Corinne Mentzelopoulos has decided to retire from her position as CEO of Chateau Margaux’s holding company after 43 years in charge, and the reins will now be formally passed to the next generation.
Her son, Alexis Leven-Mentzelopoulos, 30, will take over as head of Château Margaux. He joined the Bordeaux first growth in 2020 as business development director, before being appointed deputy general manager in charge of strategy and development in September 2021.
His sister, Alexandra Petit-Mentzelopoulos, will become president of the holding company’s supervisory board. She has spent the past 11 years as part of the estate team, first as brand ambassador, and then deputy managing director of communication and image since 2016.
Decanter jointly spoke to both Alexis and Alexandra about the new structure and what the future holds for Château Margaux.
‘It’s big news of course, after 43 years of management by my mother,’ Leven-Mentzelopoulos said.
‘Château Margaux was her life and her passion, but recently she’s been a bit less hands-on in some ways on a daily basis, and of course one of our objectives from the very beginning was for it to stay in the family.
‘We’re one of the only ones at this level to be owned by so few family members [some wine estates have a large group of extended family members and other parties as shareholders].’
He added, ‘We have a second sister who is not involved but is also a shareholder, so it’s really the continuation of the family business – my mother will in someway stay involved and continue to be aware of what’s going on because she’s passionate about it, and I’ll be happy to tell her the big news that is going on.’
Leven-Mentzelopoulos said there wouldn’t be any significant changes in the immediate future and confirmed that the existing winemaking and technical teams will remain in place.
‘We have our amazing terroir, which of course stays the same, we have a fantastic technical team, which my mother put in place and which we’ll be relying on – all the team will stay the same. The moment is to respect Château Margaux and to continue to produce a great wine each year.
‘Every management is different and every generation sees things a bit differently, so in that respect this will be a change but the passion of Margaux is the same and as for the quality of the wine, we’ll do everything we can to make sure that stays the same.’
‘There’s a lot of pressure…but it’s a dream come true’
When asked if he feels any pressure taking up the helm at such a young age, he replied: ‘There’s a lot of pressure, it’s a huge amount of responsibility, especially when you’re so young, right? I’m 30 years old, but at the same time, even more than some pressure, it’s determination. I’m very motivated and I feel there’s no choice other than to make it work.
‘Château Margaux needs it, the team needs it, every wine lover that loves Château Margaux wants it to continue to work so well, so of course there’s responsibility, I totally realise that. A lot of things are waiting for me, but it’s a dream come true.’
With the estate at the top of its game in terms of prestige, reputation and wine quality, Leven-Mentzelopoulos finds that although it’s perhaps an easier job than it was in the 1980s, there are still modern-day challenges that will need addressing.
‘The big difference between when my mother took over at 27 years old in 1980 was it was at time when Château Margaux was just emerging from the major economical and qualitative crisis – she had a lot more to do in some ways,’ he said.
‘Every generation has its own dilemmas to deal with’
‘When I inherited it today, it could hardly be in a better state – the wines are amazing, financially people are willing to purchase the wines…
Source : https://www.decanter.com/wine-news/alexis-leven-mentzelopoulos-becomes-head-of-chateau-margaux-514212/