Bordeaux is coming back to the pre-phylloxera winemaking experience. Jane Anson`s vision


Recently, the Incubator of Bernard Magrez hosted a very special event – a conference and business networking event Big Mentor Day, headlined by the famous wine critic and journalist Jane Anson (the UK) and the modernist and very talented winemaker Loic Pasquet (France). Very open-minded bright person – Lady Jane Anson warmly prized our representative with her time and attention and gave an unexpected opportunity for an interesting conversation during the conference break for lunch.

It should be noted that the Wine Travel Awards project became a member of the Bernard Magrez Incubator a year ago. This project was chosen among 2000 applicants as a promising start-up in wine tourism and as a platform for networking for all branches of the wine community. Thanks to the incubator, we, the project team, have the opportunity to learn from the examples of our colleagues, meet many prominent people who write the modern history of wine and share useful information about current events and the daily life of the wine industry.

That morning I had mixed feelings of excitement and excitation.

9 a.m. Two black Mercedes Mini Van parked in front of the Incubator of Bernard Magrez in Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux/France.

She slipped out of the car and entered by her light steps into a spacious hall. Jane Anson, a prominent personality of the Bordeaux wine elite, was followed by dozens of young people in a procession of honour. Their appearance talked clearly that they had arrived at Big Mentor Week from all over the world. The lucky ones who won have a chance to discover the hidden pearls of the Bordeaux wine region thanks to the support of the Gerard Basset Foundation!

I heard my heartbeat strongly… But, fortunately for me, Jane was accompanied by her business partner, Chinedu Rita Rosa, whom I knew thanks to one of my classmates from my time at the Bordeaux International Business School studying wine marketing and management. So, I breathed a sigh of relief and after enduring a pause and contemplating the warm greetings of the guests both scholars and representatives of start-up Win of Bernard Magrez Incubator, I finally approached to shake hands with the woman, meeting with whom was an unattainable dream for me a few years ago. Chinedu warmly welcomed me and introduced to Jane. We had a three-way conversation later that day.

Ljudmila Bobik: As we know you have been here in Bordeaux for more than 20 years, aren’t you?

Jane Anson: Almost exactly, – replied Jane. It was September 2003, when I moved here.

L.B.: Why did you decide to choose Bordeaux and not Burgundy or Champagne wine regions?

J.A.:  Those were the other two places we’d considered moving to, who’s gonna be either Bordeaux or Champagne or Burgundy. And we decided Burgundy was too far away from England, to be honest, and we wanted to fly home easily. And there is one hour from London to Bordeaux. So very practical reason. We decided Champagne was a little bit too North and maybe the weather wouldn’t be so good.

L.B.: Yes, 20 years ago definitely!

J.A.: Yeah, but not today, – Jane smiled. And maybe it’s more expensive as it’s closer to Paris, so, yes…we didn’t… we’ve moved here (Bordeaux) with really had nothing at all. We didn’t have jobs, we didn’t have a ton of money, we just moved in to see what would happen. ‘Cause we were in the EU at the time, before Brexit you could do that! But now, somebody couldn’t do what I was doing because of Brexit… So, they’ve destroyed a lot of possibilities for the young generation.

Also, the other reason was, the people of Bordeaux have a big worldwide reputation. So, as a writer, I knew if I moved to Bordeaux I could sell stories, so could earn money. Because I needed money to live and to pay my bills, I thought Bordeaux was a sensible place to move to from the practical point of view, ‘cause it’s a well-known wine region.

L.B.: I think, also, ‘cause Robert Parker made it loud the name “Bordeaux”

J.A.: Yes, agree, that’s true. But I think Bordeaux had 2,000 years of great history long before Robert Parker came along.

L.B.:. When did you start to write for Decanter? Share, please, your story.

J.A.: I started with Decanter when I moved here which means 20 years ago. And before that moment I was already a journalist, but not a wine writer. I was able to use my skills as a journalist to research asking my questions, to not be afraid of getting things wrong, as a journalist you need to verify, verify, but ask the questions. Also, I was lucky enough to meet those people who compatitate me seriously and who helped me to study. I began my wine education with WSET. It was great as a broad overview of the economy and geography of wine, but for my tasting abilities it was really taking the DUAD tasting diploma at the Bordeaux Institute of oenology that made me more confident in my abilities. At the same time I was writing books, and the research involved in books helped me along the way to get more knowledge. Writing Inside Bordeaux was a culmination of all that time living and learning about Bordeaux, and I knew that I was able to offer a different point of view on the region. Covid made a big difference because during Covid I was doing a lot of online tastings for Pall Mall 67 that helped make my profile higher. I’m really grateful for having worked with Decanter for so long, but it felt like the right time to leave and begin something on my own. My last tasting with them was an online tasting of Château Margaux, a great one to finish on!

L.B.: Can you say that you are a witness of real big changes in Bordeaux that started at the end of 1990th, a witness of the real modern development of the Bordeaux wine region?

J.A.: Yes, you are right. It was not only Robert Parker who had a lot to do with the development of Bordeaux but also people like Michel Rolland or Denis Dubourdieu. There were a lot of key figures in Bordeaux at that time who were either consultants or winemakers or professors, who did a lot of things trying to help understand this region. I think one thing quite interesting in the change – when I came in 2003, a lot of that stuff they were doing within the wineries they making sure you had clean vinification and Denis Dubourdieu did a lot of work with yeasts, what were the right yeasts to use. And I think today the shift is gone really back to the vineyard and people really really much more interested now in terroir, in organics, biodynamics, sustainability, environmental things. Which is wonderful!

L.B.: We are going to be close to nature, to the natural processes, aren’t we?

J.A.: Exactly. We are going back in time! More turn how it was hundred years ago.

L.B.: Bordeaux was always an unreachable legend and how did this trend start changing during the last years? When Bordeaux become more open?

J.A.: Yes, I think that what I’m doing with Chichi is important in changing the conversation around Bordeaux. In many ways as a port city Bordeaux has always been open to new consumers and new markets, but internally it can be very traditional. Understanding Bordeaux is a great way to be taken seriously in a wine career, and Chichi and I wanted to help find a way for people from other places who maybe have barriers to progressing, whether economic, geographic, cultural, whatever, to get a shortcut to this knowledge, and help set up an exchange – because Bordeaux also benefits from meeting this brilliant next generation of the wine industry.

L.B.: Dear Jane, I’d like to thank you, as many wine lovers would also do, for your in-depth writing work “Inside Bordeaux” which is nowadays the best seller and where you show and explain that new vision of this legendary wine region! You, as a woman, who moved to a new unknown to you country and made yourself who you are today in a business where the majority of the representatives are male, is very inspiring!



Lady Jane Anson – the famous wine writer, wine critic, and author of dozens of books, thousands of articles and essays about the Bordeaux wine region, its history, viticulture, wine estates, wine trade and business. To make even brighter the portrait I’d like to add a short comment from Chinedu Rita Rosa, who is also a very talented businesswoman in the world of wine and the founder of the first Woman Bordeaux Business Network Association.

I’d like to mention one thing which is very keen to what she’s done and what she continues to do is – she is English, she’s not married to a French man, she’s not connected to any of French wine families, she doesn’t have any present, past, future we don’t not yet and she came to this region as a passionate outsider, passionate about her writings, not the wine. She is a passionate writer and wine came after. And while you are reading her book about Bordeaux it’s a flow of the sentences. Not many books are written in the way you become excited by the style of writing. So, in Jane, I see first of all a very talented writer who can make any topic become interesting!