25th March, 2014 by Gabriel Stone
Anne-Claude Leflaive, head of leading white Burgundy producer Domaine Leflaive has won the 2014 Winemakers’ Winemaker Award.
Credit: Colin Hampden-White
The news was announced in front of leading representatives from the international wine trade during an event hosted yesterday at ProWein by the Institute of Masters of Wine and the drinks business.
Established in 2011, the Winemakers’ Winemaker Award recognises outstanding achievement in the field of winemaking and is voted on by a panel of peers that comprises all Masters of Wine who are winemakers. A vote is also given to the past winners of the award: Peter Sisseck of Dominio de Pingus, Peter Gago of Penfolds and Paul Draper of Ridge.
Accepting the award via video link, Anne Claude Leflaive said: “I am very happy and proud to be selected for this award by my fellow winemakers and Masters of Wine. For me, it was a great surprise and a great honour.
“I think the respect of other winemakers around the world comes from the fact that this is a family domaine that has been built up over three generations. We care for our wines like children – but for me the most important thing is to have good grapes and work with respect in the vineyards.”
The family’s 24-hectares in Puligny Montrachet were originally bought in 1905 by Anne-Claude’s grandfather Joseph Leflaive, who set about replanting the vines as Burgundy began its recovery from the phylloxera crisis.
His sons Vincent and Joseph continued this work when they took over in 1953 and helped to cement the Burgundy domaine’s growing reputation by putting its wines onto the tables of the best restaurants in France.
Anne-Claude, Vincent’s daughter, became joint manager of the estate in 1990, before taking overall control in 1994. Three years later, she decided to convert to biodynamic winemaking, becoming a leading proponent for sustainable viticulture and achieving ecological balance in the vineyard.
Presenting the award, Jean-Michel Valette MW, chairman of the IMW, said: “We are delighted to honour Anne-Claude Leflaive, a winemaker who combines a deep respect for family and tradition with the courage and conviction to embrace wholesale change.
“Her care and respect for her craft have won the admiration of her peers; the love she invests in her vineyards and wines is evident in the glass.”