The daughter of a château owner. A sommelier. A golfer. The son of a photographer…There’s a lot of young talent in the wine business, coming from different directions. These 30 are rising to the top.
We canvassed our colleagues in the world of wine to find the most creative and accomplished young talent in wine today. All of them are 30 years old or younger; some of them make wine, while others sell it. All of them are names to know: This is the next generation in wine.
Now 28, he was, in fact, a trainee as a child, tasting finished wines in the cellar as well as musts, lees and grapes—green, ripe and rotten. He pursued his father’s trade with diligence, earning a degree in viticulture and spending a year working under Francois Chidaine in Montlouis and another in the vineyards of the Langue-doc with Olivier Jullien. Meanwhile, Didier Dagueneau’s name had become synonymous with terroir-driven Loire Valley sauvignon blanc. He was a master of phenolics, a dog-sled racer and a risk taker, challenging convention with his wines and his personal style—a shoo-in at any Jerry Garcia look-alike contest. Tragically, Didier’s ultralight plane crashed into the Dordogne and caught fire a few short weeks before the 2008 harvest.
The success of the 2008 and 2009 vintages has reassured oenophiles the world over. At the helm of both the St-Andelain property and the family’s venture in Jurancon (Les Jardins de Babylone), Benjamin continues to raise the bar. He and his sister, Charlotte, have given the estate a surge of new energy; aside from their work on the wines, they’ve installed solar panels on the winery roof. “To continue to keep alive what my father built is important to me,” he says. “And the domaine must continue to evolve in that same spirit.”