Cellar Talk with Françoise Gazeau
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Honoring Women in Wine:
Gazeau on beginning anew every day and seeing the glass half full
Interviewed by Elizabeth Smith
1. How did you get your start in wine?
I am a sixth-generation winemaker at Maison Antech, Domaine de Flassian, in Limoux, France. After years traveling around the world, I joined the Domaine in 1996. I was so fortunate to work with my father and uncle for 20 years. They shared with me their know-how and gave me the freedom to run the Domaine in my own way!
2. Where are you in your career now?
After 25 years of hard work, I still feel every morning as if I were a total beginner. Nature gives us different grapes every year, so we must approach every vintage as if were the first! Having background and experience, I am more confident in exploring new horizons and creating new cuvées, inspired by our terroir and the ideas I brought home with me after my travels around the wine world.
3. How do Naked Angels empower you as a winemaker?
With their positive and enthusiast comments, Naked Angels have pushed us to give our absolute best in the vineyard and the cellar, even during tough times! Knowing our bubbles will be there when they celebrate happy moments is an inexhaustible source of motivation!
4. What’s a BIG lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Life looks always much better if you see the glass half full and remember that after the dark always comes the light!
5. What’s the message you have for other women winemakers?
Don’t be afraid, go for it! Yes, you can!
6. What is your big hope for women in wine in the future?
I hope women will have enough self-confidence to believe they can be winemakers, respect the terroir, and create unbelievably good wines.
Lastly – is there a women’s empowerment organization or cause you support or would like to?
I am a founding member of Vinifilles (Wine Girls), an association of 21 women winemakers from the south of France, whose purpose is to share our expertise, preserve our land in a sustainable way, and share the culture of wine, conviviality, and gastronomy.
Over the years we have become friends, sharing both happy and tough moments. Vinifilles is our chosen family. Be careful, should our paths cross, we Vinifilles drink, eat, and laugh out loud!
Elizabeth Smith is a freelance wine, food, and travel journalist well as a communications and social media specialist based in the Napa Valley.