Clean Wine 101
International Womxn’s Day with Maud Negrel
We spoke with our Rosé producer, Maud, about her experience in the wine industry and her love for her hometown in Provence, France.
With over 7 generations of winemakers in your family, did you start your winemaking experience at a young age?
I grew up on my family's estate, “Mas de Cadenet”, in Provence. At a young age, I was deeply connected to nature and the beautiful rhythm of the seasons. Even though we are the 7th generation of winemakers in our family, my parents didn’t force us into the business, but they wanted my brother and I to have the freedom to choose what we wanted to do.
I studied finance and went on to work as a financial auditor in Paris for 10 years. It was a rich experience, but after 10 years and the birth of my first child, I realized that living far from the estate and the vines was not in my nature!
I decided to give it all up and return to my family's estate. My brother already went back and this is where we began our journey to run the estate together. With already having prior training, I continued to immerse myself and use my experiences to develop a strong education for wine.
Were you always interested in the wine making process?
When you grow up on an estate, your life is naturally in rhythm with the life of the vine and wine. Harvest is definitively the most exciting moment of the year and even at a young age, I loved being in the heart of this crazy moment. I remember telling my parents I was sick just so I could stay home in the cellar!
What are you most proud of when you look at the wines you make?
Mas de Cadenet is in a marvelous place in Provence. It’s at the foot of the mountain, Sainte Victoire. Paul Cezanne used this landscape as his muse, so the area is very well known for its beauty! This place is so luminous, but at the same time, cozy and Provencal in nature.What makes me the most proud is to be able to reflect this nature in my wines. People tell us that our wines are well-balanced, mineral and vibrant, which is a testament to this marvelous place. Being organic is another key reflection of this amazing terroir and our desire to protect it. That's why it is so important for us to only practice organic farming - it’s our way of giving back to nature and what it offers us.
I would also like to highlight my wine club for womxn of Provence, "Eléonores de Provence", where our goals are to defend the heritage of Provence, to transmit our know-how and be in solidarity, respect the quality of products produced with an environmental approach, and carry out charitable actions. The support we give eachother is amazing!
As a womxn winemaker, how has your experience been in the industry? And do you feel it has been different from, for example, your brother’s?
I used to say that womxn have to create space for themselves in the wine industry because there wasn’t always space offered to them. I think there needs to be a mindset change so womxn don’t need to prove themselves more than men.
Can you share any Female winemakers you love?
Anne Malassagne, owner of Champagne AR Lenoble, manages the family estate with her brother, like I do. They are deeply involved in producing high quality champagnes and adamant in keeping their estate independent. She instinctively tends to the vines, creating the brightest wines.
Carole Salen, owner of Domaine Les Bastides, is running her own private familial estate in Provence. It has been organic for decades and she follows her vines and instinctively invigorates her wines.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve experienced while working in the wine industry?
Everyday is a challenge. Trying to find the balance between managing the estate successfully, enjoying my family life, and taking care of my children is the biggest struggle. But I guess a lot of womxn can relate.
What changes (if any) have you seen in the wine industry over the years?
I have the feeling that the quality level of wines, in general, is increasing. I appreciate how ingredients and agriculture are coming to the forefront of the wine industry.