Welcome to episode 1100, in which host Polly Hammond interviews Nicole Rolet, this week on Uncorked. This week, we are joined by the lovely and talented Nicole Rolet, CEO and driving force behind Chene Bleu. We forego wine-talk and instead jump directly into the blood, sweat, and tears of building a modern luxury brand. From solving spreadsheets and finding the right partners, to acting strategically and overcoming fear of rejection, we’re talking about the non-obvious demands (and rewards!) of our industry. Let’s get into it.
More about today’s guest:
Nicole left her career in International finance and David Rockefeller’s geopolitical think tanks, to join her husband Xavier and his family in the Rhone to restore a historical vineyard, derelict but magnificently wild, and its abandoned Medieval prior – a hidden gem in the heart of a UNESCO biosphere. Increasingly convinced of the site’s exciting potential to produce Grand Cru-quality wine, she studied at WSET then UC Davis, and called upon her inner entrepreneur to transform this medieval Sleeping Beauty into a cutting-edge wine estate. Chêne Bleu wines were launched in 2010 to critical acclaim. She remains deeply committed to reconciling business success, social responsibility, ethical and sustainable practices, pushing the boundaries of sustainability. Knighted as Chevalier de Tastevin in Burgundy and the Echansonnerie in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, she co-founded the International Grenache Symposium and Association in 2010, then a wine school, and founded FM4FW in 2017.
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More about the host:
Polly is Founder and CEO of 5forests. She splits her time between Barcelona, Auckland, and Napa, consulting, writing, and speaking about the trends that impact today’s wine businesses. She’s an advisor to New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, host of Uncorked with the Italian Wine Podcast, cohost of the Real Business of Wine with Robert Joseph, and, occasionally, a knitter.
Polly is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she earned degrees in International Relations and French. Those studies led to a deep and abiding love affair with behavioral Economics, and her wine work is based on insights into all the crazy and irrational reasons consumers engage with brands. With over 20 years’ experience in growing successful companies, Polly knows first-hand the challenges faced by independent businesses. She approaches each client experience with empathy and understanding for what it takes to adapt and thrive in the real world.
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Until next time, Cin Cin!