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New Generation Winemaker #5 : Élise Bougy

Dec 21, 2021 • 5 mins
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Digital & Sales Manager

If you follow all the Champagne news you can't not have heard of Élise Bougy! She's been making a few waves in the region lately. Sales agent for some of the biggest wine producers in France, female winemaker, craftswoman and budding social media personality... Élise has more than one string to her bow. This new report in the "New Generation Wine Producer” series takes us to Les Mesneux to meet a hyper-active and hyper-artistic winemaker.

Unbottled ambition

Born and bred in the Champagne region, Élise grew up on the family wine domaine in the heart of the Montagne de Reims. She learnt the basics of the craft and the day-to-day work in the vineyards from her grandmother. But what Élise undoubtedly enjoys most is spending time in good company, celebrating and enjoying wine. She is already boldly exploring her new playground and cultivating her love of wine.

She tells us, however, that she did not always feel that taking over the wine domaine was for her. At the age of 20, she decided to work for herself but she nevertheless chose something related to the wine world (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!). She set up her own sales agency, Les Bouchons d'Élise, and soon made a name for herself within the wine industry representing some of the biggest names in France, including Nicolas Rossignol, Domaine de la Soufrandière, Sylvain Pataille and Isabel Ferrando, no less!

"I grew up in a milieu of winegrowers and craftsmen. When I moved back to Champagne to take over the family domaine, I wanted to shake things up a bit... I wanted to be a craftswoman, an artist and a winemaker. Yes, in that order!"
Elise Bougy

So, after a few years, life events conspired to bring her back to her roots. And it is here that Élise's champagne story really began...

Excellence with a twist

Back on the domaine, Elise now runs the family business but is also getting ready to release her own wines (a project that is not without its own challenges!). Elise learnt more about the winemaking craft from her wine-producing friends Alexandre Chartogne, Delphine Boulard and Cyril Bonnet, even carrying out her first harvest on their domaines.

On 11 June 2021, she launched her own brand. Her champagnes, with their arty packaging reflective of her personality, are well worth trying, believe you me! A meteoric rise to fame followed, which she can't really explain, but is no doubt down to her skilful work and deep-held beliefs.

"For me, it’s important to respect the land, to pass it on to future generations and, at the same time, to enjoy oneself, to make the wines you want to make with a modern take on tradition and terroir".
Elise Bougy

Today, Elise is a respected winemaker who continues to work for that which she holds dear. Driven by her ambition and guided by her values, she wants to take her brand to ever greater levels of excellence, while adding her own little twist of course!

 An award-winning wine

So, as you will have gathered, Elise Bougy is something of a personality! A true artist, she recently won the Elle des Artisanes prize in the food craft category.

"I will always remember that evening at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, with an incredible exhibition of the Morozov brothers' art collection. It was one of the finest exhibitions I've ever seen. They are the biggest collectors of Cézanne, Gauguin, Monet. For an art lover like me, it was mind-blowing!"
Elise Bougy

She sees this award as an opportunity to democratise the profession of female winemaker and to encourage other women to do what they love. Freedom is her leitmotiv! Élise wants to be free to do what she wants with her terroir and produce wines that reflect her personality.

“If you don’t know anything about the mysteries of tarot card reading - I recommend you check it out just for fun. I spent hours looking for the one that best suited me!” It turns out that Elise identifies with the Hermit*. She's a messenger. What does she want to communicate? The freedom to create oneself.

*In tarot, the Hermit is the “9th card”. He represents learning, the quest for knowledge and the continuity of things, transmission.

Profile of a champagne wonder woman

To wrap up our interview, Elise agreed to our now traditional quickfire Q&A within this “New generation wine producer” series! These were her answers...

What’s your favourite wine? And a dish to pair with it?

I love eating. I would say Cyril Bonnet's Gris Blanc, a white Coteau from old grape varieties that I would pair with some Japanese gyoza.

When’s your perfect time to enjoy a drink?

Half-past twelve on a Saturday. I'm not working, I'm relaxing with my friends.

A winemaker you admire?

Jérôme Bretaudeau for his attitude

Your next wine?

I'll let you guess! The first clue, it’s between a red and a white; second clue, it’s sans bubbles, and lastly, it will come out in...

As you may have guessed, Elise's next wine will be a Coteaux Champenois Rosé. See you in 6 months to give it a try!

What is your Grappers Champagne profile?

I’d say that I’m 25% of each: Epicurean because I love eating, Taster because I love to try new wines, Explorer because I enjoy visiting the vineyards and Aesthete because I collect wines.

Where are we likely to bump into you?

On the domaine, or in the bars and restaurants in Reims... I'll let you try to track me down!

What do you enjoy doing when not making champagne?

Travelling and reading. I'd like to take this opportunity to recommend some of my latest reads:

- Les Papillons by Barcella
- Trois by Valérie Perrin
- Vigneronne by Laure Gasparotto
- Vernon Sulbutex by Virginie Despentes

The new generation of winegrowers is definitely bringing a breath of fresh air to the Champagne region. A generation full of ideas and resources, always ready to innovate and challenge themselves. In short, a generation to follow...