On Friday Christophe Baron, founder and vigneron at Bionic Wines, introduced the promotion of Elizabeth Bourcier from assistant vigneron to resident vigneron for the entire property’s Walla Walla Valley manufacturers. Bourcier will now have major duty for crafting some the world’s most wanted and extremely acclaimed wines, together with these from Cayuse Vineyards, Horsepower Vineyards, Hors Catégorie Vineyards, and No Ladies.
“Elizabeth is an unimaginable expertise and since our 2017 classic, Elizabeth has been in control of creating Bionic Wines’ full manufacturing,” Baron mentioned in an e mail to his clients. “To acknowledge her accomplishment, I’m thrilled to formally announce Elizabeth as Resident Vigneronne of Bionic Wines.”
Baron will stay concerned in Bionic Wines however will now give extra time to Champagne Christophe Baron. This can be a Pinot Meunier-dedicated undertaking that Baron started within the 2014 classic, utilizing grapes from his household’s vineyards in France’s Marne Valley.
The announcement additionally referenced Baron’s involvement in “different thrilling upcoming initiatives.” This can come as no shock to anybody who has met the Frenchman as soon as dubbed the Bionic Frog on account of his always-active motor.
In 1997, Baron pioneered planting within the area of Walla Walla Valley now often known as the Rocks District. Since then, he has repeatedly expanded plantings and likewise pushed viticultural and qualitative boundaries within the valley, specializing in biodynamic farming and crafting wines that specific the terroir of every winery.
Bourcier is a Kirkland, Washington native who moved to Walla Walla Valley in 2001 at age 18 to review on the Institute for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Group Faculty. She was within the Institute’s first graduating class. (Full disclosure: I’m an adjunct teacher at Walla Walla Group Faculty.) Bourcier subsequently accomplished a bachelor’s diploma in viticulture at California Polytechnic State College in San Luis Obispo.
After working within the tasting room at Bonny Doon Winery in California, Bourcier frolicked at Finca Koch within the Mendoza area of Argentina earlier than returning to Walla Walla. She started working as a laboratory technician at Cayuse Vineyards in 2008. In 2010, Baron promoted her to assistant vigneronne.
At the moment, Bourcier additionally took major duty as vigneronne for Bionic Wines’ No Ladies model, which she had co-produced since its first classic in 2008. The title comes from an indication painted on the wall of a bordello in Walla Walla when it closed within the mid-Twentieth century, a sign of fixing occasions for girls within the valley. During the last decade, the No Ladies wines have constantly earned high scores. In 2012, Bourcier additionally based her personal model, La Rata, crafting a Priorat-inspired mix of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. The wine rapidly established a well-deserved cult following.
Within the 13 years since she joined the vineyard, Bourcier has delivered to Bionic Wines an incisive palate and likewise an unerring dedication to low-intervention winegrowing and making that matches Baron’s. Whereas Baron’s accomplishments are practically unrivalled since he based Cayuse in 1997 – Bionic Wines has over 85 wines rated 95 factors or above at Wine Fanatic journal the place I function a contributing editor – the wines have solely continued to grow to be extra refined as Bourcier has taken an more and more outstanding position.
Now Bourcier can have major duty for Bionic Wines’ complete Walla Walla Valley portfolio. This consists of wines from its vineyards within the Rocks District – which Baron and Bourcier discuss with as ‘the stones’ – as properly its winery by the north fork of the Walla Walla Valley River, used for the Hors Catégorie Syrah.
“Christophe has trusted my intestine and palate with each classic. The stones [in Walla Walla Valley] are not like the rest on this planet, and my objective has all the time been to let that carry via into the wine,” Bourcier mentioned within the buyer e mail.
Along with a big change for Walla Walla Valley, Bourcier’s appointment additionally appears to mark a turning level for the Washington wine trade extra typically. (NB: Bionic Wines is situated on the Oregon aspect of Walla Walla Valley.) Whereas ladies stay underrepresented as winemakers and vigneronnes within the Columbia Valley, they now occupy two of probably the most outstanding and influential positions within the appellation. Final 12 months, Katie Nelson was named winemaker at Chateau Ste Michelle, Washington’s largest vineyard and most recognizable model. Now Bourcier will oversee one of many Northwest’s most extremely regarded estates.
“Ladies have come a great distance, though I feel you continue to need to work tougher as a feminine to show your self – within the winemaking world it’s a must to put your self on the market and be extra quietly assured as a result of the one option to the highest is thru arduous work,” Bourcier mentioned within the e mail. “My imaginative and prescient is to by no means let that high quality diminish. It’s an thrilling time for girls in wine, particularly within the Walla Walla Valley.”
Image courtesy of Bionic Wines. © Andréa Johnson Pictures.