Aug 15, 2011

My interview with Jean-Charles Boisset

Jean-Charles Boisset and his bulldog, Frenchie, at Buena Vista. Photo: Crista Jeremiason/PD.
 A couple of weeks ago I visited Sonoma's historic Buena Vista Winery to talk with its new owner, Jean-Charles Boisset. You can read the resultant article here.

As president of family-owned Boisset Family Estates, the 41-year-old has overseen the expansion of the Burgundy-based company into California, where it also owns Amberhill Wines, California Rabbit, DeLoach Vineyards, Fog Mountain, Lyeth Estate, Raymond Vineyards, Sonoma Cuvee and JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset.

Boisset first visited Buena Vista at the age of 11 on a trip to the U. S. with his family. He fell in love with the beauty and history of the winery, never forgot it, and ended up buying it 30 years later.

His plans call for returning Buena Vista to its past glory while showcasing its magnificent history--founded in 1857, it was not only the first commercial winery in California, but the first to do a great many important things in the state's wine industry. For example, more than a century before the famed 1976 "Judgment of Paris," Buena Vista wines were winning gold medals in France.

Often described in the wine press as "one of the most powerful people in the world of wine," and the possessor of countless awards and honors in France and the U. S., in person Boisset is friendly, engaging, and highly energetic. During our interview we sat for a while at a picnic table, and he took great delight from chatting up visitors to the winery who strolled by.

Boisset is married to winemaker Gina Gallo (the couple became the parents of twin girls this past May) and divides his time between Northern California and France.

My article about Jean-Charles Boisset appeared yesterday in the newspaper of Sonoma County, the New York Times-owned Santa Rosa Press Democrat. You can read the story here.

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