Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard has named its fourth winemaker in 10 years, Katell Griaud, following the sudden departure in February of Charles Gendrot. Griaud’s hire solidifies the prominence of controversial wine consultant Michel Rolland in Kluge’s operations. Griaud comes to Patricia Kluge’s business from Rolland’s lab in France where she was a winemaker-consultant. In addition, Kluge Estate announced today a reorganization of the winery and 220-acre vineyard that puts Gregory Brun in charge of both. Jonathan Wheeler will now direct the sparkling wine program.
While Rolland is, in some parts of the wine industry a reviled or at least controversial figure (see Mondovino) who is associated with unwelcome standardization of an artisanal agricultural product, he is a welcome figure at Kluge, where he has long been a consultant. Indeed, in March, Reggie Ryals, the head of human resources for Kluge Estate, told C-VILLE that they had been conducting a long-term study of the company “for both economic reasons and efficiency reasons” and, with the advice of Rolland, would restructure operations to have one winemaker for the reds and one for the sparkling wines. With Griaud’s hire, they seem to have followed Rolland’s advice very closely.
Kluge Estate produces nine wines and was opened in 1999.
Patricia Kluge went only a couple of months without a winemaker, her fourth in 10 years.