Alain Pailley

OENOLOGIST

 

Alain Pailley, cellar master at Bonnet for 37 years, is always
the most in demand. He's an artist in every sense of the word; in his spare time, he enjoys making origami and sculpting marble.

His taste buds produce focused Champagnes such as the Grande Réserve, Blanc de Noirs and Perle Rosé.

The proud son of farmers, Alain soon broke new ground.
At the top of his class, he enrolled at the National School of
Agricultural Engineers at Dijon.

“I wanted to do fine arts; my father didn’t agree”. Fortunately,
one of his tutors, Michel Feuillat, the founder of the Jules Guyot Institute – the Institute of Wine and Vine at the University of Burgundy – allowed him to study oenology at the same time.

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The good fairy of wine science crossed his path. Alain's family had been making some wine, but this opened up new horizons. Alain completed his degrees in agricultural engineering and in oenology, and three days later he was getting married. Military service caught up with him next and that’s how he came to find himself a volunteer in Mayotte, off the East African coast, replanting trees to restore eroded and depleted soil. His wife, by then expecting their first child, joined him. “She cried for a week when she saw the state of things.” Their son, Quentin, was born there. Upon his return to France, Alain found a job in the Diois, a charming region at the foothills of the Alps, home to the Clairette de Die. There, Alain made... still wines.

He eventually went back to Burgundy and his mother sent him a job post she had come across: Champagne Bonnet was looking for workers. Alain was over-qualified, but his background in winemaking caught the attention of Serge Bonnet, one of the two owners. Alain took his first steps at what is now known as Champagne Alexandre Bonnet in February 1985.

 

He spent most of his time in the vineyards at first, then more and more in the cellar. His family grew with Benjamin, then Antonin. In 1998, Alain became full-time cellar master. The business changed in scale and his role evolved, with new cuvées and a more diverse range -enough to keep Alain busy for the years to come!