I am ashamed to admit this, but I never truly appreciated how strong and amazing my mother is until I became a mother myself. Don’t get me wrong, I always admire my mother, her positive attitude to life, her never-ending energy, her warmth to all those around her, and the kindness that she showed - not just her family - but to everyone else that may be lucky to cross her path. However, it wasn’t until I had a daughter myself that I truly understood the strength, courage and will power it takes to become a mother.
I count myself incredibly lucky to be a woman and to be able to experience challenges in life that I know will make me a stronger and better person. Having my daughter, Shea, has been the greatest mountain that I’ve ever had to climb. Adapting to a complete change in life where I found myself reluctantly rethinking, reevaluating, and putting aside my career and all I have worked so hard to achieve for a moment. It became physically impossible to work the 16 hour days on the floor anymore. I couldn’t go to restaurant openings when I wanted, hop on a place to go on a wine trip when I wanted, or even go to the toilet when I wanted. I didn’t know, and I am still figuring out, how to balance it all and still be the great role model I want my daughter to have.
There are some amazing women and mothers out there that have gone through exactly what I have, and have come out more ferocious and better than they were. Seeing these women, has always given me the fire. That “Yes, I can do it as well!”.
So for Mother’s Day and International Women Month, I have selected a couple of strong female wine producers that are also mothers, working in a mainly male dominated industry, that have always inspired me - and their wines are delicious to drink!
Francoise Bedel’s son, Vincent, was a very sick child when he was young. He went through numerous doctors and different medications, but they couldn’t find a cure for him. Francoise never gave up, so she searched and travelled, determined to help her son become the strong and healthy boy that he deserved to be. Finally, she stumbled across homeotherapy and through natural medication and healing, Vincent slowly overcame his illness. Since then, Francoise has dedicated her life and her vineyard to giving back to mother nature for what mother nature has given her. Now Vincent stands proudly by Francoise, ready to take over the next generation of winemaking in the family business.
Dominique Moreau is a tiny little woman with the strongest hands I have ever seen. She has named her domaine 'Marie Courtin', after her grandmother who she calls “Woman of the Earth”. Dominique’s husband’s family also runs a family Champagne Estate, however her passion and determination for biodynamic application motivated her to start her own tiny estate. In her 2.5 hectare vineyard, she works her own land, and in the winery she applies her minimalist approach to winemaking. Letting the earth and nature take its course, she is merely the translator. Her daughter, Jeanne, who I had the pleasure of meeting when she worked with us at bubbledogs a few years back, has now started her own wine label from a small plot of land in Burgundy given to her by her mother for her 21st birthday.
Of course, let’s not forget the other wonderful women in the Champagne world that have inspired me. I believe behind every great Champagne, there is a great woman! Melanie Tarlant is the energy and support alongside her brother at Champagne Tartant. Valerie Frison from Champagne Frison single handedly, after a divorce, came out stronger and better than ever. And, let’s not forget the wives (boy do I know what it’s like!): Marie from Olivier Horiot, Clémence from Jeaunaux-Robin, Orianne from JM Seleque, Pauline from Bereche & Fils, Agnés from La Closerie, and Benedicte from Champagne Pouillon just to name a few of many, are all mothers, vineyard helpers, winery consultants, and business confidants.
Finally, let’s not forget the wonderful and supportive men in our lives. My mother wouldn’t have been there to give me and my brother all the after school snacks, home-cooked meals and hand sewn clothes if it wasn’t for my hardworking and supportive father. I wouldn’t have made it this far without the constant “chef style” motivation from my husband. And I also wouldn’t have been able to live in England without the support of my older brother who stayed close by and helps me look after our parents.
So happy Mother’s Day and happy International Women's Month to all you strong and brave women out there. And thank you to the fathers, brothers, husbands and friends that have helped us get this far.
With all my love,