Producer Focus: Françoise Bedel

If there was a Mother Goose of Champagne, Françoise Bedel would be it. She is not only an iconic female Champagne producer but also a forerunner of biodynamic Champagne production. When she is around, you can feel the beams of respect from all the other Champagne producers in the room. When she speaks, they listen.

Her journey hasn’t always been easy. When her son Vincent was young, he was diagnosed with a grave illness. Françoise travelled far and beyond to find the right medical attention he needed but was always faced with setbacks. She was eventually introduced to a holistic doctor and through natural medicine, they were able to return Vincent to health. Since then, Françoise has vowed to return the favour to Mother Nature and implement her holistic beliefs into her work. In 1998, she become officially biodynamic. Françoise believes that, “We do not inherit this land from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.”

Domaine Francoise Bedel was originally only a farm selling grapes to large negotiants. In 1979, Françoise took over from her parents and become the first generation to produce Champagne from their own land. The estate is comprised of 8.4 hectares with vines ranging from 20 to 60 years of age. They are located in the Marne Valley, and thus concentrated with Pinot Meunier. Their style is long lees ageing, regardless of whether it is vintage or non-vintage. All cuvees go through at least 36 months on the lees in the cellars but more often than not, Francoise doesn’t release her wines sooner than 5 years. Her wines are always pure, assertive and often with a slight oxidation. They are some of the finest expressions of Pinot Meunier.

Since 2003, Vincent has slowly been taken over his mother’s role in the family business. Although semi-retired, you will still see Françoise in the vineyards and over the shoulder of Vincent in the cellars. These are truly Champagnes of love and family.

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