Grenache Day: A toast to the unsung hero of the wine industry — and one of its biggest fans

Sept. 18 marks Grenache Day. It is a day to honor the unsung hero of the wine industry: grenache.

The question has been: Why isn’t grenache, as well as the other Rhone varietals, better known? According to Nicole Sierra-Rolet of Chêne Bleu Winery and one of the founders of Grenache Day, “Grenache has to have a place in the Olympics of grapes and deserves to be loved as it is velvety and luxurious.” Grenache Day is spearheading the movement to put grenache on the map.

© saez victor

© saez victor

Who is Nicole Sierra-Rolet?

Sierra-Rolet, born to an American mother and a French/Italian father, was raised in New York and Milan. She worked in think tanks and investment banks in the U.S. and in Europe when she met her husband Xavier Rolet in 1994. When they met, Xavier had just purchased some property, which included a medieval priory and a fig tree, in Southern Rhone. Nicole and Xavier married in 1997 and spent 12 years renovating the property.

With a lifelong love of learning, Sierra-Rolet delved into the history of the property. She shifted from international relations, public policy and finance to wine and has never looked back.

“Winemaking is multi-dimensional; it combines science, history and geology,” she said. “I have always wanted to learn and I love connecting the dots. Life is fun when you have the excuse to drill deep into stuff.”

Sierra-Rolet puts all of her passion into Chêne Bleu as she explained, “This is my life and all I think about. My family allows me to dedicate myself wholeheartedly.”

And, her family is also dedicated to the project as they share the motto “not mine, not yours but ours.”

Read the complete story in the Napa Valley Register.

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