Mr. Pinot Noir becomes wine packaging's prince

Tue Nov 9, 2010 5:00am EST
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Jean-Charles Boisset, scion of Burgundy's largest wine empire, has been called Mr. Pinot Noir for his enthusiasm for the grape that he tends on both sides of the Atlantic.

The 41-year-old, who spent much of his youth in California soaking up sun, surf and a business degree, lives his life by a few rules he learned as a child.

"We are the stewards of the earth - this I learned from my grandmothers," said Boisset, who married into a U.S. wine dynasty last year when he wed Gina Gallo.

During his childhood in Vougeot, France, one grandmother, a science teacher, "taught me about nature. About how important each part of nature is - the insects, the plants. And from her I really learned about organic and biodynamic farming."

His other grandmother taught him about recycling.

"I was a little kid, maybe eight years old and I was cooking with her in the kitchen. And I took a piece of foil and tossed it away." Miming being pulled by the ear, Boisset continued, "She came over to me and said, 'Jean-Charles what are you doing? This little piece of foil could be used many, many times. So instead of throwing it away, why don't you wash it instead.'"

That's where he learned about recycling.

Boisset's blue eyes light up recalling when he first learned that 70 percent of the some 31 billion bottles of wine drunk each year sell for $10 or less per bottle. "And of that 70 percent, another 70 percent are drunk within half-an-hour to three hours.   Continued...