Nathalie Vignier’s family history in Champagne dates back to 1530 to Nicolas Vignier who lived in Bars sur Seine. Nicolas was a physician, lawyer, theologian and the court historian for Henry III. Nathalie is now the 10th generation engaged in viticulture and winemaking in Champagne, and the 6th generation in the Grand Cru Village of Cramant. Her grandfather, Paul LeBrun, had 2 ha in the early 20th Century and resolved to become an independent vigneron by separating himself from the big négociants after World War I; he was one of the first to do so in the Côte des Blancs in 1920. The wines were first imported to the United States by Frank Schoonmaker, a long-time collaborator in the wine trade with Alexis Lichene–two of the most influential wine writers in US history, spanning several decades.
Vignier’s holdings are now in the Grand Cru Villages of Cramant, Chouilly and Oiry, as well as some parcels in the Côte de Sézanne. Nathalie first worked as an insurance adjuster for wineries in Burgundy and Champagne and was called home to take over the estate by her father. She is slowly aligning the estate to her philosophy: higher ripeness, a return of oak to the cellar and no use of herbicides or pesticides. The Vignier family motto is “La bonté de l’esprit et la grandeur de courage,” which means “the goodness in spirit, and the courage to greatness.” There is a lot to look forward to from this grower in the future.