NEW YORK - Isabel Ferrando is the owner, winemaker and driving force behind Domaine St Préfert, Domaine Ferrando and the négociant business Isabel de France. In 2013 she celebrated her 10th anniversary at Domaine Saint Préfert, a property that she has taken to the very top of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape pyramid, with her highly sought after Auguste Favier and Charles Giraud bottlings – a great achievement in such a short time. In the last ten years, she has doubled her vineyard holdings in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which now total 24 hectares, and the Domaine is to receive its official organic certification this year. Isabel's newest project is a Côtes du Rhône made from four hectares in the south of the CNDP appellation.
Where were you born?
In Carpentras (France), a small town 10 kilometers from Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
What was your best memory growing up?
My grandmother’s cooking. The smell in her kitchen.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a painter.
Where/what did you study?
I studied political science, then Museum Management in Grenoble, France, then a Masters in Finance in Paris.
Any formal wine training?
A Diploma in Oenology and Agriculture.
Who was your mentor?
Dominique Ay in Gigondas and, from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Henri Bonneau and Lucien Michel (Vieux Donjon).
What are your views on agriculture: Sustainable? Organic? Biodynamic?
Organic. It is evident.
What was the best advice you ever received?
What instantly brings a smile to your face?
Outside wine, what is your passion?
What is the last movie you saw?
Yves Saint Laurent, a fabulous story about the French fashion icon.
What’s your guilty secret?
Shopping, shopping, shopping!
What “addiction” would you most like to give up?
What are you craving right now?
To pick the grapes off the vines immediately (January 2014).
Who was the first person you spoke to today?
My dog "Mimine."
Early to rise, late to bed; burn the candle at both ends?
Early to rise, early to bed. I like to wake up very early in the morning. To live in Châteauneuf-du-Pape is incredible... the sky in the morning is so beautiful.
One daughter: Guillemette, age 16.
Favourite place to vacation?
Île de Porquerolles in the Mediterranean.
Favourite hotel in the world?
Hotel Monaco and Grand Canal in Venice, Italy and their bar, which has an amazing view out to sea.
Favourite local hotel?
Hotel Belles Rives in Juan les Pins, France and its Piano-Bar Fitzgerald.
Favourite restaurant in the world?
Le Cinq in the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris with their fabulous team of sommeliers.
Favourite local restaurant?
Christian Étienne in Avignon, France and its fabulous view of the Palais des Papes.
Favourite city to visit?
New York, I love everything in NY!
Favourite wine/vintage from your winery?
2009, Collection Charles GIRAUD... In magnum !
Favourite wine/vintage, that is not yours?
Meursault Genevrieres, Francois Jobard 2004. We had some on New Year's Eve with my friend and importer Daniel Johnnes at his home in New York.
My job, each morning, each evening, each year....
Never meeting the French writer Romain Gary who died when I was young.
If you could choose your perfect last supper before leaving this world, what would it be, who would it be with and what would you drink with it?
The perfect supper before leaving this world would be: omelette with truffles, a small bird on a spit, goat cheese and chocolate cake. It would be with my daughter Guillemette, my parents who I love so much and my husband. I would like to drink a white burgundy, probably Puligny-Montrachet, Clos de la Mouchere Henri Boillot 2002 with the omelette, Henri Bonneau’s Reserve des Celestins 1998 with the birds, a "vin jaune" from Jura from Macle Estate 1990 with the cheeses and a Bandol, Domaine Pibarnon 2001 with chocolate.