This story was updated Nov. 9.
In a surprising development, Sylvie Cazes has announced her departure as general manager of the Bordeaux estates owned by Champagne group Louis Roederer, including the iconic second-growth Château Pichon Longueville Lalande and châteaus de Pez and Bernadotte. “I’m going to concentrate on projects with my immediate family and my political projects,” Cazes told Wine Spectator.
On Nov. 9, Roederer announced that Nicolas Glumineau would take over as general manager. A trained enologist with a masters in management, Glumineau has previously worked at Châteaus Montrose, Haut-Brion and Margaux.
Cazes, a high-profile figure in Bordeaux, said that she will remain at the estate until the end of 2012, terminating a tenure that began in February 2011. The name of her replacement has not been announced.
“We express our gratitude for the work she accomplished with us and for her dynamism in our collaboration,” Frédéric Rouzaud, Roederer’s managing director, told Wine Spectator. “We wish the best success to all her personal projects and those she is associated with in relation with the city of Bordeaux.”
But her exodus from Pichon Lalande could force her removal from another influential post: president of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGC). According to the association’s bylaws, the president must officially represent a member château.
“We’ve never been in this situation before, so we don’t have a mechanism in place. Sylvie has to officially tell the members what she’s going to do, then the administrative council has to meet and the members have to vote,” said UGC director Jean-Marc Guiraud.
She will not face the same restrictions at the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés en 1855, where she has held a seat on the administrative council for many years. “Sylvie is still a co-owner of Château Lynch Bages. All of our administrators are either château owners or directors,” said Sylvain Boivert, director of the association that represents the châteaus classified in 1855.
Cazes has a large minority stake in Château Lynch Bages and the other Cazes family estates, but she has no role in the daily operations. She also owns Michelin-starred restaurant Le Chapon Rouge and a luxury wine tourism agency, Bordeaux Saveurs. She has three grown children.
But it’s Cazes’ political role under Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé and her job as president of the city’s Wine Cultural Center project (the Centre Culturel et Touristique du Vin, or CCTV) that will keep her in the spotlight. As a deputy on the city council, Cazes focuses on developing the wine trade and wine tourism, both economic linchpins for the region. Juppé has put his political heft behind the $80.6-million CCTV project, which promises to create 750 jobs and inject $51 million annually into the local economy.
But first it needs to be built. Demolition and cleanup began last month at the CCTV’s riverfront site, and crews expect to break ground in March 2013.
With additional reporting by James Molesworth.
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