The number of female chefs in France has been growing rapidly over the past few years, and while this is not yet a perfect balance (far from it), we can only be delighted with this trend. We are also seeing more and more 100% women's initiatives in the restaurant industry. For example, Hélène Darroze's latest restaurant, Joia, has a 100% female menu! And precisely, the establishment L'Échiquier of the MGallery hotel chain (Accor Group) recently contacted us to create a wine list by the glass that is 100% Female Winemakers! A challenge that we obviously loved!
The L'Échiquier MGallery Opéra hotel located in Paris is a building with a strong history. Former hunting lodge of King Henri IV and hotel since 1857, it retains the charm of the Roaring Twenties with a pronounced art deco style. This 4-star hotel relies on a high quality service turned towards its customers and more particularly its female guests with notably the "Inspired by Her" offer, a unique initiative in the luxury and high-end hotel industry, launched in 2014. Quentin Rigal wants "to be accompanied by a single supplier to create a 100% wine list that highlights female producers while maintaining flexible stock management"
In September, Quentin Rigal challenged Emma [Les Grappes wine expert] to create a 100% female winemaker wine list by the glass. With Emma's help, he was able to find, among the 900 winegrowers of Les Grappes, several estates with great stories and mostly managed by women.
"Working with independent winemakers that you can't find in the local supermarket is the basis of our business, in my opinion.
Quentin has always had a personal interest in wine and this is reflected in his day-to-day work "I like to discover new things and not stay with the classics and the established. I wanted to go beyond what is usually found on the tables by offering my customers small innovative gems".
Finally on the menu of the Echiquier we find 7 wine makers with very beautiful stories, such as :
Miss Vicky Wine - Anne-Victoire Monrozier - Beaujolais Fleurie Mâcon :
Anne-Victoire made a name for herself by creating one of the most popular wine blogs: "Miss Vicky Wine". She is also the founder of the Vinocamp trade show (already 20 editions!). We sometimes forget that this hyper-active woman of the wine world is above all the brilliant winemaker of Château des Moriers in the Beaujolais.
Céline Gueguen (Domaine Gueguen - Bourgogne Chablis, Iracy):
Céline is the daughter of a living legend of Burgundy: Jean-Marc Brocard, whose Chablis wines are known and admired by all wine lovers. After working for 13 years at the family estate, she took flight and settled in Chablis, too, without ever blushing at the comparison!
Véronique Smati (Domaine de Lionne - Bordeaux Graves):
Véronique is a self-taught winemaker who relaunched in 2007 an estate that had been abandoned for 2 years. She has been an active member of Women do Wine for several years, an associationthathighlights women (winemakers, sommeliers, cellarmen, wine enthusiasts, journalists, etc.) who are under-represented in the media in the wine world.
Amélie Neau (Domain des Nerleux - Loire: Saumur-Champigny):
In the Neau Family since 1870, the estate had passed from father to son for 9 generations. In 2010, after Eugène, Robert and Régis, it is finally a woman, Amélie (daughter of Régis) who takes the reins!
For its wine list, L'Echiquier wanted to break away from the classic customer/supplier relationship: not to be "considered as just a number". With Emma, who accompanies them on a daily basis and is in direct contact with the winegrowers, this was possible. "There is a real exchange!".
Les Grappes also accompanies and advises in the presentation of the selection of winemakers both on the wine list and in the speech of the teams. Several training sessions for the hotel teams are planned to understand the specificities of each wine and especially to tell the beautiful stories of these women winemakers!
"Being able to order all my wines from a single platform at any time and being delivered in 3 days is really a luxury".
The other issue for Quentin concerned the storage of his wines. Like many restaurant owners, he confided to us, but in Paris even more so, where the price per square meter is exorbitant, storage space is limited.
With Les Grappes, Quentin is satisfied to be able to order small quantities and to keep his stock alive from day to day by ordering the vintages he needs at the last moment."When I order, it's because I'm at the limit of my stock and I need it quickly". Finally, with the stock comesthe whole issue of logistics and administration. Working with direct harvesters, this can be complicated: "I realised that it was difficult because you have to follow up, and the winegrowers don't necessarily have the time, the means or the structure to do this. With Les Grappes, as everything is listed from a single platform, it simplifies management enormously.
"43% of "business" travellers are women, and women make 75% of decisions regarding "leisure" trips. We had to take this new clientele into account and offer them special services and attention.
Female guests are satisfied with all the attention the hotel pays to them, even going so far as to offer a 100% wine list by the glass. Indeed, in the collective image, the professions of the earth are masculine and the wines are produced by wine growers. Discovering wines that are off the beaten track and that go against stereotypes and preconceived ideas is something that is much appreciated.
But above all it is the beautiful discoveries that are underlined, and by the men as well, the customers give more than positive feedback about the wine list."One of our loyal customers was used to a Chablis 1er Cru and I introduced him to the new one we had put on the list, from Domaine Gueguen. In addition to the 100% feminine side which he liked, he was also impressed by the cuvée of Céline, the winemaker of the domain".
Build an inimitable wine list and save a lot of time when ordering.