Veronique Sanders, the elegant signature of Château Haut Bailly.
Continuing on the theme of Women and Wellness in Wine, Veronique Saunders, Director of the prestigious Château Haut Bailly, a Classified growth of Pessac Léognan, shares some of her advice and experience of living a healthy life in the wine business. Chateau Haut Bailly and the neighbouring Chateau le Pape, where Veronique welcomes guests to stay at the heart of the vineyard, are favourite venues for my wine and wellness tours. The deck around the pool is the perfect place for a morning yoga session.
Could you introduce yourself and your role in the wine industry please?
I have the great privilege to be at the head of Château Haut-Bailly. I have a deep affection with this estate which has a unique heritage, and I’m proud to manage it with passion.
Also a member of the Board of Directors of the Commanderie du Bontemps de Médoc, Graves, Barsac et Sauternes, as well as that of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, I am deeply committed to the wine community.
What brought you to the business and how long have you worked here?
Haut-Bailly belonged to my family and I am the 4thgeneration to be involved with this amazing property. When my grandfather, Jean Sanders, sold it in 1998, Robert G. Wilmers proposed me to stay on and manage the estate. I have achieved a childhood dream thanks to this tremendous opportunity to be in charge of a prestigious classified growth.
What do you love most about the business?
The different aspects of the business are brilliant : agriculture in the field, biochemistry during the vinification, architecture with the renovation of our buildings, etc. And on top of that, we love to meet people. We have the luxury of working in an environment where people love wine, love life, love culture, love many things. We are privileged to spend our time meeting amazing people who share our passion. It’s part of our life and it’s a wonderful life. We also love to welcome people at Haut-Bailly, to show them our terroir and the origin of where our wines come from.
Wine and wellness: What does the concept of Wellness mean to you?
Wellness is a great philosophy of life and is essential for me in order to keep up with my life rhythm, to keep up with my balance. Equilibrium is a key word in wine.
If it’s not in discreet, how many times do you drink each week and do you limit yourself to a certain quantity of alcohol?
It is proven that to drink great red wine with every meal brings lots of advantages, like better digestion, less risk of heart attack… Everyone should know about this “French paradox”. But for the best advices, do read Wendy’s great book!
Has your attitude changed to drinking and wellness over the years?
Over the years, you are more selective with the quality of what you eat, drink, do… Drink reasonably, drink good but drink often !
Are there foods you consciously include in your diet? If so what and why?
Lots of fruit when I am travelling, and a ginger tea with lemon every morning to reinforce the immune defenses…
Are there foods you avoid? If so what and why?
The best is to have various and healthy food all the time.
Do you take any supplements? Which ones?
If you drink good red Bordeaux, all the supplements are included !
Do you exercise? Yes everyday.
What are your biggest challenges to staying fit and healthy in your job?
We are very fortunate to have a Chef at Haut-Bailly who is able to source local and seasonal ingredients from our daily markets. We are lucky to be based in a region that offers a wide variety of quality meat, fish and vegetables. This allows us to create a new experience every day to pair with our wines.
How do you overcome them? Being epicurean and live the day with a positive attitude.
Do you set yourself goals, and do they help in your aim to stay well?
Making sure our job is well done keeps us fit.
Does that fact you are a (young) woman help, or is it a hindrance in this business or is it now irrelevant? If so how would you pinpoint the changes?
When you were a woman 20 years ago, no one would ask for your advice. So in the first years, I was able to look and understand how things work, and learn. You learn a lot when you listen! Things have changed a lot now. We are more and more women in the wine industry. It’s a positive change to see.
I believe in men and women complementarity, and what we achieve at Haut-Bailly is the result of a team which is passionate, meticulous and attentive in preserving and developing our soil and our vines in search of the optimal quality … This is how at Château Haut-Bailly there is a perfect parity in all fields!
Have you seen an evolution of attitudes in the business, towards drinking in general?
An increase in the quality of wines.
Does it affect business socialising?
The wine drinker sees winemaking as an art. He knows that we share culture, tradition and historical values, combined with a constant research for quality. The wine connoisseur of today is much more skilled and demanding. We cannot afford to disappoint him or her.
How to you cope with wellness pressures when you are travel, business and pleasure?
It’s a great challenge to always look good when you travel and drink as we travel to drink!
Do you see a difference in attitudes in different countries? When a wine is great, it generates emotion and this is universal
If you had just one or two top tips for women in wine wanting to stay well what would they be?
Be happy ! And share regularly a great wine with your beloved.
Good advice Veronique, thank-you.
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