La Transmission Femmes en Champagne

La Transmission Femmes en Champagne

La Transmission Femmes en Champagne (Members)

Prompting our visit to the Champagne region was learning about two organizations formed by women, Les Fa'Bulleuses de Champagne, (please see its separate bio profile), and La Transmission Femmes en Champagne. The latter is an association of 10 women in Champagne seeking to modernize the industry and was co-founded by two prominent women, Anne Malassagne, the fourth-generation co-owner of Champagne AR Lenoble, an independent, family-owned champagne house, and Maggie Henriquez, CEO and President of Champagne Krug since 2008.

We contacted Anne, and she graciously arranged a visit with herself and three other members of La Transmission. Anne also invited us to return for "Le Printemps des Champagnes,” a weeklong celebration of the champagnes of independent producers, to attend an event sponsored by La Transmission, and we were able to meet all the members of this group there.

Anne and Maggie had a joint concern about the relative invisibility of women in shaping the future of a changing Champagne region. Not wanting to focus on a particular house or region, they invited women with “no ego about the Champagne region,” to meet about facilitating a cultural change that would include the women in Champagne. The result was their founding La Transmission, in 2016.

These 10 women were brought together by shared values of quality, respect for the land, cooperation, and concern about the direction of the region’s future. “We don’t sit around and say what we already know about how challenging things are for women. We use our knowledge and experience as leaders to think about constructive change and how to bring it about,” said Evelyne Boizel, who has a long history of leadership at Champagne Boizel, a fifth-generation champagne house. By design, in order to speak credibly for the Champagne region, La Transmission’s membership is diverse and includes leaders or owners of estates of different sizes and organizational structures, representatives of the different regions, and women from different generations.

La Transmission Femmes en Champagne brings a collaborative, forward-looking vision to “the woman in Champagne,” and has among its goals sharing and passing on their experience, culture, know-how and values, serving as the next wave of champions for women across the region, and leading a collective effort to modernize the future of Champagne. Its members believe that women need to be — and will be — part of that evolution to the future: Champagne becoming more modern has the double effect of changing cultural views both of women and of champagne.

Charline Drappier of Champagne Drappier, who is among the younger members of La Transmission, emphasized the importance of women who know the ins-and-outs of the business banding together to ensure their knowledge is passed on, est transmis, as guidance. Although more women are entering the field than in past decades, Anne and others agreed that guidance remains important for young women to move up in the industry, particularly when they have a family. Chantal Gonet, of Champagne Phillipe Gonet, agreed and added: “It is important to explain what we have done to incorporate modern attitudes such as flexible work schedules and how we have done it.”

Finally, La Transmission also seeks to promote champagne’s versatility and approachability as a wine. Champagne can be enjoyed at any occasion, not just celebratory ones. And various cuvees pair beautifully with a range of wonderful dishes.

In sum, the women of the group aim to bring about the key changes needed to move the Champagne region to the next stage — changing cultural views both of women and of champagne.

Activities to Date. La Transmission Femmes en Champagne sponsors important educational workshops and special tastings for sommeliers, importers, and other prominent people in the wine industry. The group also organized an important activity associated with the weeklong 2018 Le Printemps des Champagnes. This Master Class/Tasting featured all members of La Transmission and their champagnes and provided a forum for sharing their experience, culture, know-how and values and for discussing the vision “for the woman in Champagne.” As noted earlier, we had an invitation to attend this superlative tasting, and marveled at the great energy and excitement in the room!

Membership (lt to rt in group photo): Evelyne Boizel, Champagne Boizel, Alice Paillard, Champagne Bruno Paillard, Vitalie Taittinger Champagne Taittinger, Anne Malassagne, Champagne AR LeNoble, Chantal Gonet, Champagne Phillipe Gonet, Charlene Drappier, Champagne Drappier, Delphine Cazals, Champagne Claude Cazals, Mélanie Tarlant, Champagne Tarlant, Maggie Henriquez, Krug Champagne. Not pictured: Floriane Eznack, Champagne JACQUART.