Co-owner of the Château Smith Haut Lafitte vineyard Florence Cathiard is also president of the Conseil Superieur de l’Oenotourisme (the wine tourism board). She and her family have created a new wine tourism experience at the hot springs at Caudalie.
Before devoting her third career to wine, Florence Cathiard visited the Napa Valley which provided the inspiration to build, with her husband, daughters and their respective husbands, an innovative new location for wine tourism. "When we sold all our businesses to buy Château Smith Haut Lafitte, 25 years ago, the region was magnificent, but the château was run down", says this vivacious woman and "Leading Woman Entrepreneur of the World".
"After two years of major work, on the winery buildings and the 17th century manor house, we focused on the development of our great vintage wine Graves, (known in the French wine classification system as a "grand cru classe"). During a period when the famous vineyards of Bordeaux seemed like ivory towers, inaccessible to the public, conducting tastings ourselves seven days a week was already audacious. Then opening, in 1999, a spa offering vinotherapy, we really did seem like aliens from another planet ", the former skiing champion recalls. (Vinotherapy uses grape and vine extracts to create unique spa and beauty treatments).
A wine tourism experience to practise the art of French living
Today, 25,000 visitors each year come to the prestigious 78-hectare vineyard, of whom 5,000 are met in person by Florence Cathiard. "We offer a a number of themed visits with wine tastings ranging from the renowed vintages to new, young wines, which satisfy every budget."
At only 20 minutes from Bordeaux, this complete wine tourism experience allows you to savour the art of French living. "At the luxurious hotel ‘Les Sources de Caudalie’, you can taste the gourmet delights of south-west France and the best wines of Bordeaux in a Michelin 2-star rated restaurant, a country-style restaurant, or over a tapas of local foods," said Florence Cathiard, who is just as comfortable describing the monumental sculptures which adorn the vineyard as she is talking about its positive energy, or ‘bioprecision’, a new approach to traditional wine making which brings together ‘the best of nature and the best of science’. And to confirm to wine tourists that France is the most beautiful country in the world. "Come via Paris, but then come straight to the vineyards! There you’ll find the good and the great wines, including those from the small vineyards. "
Today, Caudalie supports the Arbres et Paysages en Gironde association by comiting to replant 5 000 seedlings of forest and rural hedges by june 2017. The seedlings will be planted around plots of land owned by small wine growers such as David et Jacques Lators' s vineyard on the pilgrimage road to St-James of Compostela.
Château Smith Haut Lafitte
Phone : + 33 (0)5 57 83 11 22.
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org