• Enter Now

Interviews

Meet One of the first female winemakers of Saint Emilion

08/03/2022

In honor of women’s History Month, we spoke with winemaker Samuelle Delol. She is the owner and winemaker of two estates in Saint Emilion, Bordeaux.

Photo for: Meet One of the first female winemakers of Saint Emilion

With Winemaking running through her veins, Samuelle Delol creates unique wines by expressing themselves through grape variety, village, and vintage.

 "I started my journey 33 years ago. As far as I can tell, I was one of the first women winemakers in our family and from my region"

Can you tell us about yourself?

I take pride in being a 5th generation member of my family enterprise. My family currently own two estates: Château Gueyrosse since 1818 and Domaine Chante Alouette Cormeil since 1862. Both of them have the Saint Emilion Grand Cru appellation. I am the owner and winemaker of these two properties. When I started my career 33 years ago, I was perhaps the first woman winemaker in my family and region.

Your family has a strong heritage in the wine sector. Were you always inclined to become a winemaker as well?

Yes, I think that was my calling. As I mentioned, my family has a history in viticulture, so it felt like a part of me had a natural impulse in this profession. I got a degree in viticulture from Bordeaux too.

What is a typical day at the winery like?

A typical day at the winery is not the same every day. Every morning I first talk with the team that works in the vineyards, discuss the status of the vineyards and things that need to be done, then after working in the office, I also work in the cellar.

Besides that, we host some guided tours and wine tastings in the winery, which I also enjoy participating in.

There are plenty of things to do!

Find out more about vineyard visits - here.

What are the main challenges you face as a female winemaker?

These days, I think you no longer have to prove yourself as a woman in any one field. Women can be trained in almost all areas, but 33 years ago, it was different in the wine industry; it was a real challenge. First, I needed to prove that I could handle the vineyard and take responsibility for making wine. Moreover, I had to justify it to the winemakers around me and my family. And, of course, I had to prove to my customers that I could do it. So I've been taking my time to improve things now.

As of 2018, you are committed to organic farming; in particular, you focus on protecting pollinators, and your products are called bee-friendly; how did you come up with this concept?

In the beginning, we wanted to become a certified organic farm production, and it takes three years for your vineyard to be recognized as organically certified. Then, I read an article about bee-friendly wine farming. I realized that it was very close to organic vineyard certification and exciting things we could do for pollinators.

The 2019 and 2020 vintages are certified with a "Bee-Friendly" label to represent and promote pollinator-friendly products.

Our process of conversion to organic farming is consistent with the Bee-Friendly standards.

Bee-Friendly

Our close contacts with the Libourne Beehive School Association help us identify the trees, plants, and flowers in our garden that qualify as pollinators and are labeled.

Can you tell us about the winemaking process at your estates?

I like to bring out the character of the soil in the wine. In general, I adopt the winemaking process according to the quality potential of each vintage.

I strive to produce fruity, balanced, and elegant wines with soft tannins. I repeat well-balanced tannins, but not too powerful,

The 4.60 hectares of vines planted at Château Gueyrosse consist of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc.

These vineyards are growing on red gravel and sandy soil.

We harvest only by hand. Strictly do not use any herbicides or pesticides. And we are offering unfiltered wines.

Saint Emilion Wine

What advice would you like to give to new women winemakers looking to enter this industry?

You can be a woman or a man; it doesn't matter but keep your identity. Be curious about your work and try to learn from the past, select the best, adopt your personality, and reflect it in your winemaking process.

What is the most exciting part of your job?

For me, it's during harvest time. Being able to receive new grapes is like a reward. You forget all your doubts and the rough times, and you feel very proud to tell your customers about the life of the new vintage.

How do you plan to develop Château Gueyrosse in the future?

I am currently looking for new customers and new opportunities. We are especially looking for customers who will follow us vintage after vintage.

Any favorite food and wine pairing suggestions?

I like the confit of duck and baked potatoes with different ages of red wine.

Food and wine pairing is not a competition. 

It depends upon the flavors and structure of your dish and wine. 

Finally, what is your favorite wine?

My favorite wine is the sweet white wine from the Sauternes region.

Buy Online Chateau Gueyrosee click here.

Header Image: Domaine Chante Alouette Cormeil,Saint Emilion.

Interviewed by Bhairavi Pore, Consultant, Beverage Trade Network.

Give international exposure to your wine brand. Enter your wines before November 30 and Save.