Wilson Daniels Honors Anne-Claude Leflaive: Winemaker, Innovator and Legend
St. Helena, CA — (April 6, 2015) It is with great sadness that we note the passing of our dear friend and associate, Anne-Claude Leflaive, one of the truly great legends of wine. The world has lost a brilliant winemaker, a pioneer for women, a passionate advocate for sustainable growing methods, and the producer of the world’s most sought-after white Burgundy, Domaine Leflaive.
In 1990, Anne-Claude became a co-director of Burgundy’s Domaine Leflaive, which had been in her family’s care for generations. In 1993, she took sole responsibilities for the domaine, and within four years she had already converted the cultivation of Domaine Leflaive’s vineyards to biodynamic methods. Anne-Claude’s initiative made her one of the earliest exponents of sustainable viticulture, and she quickly developed a high profile in a profession largely dominated by men.
Anne-Claude, called by Decanter magazine “the world’s top white winemaker,” was a tireless advocate for the wines of Burgundy. Her passion and dedication were evident in every aspect of Domaine Leflaive, from her respect for the soil to her commitment to quality throughout the winemaking process. She was also prominent in the fight against the introduction of genetically modified organisms in winegrowing. Her appetite for new challenges and her laser focus on pure fruit expression firmly established Domaine Leflaive as a benchmark for all Burgundy producers.
In 2008, Anne-Claude collaborated with six other highly respected Burgundy vintners to establish Ecole du Vin et des Terroirs in Puligny-Montrachet, with the goal of broadening wine professionals’ knowledge and understanding. Ecole du Vin et des Terroirs is an educational program that focuses of vine growing and winemaking using an ecological, environmental and humanistic approach — exactly as Anne-Claude managed her own remarkable wines.
“This is a sorrowful moment for all of us at Wilson Daniels. Domaine Leflaive, through Anne-Claude, not only produced world-class wines but was a great partner and friend,” remarks Wilson Daniels president and founder, Jack Daniels. “We have worked with Domaine Leflaive for more than 15 years, since 1999. In that time, I came to know Anne-Claude and personally witnessed her unwavering commitment. Our sincere condolences go out to her family — she will be sorely missed.”
Anne-Claude Leflaive passed away yesterday, April 5, 2015, at her home in Burgundy. She leaves behind her husband, Christian Jacques, and their children. In addition to Domaine Leflaive, Anne-Claude and Christian own Clau de Nell, a small Loire domaine also distributed by Wilson Daniels.