By Marie-Madeleine Remoleur
“In each bottle, there is the soul of a winemaker” , smiles Carole Gaillard. Lover of wines, admirer of female winegrowers and curious taster, this Deauville speaks with passion when she tells the stories of the winegrowers she has known and followed for ten years. “I love them all,” she enthuses, brushing up on some of these life paths. With Cellars They, this ambassador for winegrowers gives the floor to these women whom she greatly admires, while introducing them to their wines. “Chais Elles is the simple and inspiring passion for wines,” she insists.
The story of a thunderbolt
“Chais Elles is a long story,” smiles this 59-year-old Norman by adoption. That of a “coup de coeur” that she had about thirty years ago, when she tasted a Jurançon, “a rather mellow and sweet wine”. She remembers: “Before that time, I barely drank, but I fell in love with this wine and it triggered the desire to understand this complex world”. Then holder of a DEA in Latin American literature, rather turned towards teaching, she then took this new direction, guided by her desire to know. “My teacher side must have come out, she admits. I had this desire to understand the terroirs”.
Then aged 30, she enrolled in a wine club. “I was the only woman among these amateurs,” she recalls. I learned a lot of things there, but it was a very academic approach that didn’t totally suit me”. The atmosphere and the perception of the wine did not give her complete satisfaction, but she continued to take part in these meetings for more than 20 years, while keeping in mind that later, she would leave for this universe “to put back the humanto tell stories and terroirs“. What she decided to do in 2010.
Putting women back in the spotlight
In addition to this very long training, Carole spends a diploma in oenologyfollows courses and travels through wine fairs in France.
That’s when I realized that there were a lot of women that I didn’t know about because at that time, we talked a lot less about women, whatever the sector.
She then perceives that these women “were in the shadows”, even though they were managing the estates. “It was then a lot of women who had received family domains in transmission and as we never deconstructed a domain name, they kept their male first names”, explains this wine lover.
Faced with this observation, listening to these women having their products tasted “with pride and authenticity”, Carole Gaillard finds her way: it’s decided, she won’t speak only winegrowers and then launch Cellars They. “They speak with their guts, both of the difficulties and the joys that this profession brings them. There is a real sincerity and a lot of sensitivity.” A side very human which she particularly appreciates. “What I want is to reveal the talents of women who don’t have the opportunity to be known, but also to put the human back into the world of wine,” she explains. Women she meets in the four corners of France. “At present, 32% of winegrowers are women in France. There are those who have received domains in transmission, those who are widowed and find themselves overnight with these vines. There are also women who, with the midlife crisis, buy vineyards and launch themselves,” she adds, admiringly.
Several labels on his bottle
the March 8, 2013she threw Nantes the first fair for women winegrowers which will last for several years, before she leaves Nantes in 2016 to Paris.
It was an incredible success and I was particularly touched by the presence of women of a certain age, often alone, who would never have dared to enter a salon at the time. They thought it was making accessible a product they liked. By devoting myself only to women, this made it possible to remove barriers for these amateur women who did not dare to assume the fact that they also tasted wine. I find that the world of wine is becoming more feminized at all levels, and that’s a good thing.
Alongside this facet in events, for which it has also organized shows in Lille, Nice or even to Madrid and to Quebec, Carole multiplies the caps with Chais Elles. Going to meet these women, organize round tablesof the tastings as freelance sommelier where she introduces the wines she appreciates, assists restaurateurs in the creation of wine listsride a Online Store to share her favorites or even host “food and wine pairing” dinners: her role as ambassador for women winegrowers is limitless. A concept that it had also begun to develop abroad, particularly in Asia, in Taiwan, before the covid got involved. “The international dimension that I was taking on by carrying this French art of living has stopped and has not resumed for the moment”, she regrets.
Women in the spotlight at Ama
Carole Gaillard accompanies certain restaurateurs in the preparation of their wine list. In Deauville, this is the case, for example, of the restaurant-boutique Ama, on the Presqu’île. A menu that puts women in the spotlight in this place where you can rub shoulders with new flavors and share them. “I proposed wines that were consistent with the place and the cuisine that make us travel, she explains. The wine takes on the taste of the person who will serve it and the place where it is drunk”.
Each time, her objective is the same: to highlight these women and tell their stories. “When I hear these women, when I see them in person, when I discover their estates, I understand their wines even better because they produce wines in their image, we find their character inside. That’s what I want to share, I really want to invite amateurs Cellars They“.
Wine in Normandy?
Originally from Nantes, Carole Gaillard left Paris for Deauville about a year ago. A choice she does not regret. “It’s not yet a wine region, but it will become one, she smiles. I have already been contacted by women who have this project and who have vines, but we have to wait a few years”. Indeed, in Normandy, some projects are emerging, with planting of vines such as Beaumont-en-Auge or Blangy-le-Château. “I’m sure we’ll be talking about Norman wines in a while”.
In the meantime, Carole Gaillard does not forget the Norman territory and also highlights the producers of spirits like Agathe Letellier of the Manoir d’Apreval in Pennedepie who notably produces cider, pommeau and calvados. “Agathe Letellier […] is animated by the expression of the Norman Terroir, by respect for the soil, by the quality and above all by the authenticity of the Norman character. She produces a range of remarkable, world-famous ciders and Calvados in organic form”, writes Carole Gaillard about the producer.
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Deauville: with Chais Elles, Carole invites the products and stories of winegrowers to our tables