Q: Tell us a little about yourself. What's your background?
A: I am a licensed California Architect who was raised and educated in Georgia. In my profession, one naturally seeks to understand how a space or building evokes a response from us as humans, much the way art can. What draws me to the grower Champagne world is the artistic expression of a particular Champagne.
Q: How would you describe grower Champagne, and what makes it unique?
A: Grower Champagne is made by the families that own the vineyards, grow the grapes, and produce their own Champagne. These Champagnes specifically express the terroir of the particular vineyard where they are grown and are very small in production. By contrast, the larger Champagne houses – Veuve Clicquot, Moët & Chandon, Laurent Perrier – typically blend grapes from any number of vineyards across the region of Champagne.
Q: When did you first fall in love with Champagne?
A: I have loved Champagne since my early 20s, but never had the access to anything other than the mass-marketed, well-known brands local wine retailers offered. After years of tasting the same, I pondered why there aren’t more choices of French Champagne in the U.S.? Only about four years ago, I was introduced to grower Champagne. The more I learned, the more I wanted to share it with others.
Q: Tell us about the female experience in the wine industry.
A: While men tend to dominate the business of the Champagne world in France, I find that many growers have women at the helm in significant roles such as owners, winemakers, or in the business of farming. Women typically have a more sensitive palate, which is perfect for making Champagne. Recent reports indicate that women are finally starting to be recognized as major contributors in this field!
Q: Who is a woman you admire in the industry?
A: I simply love the fourth generation winemaker, Carole Doyard, of Doyard Mahé Champagne. As a winemaker, Carole has an eloquence that gives her Champagnes a wow factor. So subtly beautiful, and yet, such dimension with a bright refreshing finish. As a businesswoman, she is respected, fair, and honest. Also, she is a wonderful mother of three children. So basically, she’s a rockstar!
Q: A portion of your proceeds benefit women and girls in STEM education through the Double Xs program - when did your passion for this initiative begin?
A: I spent four years volunteering at The Buck Institute (the Science and Research on Aging) as an architect prior to starting Sherri’s Champagne. As very few researchers are women in this space, and it is increasingly difficult to secure grants, it simply made sense to form a women’s group that supports women. That is where the XX (female chromosomes) group started – and with raising a daughter, it is a perfect fit! Our group funds the postdoctoral work of one female scientist each year, as well as summer programs to educate girls in science.
Q: When selecting bottles for your Champagne Club, what do you look for amongst the small growers in France?
A: I look at different regions of Champagne, and if possible, I try and find organic or biodynamic farmers. I focus on a Champagne that is well developed… a nice nose with aromas, a little acid, a touch of minerality, smaller bubbles, and a good finish. It is easy to enjoy the Champagnes in the Grand Cru or Premier Cru regions; several of this caliber are always included in the club. I do not personally prefer sweet-tasting Champagnes with a heavy dosage (added sugar), so you will not find anything other than Brut Nature (0-3g/liter), Extra-Brut (0-6g/liter) or Brut (0-12 g/liter) Champagnes in the club selections!
Q: What trends excite you most about Champagne production right now?
A: Champagnes are becoming brighter and more acidic with consumers desiring Champagnes with less sweetness. Brut Nature is the term used to classify Champagnes that have zero sugar or dosage added. These Champagnes are nicely paired with seafood, balancing the salient food with the noticeable minerality of the Champagne.
Q: What is your favorite Champagne + food pairing?
A: I simply love a triple cream brie alongside a glass of a Champagne… truffles are a close second! They both bring out the flavors exponentially. So many foods can be paired with Champagne – my favorite meal is fried chicken and Champagne!
Q: What do you think makes Champagne so celebratory?
A: The bubbles, of course! It takes a great investment of time, skill, and money to produce Champagne, let alone good Champagne. Opening a bottle of Champagne that has been waiting for that perfect moment is an honor, and sharing it with others is unquestionably memorable.
Q: What’s a common misconception about Champagne?
A: That it will give you a hangover. If you are enjoying a good Champagne from France – a Brut, Extra-Brut, or Brut Nature – there is very little sugar or alcohol in it. Drinking Champagne can help balance your physical and mental health. It is reported by recent scientific research that it can help prevent Alzheimer's disease. I will toast to that!
A: Join Sherri’s Champagne Club! Seriously, I designed the club around the idea that we just need to taste more styles of Champagnes to truly understand what we prefer. I select six unique producers for each delivery, which occurs twice per year. In each shipment, there are Blanc de Blancs, Cuvées, Blanc de Noirs, and a Rosé. I include tasting notes for each of the Champagnes, the families, and their crus (villages).
The process of cultivating your Champagne knowledge will surely lead to a multitude of memories and exquisite Champagne shared amongst friends. The only question left is, "What are you waiting for?" Allons-y!