Corinne Mentzelopoulos

In a field like the wine business, dominated by men, Corinne Mentzelopoulos really stands out. The owner of Chateaux Margaux speaks to Gourmed about her relationship with wine and of course, about her relationship with Greece.

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What was your motive for getting involved with the Chateau?

Well in fact it was my father, Andrew (Andreas) Mentzelopoulos, who acquired it in 1977, at a time when nobody was really interested in Bordeaux wines; it is amazing that it was he, a Greek citizen, who first understood the great past and potential there was in Château Margaux.

What does Chateau Margaux mean for you?

It is the very symbol of what France has been able to achieve, over the centuries, in terms of quality of life and top quality products; at the same time, with its product being wine, and the château looking so Greek with its Doric columns, I cannot help thinking it is also a symbol of my Greek roots and belonging. I am very proud to be, thanks to my father, the happy and privileged owner of such a heritage, and my whole professional life is concentrated on running it.

How is a woman’s leading role in the wine world perceived by the dominant male majority?

Well in fact I haven't really thought of it, because I was very young when my father passed away. I never think of myself as a woman when I am working, things just have to be done.

How do you see the future of Chateau Margaux on a constantly changing wine map? Are there any plans?

Château Margaux has existed for centuries, and our present involvement can only be but a very short span in its long history. We are determined to make everything possible for our estate to keep on being worthy of its position among the wines around the world. Besides, nothing can really harm the fabulous “terroir” that has slowly been assembled throughout the centuries. In the meantime, we spend a lot of energy and investments to keep on going forward, carefully but surely, and we now have a department of R&D.

Has your Greek origin been an obstacle in your involvement in a top Bordeaux Chateau?

On the contrary! How can anything Greek be an obstacle! You are hurting my feelings!!! 

What is your current relationship with Greece?

Very close: my family still lives in Greece, I have a house there where I spend each summer, and at this very moment I am counting the days before I can actually fly there.

How do you see the future of the Greek wine industry?

I enjoy tasting Greek wines and appreciating the great improvement there has been over the years; Greece has put so much work and energy into its wines, and one must remember, it is a tradition going back to antiquity.

Are there any Greek wines you personally enjoy?

I especially like the Assyrtiko from Santorini, and I am very proud to have my friends taste it.

What is your ideal perception of the Mediterranean? Can you imagine a specific scenery?

Well obviously I cannot conceive of anything Mediterranean not being in Greece; where else can one find such a blue transparent sea and such a striking light? The smell of the lemon and olive trees. The goats grazing in the mountains, and a villager going back home on the back of his donkey. My grandfather was born in a village in the Peloponnese, up in the mountain, and I make sure to take my friends and family there every year. And the islands, so dry and so beautiful, with a little white village on top, and always a church and its blue dome. So peaceful and unchanged. And to be on a boat, and discover, around the corner, an unsploit creek with nobody, not a soul: there is at times a donkey, or a chapel... I could go on like this for hours... Naturally I have visited other parts of the Mediterranean: noisy, crowded, dirty, the unspeakable quality of the sea, the risk of being chopped up by a boat or a jet-ski... OK, there might be some exaggeration in my last words... but not that much!!!!!!!!


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