up on their fluidity and simplicity, a double bass would set the rhythm and bring out their fabric, and finally a deep and powerful voice would portray their volume and breath.” Marion is an artist. Visits and tastings by appointment.

Château de Terride

Château de Terride. L’histoire de la famille de Terride remonte au roi Saint Louis. Au milieu d’une forêt, cet ancien relais de chasse à courre aborda la viticulture dans les années 60. C’est en 96 que Jean-Paul et Solange David issus d’une longue lignée de vignerons gaillacois achetèrent le château sur un coup de cœur. Le château restauré et la vigne ressuscitée dans un magnifique paysage le vignoble de 40 hectares au milieu des bois est surnommé « la petite Toscane ». Leur fille Alix œnologue aidé de son frère Xavier reprend aujourd’hui le flambeau. Un palais de femme, une exigence pour des vins de caractère et d’élégance, le fruit de son travail se révèle dans la cuvée d’origine Du Château et La Diva. La cuvée fleuron du domaine en rouge et blanc doux qui a été réalisée à partir d’une sélection de vielles parcelles.

Etxegaraya Estate

Etxegaraya Estate. At the foot of the Jara, in a small valley, Marienna Hillau cultivates seven hectares of stepped vines on the side of a steep mountainside. The first plots, old vines of tannât variety, date from 1850. In the middle of a river of vines, the estate with its XIXth century Basque house produces four cuvées. A rosé and three reds with tannât grapes that Marianna blends with cabernet franc and sauvignon grapes. The Etxegaraya blend (the house of above) and the Lehengoa blend (In times gone by) are reds that are straight and full of character in line with the spirit of the region. The rosé, Aitaina, a vibrant wine, created in memory of her father. Visits and tastings from Monday to Saturday. Tel.: +33 5 59 37 23 76.

Domaine de la Pineraie

Domaine de la Pineraie. An estate traditionally run by men, where two sisters, wine makers and oenologists, Emmanuelle and Anne Burc, took over the business, injecting their expertise and at the same time respecting the good sense of their forebears. Tel.: +33 (0)5 65 30 82 07

Lebanon > North region

Coteaux Vineyard

Coteaux de Botrys. Neila Bitar was enrolled at the Arts and Crafts School in Germany when her father, General Joseph Bitar, decided in 1998 to pursue his dream: become a winegrower. His four daughters watched over the venture with affection, not yet knowing they were destined to take over when their father passes away a few years later. A father who will forever look over the Bothrys vineyards that Neila cares for. Is it difficult to be a woman in the wine industry? The answer is simple. No, not in Lebanon, Neila Bitar says so with the hint of a smile. Does she ever go back to her first passion, interior design and architecture? Of course, from December to March, when the vines don’t need her, Neila travels and takes in culture and art from all the places she visits before returning to her vines; “the vineyard closest to the sea in the whole of Lebanon” as she would proudly point out. A truly magical place.