Burgundy Trailblazer Ludivine Griveau Says, ‘Work Hard, Stay Who You Are’

Illustration of Ludivine Griveau
Illustration by Barbara Spurll
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Griveau is the first female winemaker in the 473- year viticultural history of the ancient charitable Hospices de Beaune estate in the heart of Burgundy, currently making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from more than 148 acres of legendary sites across the Côte d’Or that include some famous grands crus.

Each November, her wines—hailed as the best ever made at the Hospices—are sold at a charity auction in Beaune that attracts visitors from around the world.

Since she arrived in 2015, Griveau has steadily transformed both viticulture and winemaking, imbuing the wines with newfound elegance, transparency and expression.

Why did you want to become a winemaker?

I studied agronomy and food science, and didn’t expect to become a winemaker. I was passionate about wine and gastronomy, but no one in my family is from the wine world. Since childhood, I have loved putting my sensations and perceptions into words. Doing my oenology diploma alongside engineering was how it all started.

Did you have any role models?

A wonderful traineeship with the famous Nadine Gublin changed my life. She is my role model even now. She trusted me from the beginning, taught me, prepared me to be a woman in this man’s world, shared her knowledge and offered me my first job as a winemaker in Burgundy.

What is your proudest achievement?

In my personal life, my three kids: Marilou, Pierre and Julia.

Professionally, I worked very hard to prove I was able, capable, and to be accepted in the wine world without being born into it. My proudest achievement is to make wine for the Hospices de Beaune, just to be part of it together with my colleagues, even it is just for a while in its centuries-long history. This institution is very special, very human, very humble. I am happy to share its original values by making the wine.

What was the most surprising experience or encounter you’ve had as a female winemaker?

As a woman winemaker, I would say most men are welcoming, nice and natural. But for some, it is difficult being managed by a woman, but things are changing day by day. I remember visiting a vineyard on the first day of my previous job.

The grower did not speak for minutes and when he did, only to the other male winemaker. But I insisted and spoke about myself in the third person, “she thinks maybe we could try this,” etc… Finally, he saw that I knew what I was talking about. Today, he is one of my biggest fans.

What is your advice to someone interested in entering the wine business?

Work hard, stay who you are and always be guided by humility.

Published on February 7, 2020
Topics: Advocacy


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