Women In Wine

“L’Imperatrice” means “empress” in French, and it refers to the famous Empress Eugenie, Queen of Emperor Napoleon III. She was a model of elegance and fine taste in France. The empress considerably helped the development of luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, and later impulsed the 1855 Grand Cru classification. Our company name is a tribute to the history of wine and stands for our main focus : fine wines.

Today’s 8th March, 2022 and we celebrate International Women’s Day. We are delighted to see that many extraordinary female counterparts have taken up the roles as entrepreneurs, pioneers and successors in the wine industry that inspires more and more young females into the field each and every single day. Also local female partners in wine industry are striking. Therefore, in the following weeks, we would love to share some outstanding female winemakers and producers from our portfolio with you as a tribute paid to all these visionary females. Before that, cheers to a happy International Women’s Day 2022!

L’Imperatrice team has been talking with some female producers and local female partners to share their vision of the wine industry, we will arrange their stories on our social media and website, follow us to stay updated! Facebook & Instagram: @imperatricewine.

1. Domaine Dubreuil Fontaine

Located in a small village of Pernand-Vergelesses, Côte de Beaune, Domaine Dubreuil Fontaine has been a family-run Domaine with 50 acres of vineyards since 1879. With a wide range of 22 appellations such as Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru, Pernand-Vergelesses, Aloxe-Corton and Pommard, the Domaine is now operated and managed by Christine Dubreuil, the 5th generation, for the last 30 years and still counting. Christine is also a member of “Femmes et Vins de Bourgogne”, an association that allows women in the wine business to benefit each other by exchanging ideas and offering mutual supports. In 2019, Clementine Dubreuil, the daughter of Christine Dubreuil, joined this estate which is 140 years old already. By adopting environmental-friendly cultivating methods, they are able to produce a rich and healthy harvest while ensuring the sustainability of the soils.

2. Domaine du Cayron

The one and only Faraud sisters — from left Delphine, Roseline and Cendrine — they are the fifth generation to run this historic 40-acre estate Domaine du Cayron producing the finest wines in Gigondas. 

As a family-run business since 1840, they adopt the idea of “one domaine, one wine” — all grapes are harvested from 60+ year old vines and made into a single cuvée. The fermentation is conducted inside concrete tanks, before ageing for 2 years  in foudres made 50 years ago. One uniqueness of the wines made here is that the aromas and flavours give the note of garrigue, a mix of herbs growing wild in the south of France. 

As women in the wine business, the Faraud sisters take up multiple roles — Dephine, the eldest, is responsible for sales, accounting and client relations while Cendrine and the youngest Roseline, combine their knowledge and savoir-faire together for wine production in traditional methods.

 

3. Champagne Pierre Baillette

From being forbidden from the wine cellar to becoming the female winemaker of the family label, this is a real story based on Périne Chartogne from Pierre Baillette. Like many children born and raised in a wine family, Périne got in touch with wine ever since she was just a little girl. Until the birth of her second child in 2004, Périne decided to come home and pick up the family business. To do so, she picked up her winemaking knowledge in Avize. 

Les Malachets, one of the parcels operated by the label, was planted on the 6th of May 1956. In 52 years, most of the wines were sold in barrels to negociant or private customers. When Périne was a child, she was not allowed to access the wine cellar. It was something usual in old time. Time has changed. With her first vintage in 2008, Périne gained her recognition for the tradition and work for this family label, especially to her father and grandfather. As a tribute, the label is still named after Pierre Baillette, while Périne signs her name by the bottom of the label.

Winemaking appears to be a skill-driven industry, and Périne thinks women are able to bring sensitivity to winemaking, as her ultimate goal is to produce a bottle of champagne that really translate her personality while sharing her emotions with wine enthusiasts.

 

Local Striking Female partners

1. A&T HK Wines Ltd

“I just love wine, thus I started this business!”, says the founder of A&T HK Wines Ltd, Miss Che. From being a wine enthusiast to becoming an entrepreneur in the wine industry, it is a trailblazing journey in this male-dominated field. 

Originally working in a wine trading company, Miss Che started to absorb all rounded knowledge about what is a good wine, how to enjoy a wine, etc. Experience and enthusiasm towards wine drived Miss Che to start her own wine business in 2013. 

“I don’t think the wine industry is so different from any other male-dominated industry. I’m proud to be a woman diversifying this industry. People might think women are soft in dealing business. Actually the softness we use well in some certain aspects like better communication and more approachable attitude make the deal even smoother.” Having the opportunity to start a business wine industry has been life changing. By showing her own ability and strength, Miss Che embraces it as an opportunity to face challenges head on.

2. Louise Restaurant

Please meet Kamonchat Waiyakan, Head Sommelier at Louise, and she is one of our striking female counterparts in the local wine industry. 

“Grew up in France. Wine is your philosophy.” Kamonchat recalled that her grandparents would always bring wines for celebrating special occasions and everyday family gatherings. Come in handy — this planted the seed in her heart and got her curious about wine. Upon studying at a hospitality school, she got to learn more about wines from all over the world. Turning knowledge from textbooks into actual practice, she gained first hand experience from working as a sommelier ever since her first year of the school. 

“As females, we have less ego in front of the wines. We describe and appreciate how the wine is itself.” Kamonchat remarked. Also, she reckoned that females can bring more sensibility to wine, in terms of the flavours and the nature. As the Head Sommelier, she is deeply overwhelmed with the boundless sea of wine knowledge and possibilities — there is always something new in the market. However, what is important is to be passionate about wine. Listen to people’s thoughts and ideas. This is also the key to her leadership as a female leader to her sommelier team. 

With 6 years (2016-2021) of working experience in Switzerland and her curiosity about wines from all parts of the world, she is excited to have Louise as an entry point to explore the wine market in Asia and get to connect with local drinks. Also, she is thrilled to see that local wine drinkers are open minded and willing to taste different kinds of wines, from old world classics to new world rising stars. What’s the best moment of being a sommelier? Kamonchat smiled and said, “it’s when I visited the winegrowers in their cellar. I went inside the cellar and talked to them. When I came out, it was already midnight. It felt like only 10 minutes. The joy of wine made us forget the passing of time. It’s the beauty I found in my wine path.” “When we open a bottle of wine, we know the vintage, the conditions…” when it comes to wine, she just could not stop talking about it. This is Kamonchat Waiyakan, Head Sommelier at Louise.