Meet Emma Bertrand: The Face of Modern Wine

Arriving at Chateau L’Hospitalet in Narbonne in the south of France, I was immersed in the joie de vivre of the Gérard Bertrand brand. Bertrand’s daughter Emma shared: “When people come, they really feel the brand. We want to do that through our hospitality.” At check-in, I was handed a glass of rosé. The sun was shining, and I felt the warm Mediterranean breeze. They accomplished their goal. When Gérard arrived, I was struck by his height and thick, wavy, almost curly mane. Next to him were two women, almost identical in looks, though different in age. I quickly realized this was Gérard’s wife, Ingrid, and his daughter, Emma. 

Photo credit: Oliver Lebaron

Emma is short in stature, but her mane of flowing locks (like her father’s) is hard to ignore. In her early 20s, Emma is the Creative Director of all 17 estates in the south of France under the Gérard Bertrand brand. She manages eight team members and oversees content creation, graphic design, packaging, website, social media, influencers, and digital activations.

Photo Credit: Soufiane Zaidi

Emma is a part of the fourth generation of the family winery business. Gérard grew up in Corbières at Château de Villemajou, learning about wine from his father. In his youth, he took a detour as an international rugby player, but after his father’s untimely death when Gérard was 22, he took over the family winery and has never looked back. Now, the brand boasts 2,283 acres under vine, all organic and biodynamically farmed.

Photo Credit: Geoffrey Lucas

Though she joined the team only three years ago, Emma shares that she was born in the vineyard at Cigalus Estate. “I’ve always been part of the journey. There were no neighbors. I was just lost in nature.” At 15, the first time she left the vineyard and went into the market, she knew she would work for the family business. Her father sent her to New York for one week to work with the US brand ambassador. “In that week, by sharing my family story, I returned home and knew I wanted to do this. I felt so close to the values being spoken about.” 

“My father is a very passionate man. A strong perfectionist in everything he does.” She shares that having a father with that trait wasn’t easy.  She continues, “I’m inspired by him. He is why I can dream big and go beyond my limits. He taught me that.” This drive helped her succeed at the OIV Master of Science in Wine Management. She and her classmates visited 25 countries over 11 months in this rigorous program. This involved meeting with 3-4 winemakers daily and tasting, on average, 100 wines per week.

Photo Credit: Soufiane Zaidi

After this experience, she tried to work for other companies and took other internships. But to Emma, “It was like my head was in one place and her heart was in another place.” She continues, “My parents always said to follow my heart, which is why I joined the company so early, at the age of 21.” 

Emma is uniquely suited to speak about young people and wine, as she is quite young and is the creative director of the wine brand globally recognized as the largest biodynamic vineyard in the world. Statistics continue to show that young people are drinking less alcohol. But Emma takes a moment to reinforce that “They are drinking better and experimenting with what they drink.” The Gérard Bertrand brands feature six distinct orange wines, pet nats, and wine cocktails. The brand is staying fresh and dynamic. Emma says, “The world of wine is moving and interesting to see. We aim to reach these young people digitally, specifically on social media.” 

Photo Credit: Soufiane Zaidi

As Creative Director of Gérard Bertrand brands, Emma “wants our customers to understand the meaning of each of our brands and the universe they live in. I want the experience to give them an emotional link with the brand and to help them understand who we are and what we do.” By all accounts, Gérard Bertrand is succeeding.

Brianne Cohen is an LA based event producer, certified sommelier, wine educator, and wine writer. During the pandemic, Brianne entertained over 7,000 people through her “Virtual Vino” online wine classes, regularly highlighting diverse (i.e. Black, BIPOC, female, and LGBT) owned wineries. She now offers both in-person (and virtual) wine tasting experiences for her corporate clients. Brianne regularly judges at international wine competitions, including the International Wine Challenge (IWC) in London and holds the WSET Diploma certificate. She writes on her own blog and for outlets such as Decanter, Vintner Project, and Kiplinger. She also holds an MBA from Loyola Marymount University. Brianne Cohen Wine & Events is a certified woman-owned business with WBENC.