Michèle is an East Coaster who earned a B. Sc. from Dalhousie University. Her career started in the pharmaceutical industry in sales, sales training and marketing. As Director of Marketing for Château des Charmes she is the brand custodian and responsible for all aspects of the guest experience. This includes staff training and development, marketing, public relations and advertising, as well as overseeing the hospitality programs at the winery. She is the winery representative on various marketing and tourism committees in the region and is the current Co-chair of Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake. When she is not busy trying to keep up with son Alex, you will find her in the Twittesphere, writing a new blog post or sharing wine country news on Facebook.
Tell us about your business
“Making wine is not what we do, it’s who we are.”
Our family is often asked how we got into the wine business. More than a few times the answer has been the above quote. Growing wine has been in our family’s blood for seven generations. We love everything about it; from nurturing the vineyards each year, to bringing the wines to life in the cellar and waiting for each to come of age so it can be released to be enjoyed. But what brings us the most joy is seeing someone savour our wine or celebrate an important family milestone at our winery.
Château des Charmes was founded in 1978 by Paul Bosc, a fifth generation French winegrower. Paul and his young family arrived in Niagara in the 1960’s with the idea that growing our own grapes was the best way to make fine wine. More than ever, we believe in this Estate Winery model and we make our wine only from grapes we’ve grown ourselves.
We believe we are custodians of the land. From the beginning we have been committed to using sustainable practices and are charter members of Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario. Paul and his team are meticulous. They use modern science and a lot of TLC to coax the best out of every vine. And with more than 30 vintages in our vineyards we think we now know which varieties grow best in which spot. But there is always more to learn. We believe our groundbreaking research with unique grape varieties will blaze a trail to the future of our industry.
What is your inspiration?
We are farmers so the land inspires us everyday. Mother Nature never fails to surprise, confound and reward us. Folks who enjoy our wine also inspire us. Seeing a family celebrate an important milestone, like a wedding, is magical. But being a part of a weekday meal where a family comes together to share their news of the day is just as important. To know that we can be a small part in a family’s life is an honour.
How are you hoping to connect with conference attendees?
I would like to demystify wine so it doesn’t feel so intimidating. Come on by for a chat, girl to girl, and I can share my philosophy on wine. It’s pretty simple; either you like it or you don’t. No need to get all technical with fancy wine-speak.
What advice would you give conference attendees?
Soak it all in! There are so many great speakers willing to share their insights. But don’t forget everyone in the audience. You may be there to learn from others but no doubt you have lots to share too. Don’t be afraid to connect with others around you.