Meet the Woman Blending the Traditional and the Modern in French Winemaking

How Florence Haynes combined the traditional and the contemporary for Gratien & Meyer Crémant de Loire.

gratien and meyer loire valley
(Image credit: Courtesy of Gratien & Meyer)

When Florence Haynes was hired as the production manager and oenologist at the renowned winery Gratien & Meyer in 2015, one of her goals was to redefine each wine with a personal touch that embodies the best of the region. As the first female winemaker in the winery’s history, it was her vision to bring a touch of romance and finesse that now defines these beautiful sparkling wines from the Loire Valley.

Few things are as deliciously indulgent as sipping a glass of bubbly. But what sometimes gets lost in the drinking is the story of how the wine got to our doorstep. Haynes shines a light on this process, revealing the care, attention, and thought that goes into every bottle of G&M Crémant de Loire.

gratien and mayer loire valley rose sparkling

(Image credit: Courtesy of Gratien & Meyer)

If the word “Crémant” isn’t familiar yet, some background: Crémant is a group of sparkling wines from France, made in the same traditional method as Champagne. Crémants come from eight wine regions, including the Loire Valley. Gratien & Meyer has kept cellars in the Loire’s gorgeous Valley of Kings since 1864, where each bottle of its Crémant Brut and Crémant Rosé, is made with care and precision, using techniques traditional to the style.

So how do you improve on that? Well, first, you pick the right person. Florence Haynes grew up in Paris and initially got her degree in engineering with a focus on physics and chemical analysis, which led her to spend years traveling the world as a product manager in the energy industry. But Champagne-born Haynes remained a wine-enthusiast throughout, and when she went back to school to receive a degree in oenology—the study of wines— that engineering knowhow translated amazingly well to her next step. After a few years working in viticulture and consulting for vineyards, she joined the team at Gratien & Meyer.

gratien and meyer loire valley

(Image credit: Gratien and Meyer)

By bringing a scientific precision and passion to her winemaking, Haynes revamped G&M’s beloved Crémants de Loire adding a new level of elegance to these classic wines. Under her guidance, the traditional techniques of the Crémant de Loire are kept intact, but Haynes also brought in thoughtful contemporary touches, like making each wine vegan and gluten-free, and refining the blends for more balance. also incorporated Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes from the region to bring out more of the aromatics and elegant flavors of the wine.

gratien and meyer loire valley sparkling white

(Image credit: Courtesy of Gratien and Meyer)

Haynes’ additions have brought a classic wine to the next level of excellence, showing just how much women can bring to the winemaking space. Santé to that.

Shop the G&M Crémant Brut and Rosé sparkling offerings here, and be sure to visit the brand on Instagram @gmcremant.

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(Image credit: Archives)