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Women-Led Champagne Houses to Celebrate this International Women’s Day

Women-Led Champagne Houses to Celebrate this International Women’s Day

women-led champagne houses

It’s mind-blowing to think that a region of a mere 84,000 acres (34,200 hectares) can have such a strong hold on wine enthusiasts. The distinctive chalky limestone soils and mysterious underground tunnels add to the allure. But like many wine regions, it’s typically been a “man’s touch” when creating renowned house styles or shaping a vintage. That said, a quiet revolution is underway. Women-led Champagne houses are becoming increasingly common, with strong female forces reshaping the industry and leaving an indelible mark on the golden bubbles we all cherish. 

To compare, 84,000 acres is equivalent to how much land the U.S. government returned to the Ute American Indian Tribe in 2000. It’s only slightly larger than California wine country’s Glass Fire of 2020, which destroyed over 1,500 structures across 67,000 acres. In Champagne, 84,000 acres are cozy quarters for 16,200 growers, 130 cooperatives, and 370 Champagne houses. 

According to some reports, only 10% of the area’s producers have women winemakers, a trailing distance behind regions like Rias Baixas in Spain, which says 50% of its winemaking happens by women, or Australia, where women hold more than 25% of grape-growing roles. 

Further comparisons, albeit somewhat arbitrary, show that women unjustly have a single day of celebration (International Women’s Day is March 8th of each year), while the bubbly beverage has two: Global Champagne Day on October 25th and National Champagne Day on New Year’s Eve. 

It’s time to celebrate the wave of female forces taking the reins of one of the world’s most iconic wine regions, the women in leadership roles who challenge preconceived notions.

Women on Top at Champagne Laurent-Perrier

Champagne’s history is centuries old, with women assuming leadership roles typically only after the death of a male family member, as was the case with Champagne Laurent-Perrier

“Our history of remarkable women begins [in 1887] with our house’s namesake, Mathilde-Émilie Laurent-Perrier,” says Michelle DeFeo, president of Laurent-Perrier US. Following a cellar accident that killed owner and cellarmaster Eugene Laurent, Mathilde-Émilie took over, and “the house flourished under her leadership.”

Following her death in 1925, Mathilde-Émilie left the company to her daughter, Eugenie, who sold it to another woman, Marie Louise Lanson de Nonancourt, in 1939. Her son, Bernard, led the company for over half a century. Today, his daughters, Stephanie and Alexandra, are co-CEOs, and his granddaughter, Lucie, works on Laurent-Perrier’s Grand Siècle team, reporting to the chef de caves

While having a woman at the top in Champagne is somewhat “old hat” for Laurent-Perrier, the trickle-down effect has allowed change for Champagne and its subsidiaries. DeFeo explains, “Over that last decade, we’ve implemented many changes driven by women on our team: a strong CSR (corporate social responsibility) program, scholarships for women and BIPOC, parental leave policies, and support for mothers, including covering the cost of shipping breast milk home when traveling for work.” 

DeFeo maintains these changes have been good for business, as they’ve helped attract and retain top talent. “Research shows that companies with a high proportion of women tend to be stronger over time.” 

That strength is apparent as part of its internal company culture, but also externally as it vies for market share. “Women are the primary purchasers of Champagne in the U.S., so it stands to reason that having women well represented in our company would lead to better insight into how our wines should be presented in the market,” DeFeo says.

A Growing Wave of Women

The goal of having women in positions of power may initially seem individualistic per the ideals of respective Champagne houses. However, can it be called a movement if it weren’t for broader support? We’re talking about women supporting women, after all. 

La Transmission stands as a beacon of empowerment and a testament to the commitment to more women-led Champagne houses. Founded in 2016 by Anne Malassagne (formerly of AR Lenoble) and Maggie Henriquez (president of Krug until 2022), this unique collective of nine women represents a confluence of talent, tradition, and a commitment to propelling women to the forefront of the sparkling wine world and breaking the gender barriers entrenched in the wine industry. 

“Our respective stories must be able to convince the women around the world who are passionate about Champagne that there is a place for each of them,” says Charline Drappier of Champagne Drappier on the group’s website. 

Comprising a diverse array of women, La Transmission unites all facets of the region. Chantal Gonet, co-owner of Champagne Philippe Gonet, explains. “Our differences are the main asset of our association. We have different profiles: President of an independent house or one belonging to a group, a winegrower in daily contact with the vineyard, one more oriented towards communication and marketing, another versatile or more expert, in action or reflection, with live experiences mostly in Champagne or more abroad. This diversity is our strongest point and leads us to focus on our approaches and struggles differently, allowing us to transmit all the diverse facets of Champagne.”

In an industry where terroir expression and winemaking nuances are paramount, La Transmission has proven that diversity catalyzes excellence. The collective inspires future generations, including Lucie of Laurent-Perrier, who “will soon be joining La Transmission,” according to DeFeo. 

Women-Led Champagne Houses

Given the continuous ebbs and flows of the wine industry, compiling an exhaustive list of women-led Champagne houses would be nearly impossible. If you know of any that are not on this list, please get in touch with so we can add them.

  • A. Margaine: Mathilde Margraine, Fifth-Generation Grower
  • Abelé 1757: Marie Gicquel, Managing Director
  • Albert Beerens: Anne-Laure Beerens, Managing Director
  • André Jacquard: Marie Doyard, Fifth-Generation Grower
  • Aurore Casanova: Aurore Casanova, Co-Owner
  • Baillette-Prudhomme: Laureen Baillette, Head Vigneron
  • Barrat-Masson: Aurélie Masson, Oenologist
  • Beaugrand: Hélène Beaugrand, Vigneron
  • Besserat de Bellefon: Nathalie Doucet, President (La Transmission member)
  • Bissinger & C° (Vranken-Pommery Monopole): Nathalie Vranken, Managing Director
  • Boizel: Evelyne Boizel, President (La Transmission member)
  • Bonnevie-Bocart: Mathilde Devarenne, Vigneron
  • Bruno Paillard: Alice Paillard, Managing Director (La Transmission member)
  • Caillez-Lemaire: Virginie Vanpoperingh, Co-Vigneron
  • Castelnau: Carine Bailleul, Cellar Master
  • Chanoine Tsarine: Isabelle Tellier, Cellar Master
  • Charles Mignon: Manon Mignon, Managing Director
  • Charles Heidsieck: Elise Losfelt, Cellar Master
  • Charles Lafitte: Celine Gasco, Cellar Master
  • Claude Cazals: Delphine Cazals, Managing Director (La Transmission member)
  • Corbon: Agnès Corbon, Vigneron
  • Cristian Senez: Marion Roger, Co-Director
  • De Sloovere-Pienne: Emeline & Chantal De Sloovere-Pienne (Mother & Daughter), Vignerons
  • De Sousa: Charlotte De Sousa, Co-Director
  • De Venoge: Isabelle Tellier, Cellar Master
  • Deutz: Caroline Latrive, Cellar Master
  • Diebolt-Vallois: Nadia Vallois, Co-Owner
  • Dom Pérignon: Sibylle Scherer, CEO
  • Drappier: Charline Drappier, Co-Owner & Commercial Director (La Transmission member)
  • Duval Leroy: Sandrine Logette-Jardin, Cellar Master
  • Elise Bougy: Elise Bougy, Vigneron
  • Elise Godin: Elise Godin, Vigneron
  • Eugene Ralle: Nathalie Arnould, Cellar Master
  • Francis Boulard et Fille: Delphine Boulard, Vigneron
  • Gaidoz-Forget: Bertille Gaidoz, Vigneron
  • Gardet: Stephanie Sucheyre, Cellar Master
  • Gosset: Gabrielle Malagu, Cellar Master
  • Gremillet: Anne Gremillet, Managing Director
  • Guy Méa: Sophie Moussié, Co-Owner
  • H. Billiot et Fils: Laetitia Billiot, Managing Director
  • Henriot: Alice Tétienne, Cellar Master
  • J. de Telmont: Charlotte Eschbach, Cellar Master
  • J. Lassalle: Angéline Templier, Vigneron (La Transmission member)
  • Jacques Picard: Sylvie and Corinne Picard, Co-Owners
  • Joseph Perrier: Nathalie Laplaige, Cellar Master
  • Krug: Julie Cavil, Cellar Master
  • Laurent-Perrier: Alexandra Pereyre & Stéphanie Meneux de Nonancourt, Co-CEOs
  • Le Gallais: Charlotte Morgain Le Gallais, Vigneron
  • Leclerc Briant: Denise Dupré, Co-Owner
  • Louise Brison: Delphine Brulez, Agricultural Engineer and Oenologist
  • Louis Massing: Estelle Moroy, Co-Owner
  • Lucien Collard: Auriane Denis, Managing Director
  • Marie Copinet: Marie-Laure Copinet, Co-Owner
  • Marie Courtin: Dominique Moreau, Vigneron
  • Marie Stuart: Isabelle Mary, Cellar Master
  • Marion-Bosser: Elodie Bosser, Vigneron
  • Maxime Blin: Claire Blin, Co-Owner
  • Mercier: Sibylle Scherer, CEO
  • Moët & Chandon: Sibylle Scherer, CEO
  • Nathalie Falmet: Nathalie Falmet, Winegrower & Oenologist
  • Perrier-Jouët: Séverine Frerson, Cellar Master
  • Philippe Gonet: Chantal Gonet, Co-Owner (La Transmission member)
  • Piot-Sévillano: Christine Sévillano, Co-Owner
  • Ployez-Jacquemart: Laurence Ployez, Cellar Master
  • Pol Roger: Véronique Collard de Billy, President
  • Pommery: Nathalie Vranken, CEO
  • R. Bourdelois: Audrey Renoir, Vigneron
  • Soutiran: Valérie Soutiran, President
  • Tarlant: Mélanie Tarlant, Vigneron (La Transmission member)
  • Taittinger: Vitalie Taittinger, President (La Transmission member)
  • Thiénot: Garance Thiénot, Managing Director
  • Veuve Olivier et Fils: Sandrine Charpentier-Olivier, Managing Director

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