by Sommelier Robin Obert
Francois was very open with Barbe-Nicole when it came to discussing the business. This is believed to be in part because Francois father did not feel comfortable with his son traveling the globe, attempting to sell luxury wines to people who were just overcoming severe adversity and economic crisis due to warring among countries. As a newcomer it was very difficult for Francois, but, he continued to persevere. It was critical to his success to become entwined with aristocracy who could afford the luxury of expensive wines. It was difficult for Francois as it was not common for the wealthy to swing their doors wide open for traveling salesmen.
Sales were measly at best. Even the renowned Moet family was struggling. Sales for Francois were disastrous and Francois had to return home to face his father. To make matters worse, weather was an enemy that summer and the meager orders that he was able to secure would not be able to be fulfilled. It was with all of this Francois decided to up the risk and determined that it was time to stop relying on others to provide him with their wines. He was going to jump off the cliff and begin growing his own grapes and bottling his own wines.
Francois pushed forward, more than a year later he progressed towards his ultimate goal to produce his first “house” wine. It was a slow and laborious process, but, one he was not afraid to embark upon. There was a lot to learn, but it was at this time wine makers, the experts were beginning to produce books to help the novice break into the art of winemaking.
It was through this progression that Francois journeyed through where that spark of passion was birthed into Barbe-Nicole. It was a hunger that she would embrace for a lifetime. Harvest was among her favorite time. She would arrive as the sun rose in the morning and she would watch in wonder as the field workers gathered the yield which were grown on the family vineyard. She would then proceed to the modern presses and sit for hours observing as the grapes began the process of being slowly and gently crushed right before her eyes. Next month we are going to go in to detail the actual process of making Champagne and the journey Barbe- Nicole went through to further develop the art of making what we now know as Champagne. It was quite different than what the early aristocrats understood. Oh, if they could only have known…