Jean-Claude Rouzaud had handed control of Champagne Louis Roederer to his son Frederic, while he takes on the role of chairman of the group.
Known as ‘the Sage of Reims’ for his sure-footed leadership of one of the last family-owned Champagne businesses during a vital period of expansion, Rouzaud was Decanter’s Man of the Year in 2001.
Since joining the company in 1967 Rouzaud has transformed Roederer – makers of Cristal – into one the most highly regarded Grandes Marques, as well as taking on a clutch of prestigious wine names around the wine world.
The properties and interests include Roederer Estate in California, Champagne Deutz, Port producer Ramos Pinto, Delas Frères in the Rhône, Domaines Ott in Provence and, in Bordeaux, two St Estephe crus bourgeois, Chateau de Pez and Chateau Haut-Beausejour, and a négociant business.
‘I loved the viticulture and winemaking but the politics at that time were terrible,’ Rouzaud told Decanter, describing how he became known as a radical moderniser when he joined Roederer at the age of 25.
Frederic Rouzaud, 38, now takes the reins as managing director. He has worked at Roederer since 1996, and masterminded the purchase of Domaines Ott in 2004.
‘It’s a meeting of like minds,’ he said of the acquisition at the time.
Written by Adam Lechmere