While often associated with old men in red trousers, the wine trade is fizzing with young talent. So much so, I felt compelled to celebrate the fact in a piece published recently by The Drinks Business that rounded up 30 of the brightest winemakers under the age of 40 currently making waves around the world, from Argentina to New Zealand.
As you might expect, the lion’s share of the list are currently crafting wines in the New World, with the US, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand all well represented. France, unsurprisingly, dominates the Old World entries in the list, with rising stars in Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône and Beaujolais all receiving hat tips, though bright young things in Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK are also helping to shape winemaking trends and push the envelope in their respective countries. Read on for the first of three instalments rounding up numbers one to ten.
1: Chris & Suzaan Alheit (32 and 31)
2: Victoria Ash (34)
3: Tom Barry (27)
4: Brooke Blair (35)
5: Pierre Casenave (36)
Born in the Pyrenees, Casenave could have quite easily become a doctor rather than a winemaker, studying pharmacy for six yeas at the University of Bordeaux. During a stint studying chemistry in Pamplona, Casenave had a lightbulb moment and realised his calling in life was wine rather than medicine, leading to a degree in oenology from the University of Montpellier. Cutting his winemaking teeth in St Emilion, Pomerol and Stellenbosch in South Africa, Casenave joined LVMH-owned Champagne house Veuve Clicquot as winemaker in 2008 under the stewardship of Cyril Brun and chef de caves Dominique Demarville. Taking an active role in the creation of blends across all wines in the Veuve stable, Casenave is particularly focused on producing Chardonnay from sites located in Vertus.
6: Sebastian Cathiard (28)
7: Pierre-Olivier Clouet (33)
8: Matthew Day (28)
9: Jochen Dreissigacker (32)
Last year, he was voted one of the 100 most influential Germans under 40 by German GQ magazine and had his wines served by Angela Merkel to US President Barack Obama at a dinner hosted by the German Chancellor in Berlin last June. Dreissigacker decided to abandon his studies as a tax consultant to pursue his winemaking dream. At the estate, he favours minimum intervention, only using wild yeasts and stainless steel vats, having converted to organics in 2010.
10: Caroline Frey (35)
Having graduated from the University of Bordeaux with a degree in oenology, before joining the family business, Frey studied under Denis Dubourdieu for two years at his Graves property, Floridene. During her tenure, Frey, who manages a team of 30, has overseen the rebuilding of the winery at La Lagune and made strides in implementing elements of organic and biodynamic viticulture. In addition to her numerous duties at La Lagune, Frey is also a winemaker at the 110-hectare Domaines Paul Jaboulet Ainé in the Rhône Valley.