Honouring a career spanning over 40 years, May de Lencquesaing, ‘Grande Dame’ of Glenelly Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, shareholder of iDealwine and former owner of Pichon Longueville de Lalande, has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s International Wine Challenge (IWC).
The IWC Lifetime Achievement Award honours a person within the trade who has shown dedication and commitment, and has made a significant difference to the global wine industry. Now in its 34th year, the IWC is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest and most meticulously judged wine competitions.
The ceremony took place on 6th July at the Hilton Park Lane in London in front of a sell-out audience of 650 winemakers, restaurateurs, trade and press from across the globe who gave May de Lencquesaing a standing ovation. Tim Atkin, Master of Wine and co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge, paid tribute to May at the Awards ceremony, “The winner of our Lifetime Achievement Award today is often described as ‘formidable’, both in English and French. Now into her tenth decade, with ten grandchildren and ten great grandchildren to match, she remains a considerable force of nature… Anyone who has been lucky enough to drink a bottle of the legendary 1982 Pichon Lalande and to see the foundations she laid at the Château will recognise what she achieved in Bordeaux; anyone who has tasted recent vintages of her Glenelly Lady May red will recognise what she has achieved in South Africa. Few people make such a mark on two continents.”
Strong Bordeaux roots
May de Lencquesaing is a member of one of Bordeaux’s oldest wine families, the Miailhe, whose place in the wine industry dates back to the end of the 18th century. Owners of the famous Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, they also owned or partly owned several other great Bordeaux châteaux, including Siran, Ducru-Beaucaillou and Palmer. Having spent many years travelling the globe with her late husband General Hervé de Lencquesaing, May took the helm of the family business in 1978. After a hugely successful tenure as head of Pichon Lalande, where she became affectionately known as ‘La Generale’, she sold the Château to Champagne Louis Roederer in 2007 to concentrate on her new wine estate in South Africa.
Glenelly, a South African vision
May de Lencquesaing had visited South Africa several times and recognised the great potential to grow world-class wines with the right microclimate. With this belief, in 2003 aged 78, she started a new adventure on South African soil when she bought Glenelly Estate on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain in Stellenbosch. She replanted the former fruit farm to pristine vineyards, built a state-of-the-art winery, a tasting centre, a museum for her precious glass collection and a school for the children on the farm, and began producing a highly-acclaimed range of wines. Aiming at becoming a world-class winelands destination, Glenelly opened a bistro with spectacular views on the vineyard and under the management of talented and highly respected French chef, Christophe Dehosse.
Should you visit South Africa, discovering this Estate should be at the top of your wish list and in the meantime, you can find Glenelly wines regularly offered on iDealwine.
In line with the time: iDealwine
In 2014, May de Lencquesaing decided to join forces to support iDealwine’s development. Sharing a vision on the evolution of the road-to-market for grand crus, this strategic association aimed at boosting iDealwine’s leadership in the online auction and e-retailing. Cyrille Jomand, President of iDealwine, declared at the time: « this partnership reinforces the common values we share with May de Lencquesaing. With a strong entrepreneurial approach, it will give iDealwine the financial and human tools necessary to impose our model at an international level.” After more than 3 years, the international development of iDealwine has been a real driver of the company’s growth. Private and trade customers now come from over 55 countries, mostly Europe and Asia. May de Lencquesaing contributed here again through iDealwine to the promotion and access to fine wines around the world.
Watch the IWC video featuring the Lifetime Achievement Award presentation, speeches and interview
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