Sisters in life and in wine: the story of the women at the helm of Bodega Lagarde

08 Oct 2020

Founded in 1897, Lagarde is one of the oldest and most traditional family wineries in Argentina, one of which has shaped the taste of national palates. Since 2018 it has been certified under the condition of organic by the International Agricultural Organization (OIA).

The winery is run by Sofía Pescarmona, always full of ideas promoting maintaining the tradition of its classic lines and modern renovation with a feminine look.

Founded in 1897, Lagarde is one of the oldest and most traditional family wineries in Argentina, one of which has shaped the taste of national palates. Sofía Pescarmona is in charge of the winery and is always full of ideas promoting maintaining the tradition of its classic lines and modern renovation with a feminine look.

In the 1960s it was acquired by the Pescarmona family and now the sisters Sofía and Lucila are the third generation in charge of the fate of this winery with one of the most extensive portfolios in the country. In addition to maintaining the tradition of wines, they have just launched their own line, Proyecto Hermanas, with touches of modernity and good taste.

VOS spoke with Sofía about the main guidelines that govern the winery in the current scenario.

How do you satisfy the demand of those who are looking for an everyday wine and those who are inclined towards the high range?

Since I entered the winery, in 2001, I sought for the wines to be elegant, but to have a more gastronomic look in their creation, so that they were wines that could accompany the different moments in the lives of our consumers. Since then, we have created a line of high-end wines, which come from our most precious vineyards, and also a line of organic wines, which are designed for daily consumption and which speak of our concern for sustainability.

With one of the most extensive portfolios in the national market, how do you consider the permanence of an identity?

Over the years, with our winemaker Juan Roby, we realized that wines had to be liked by us and then the consumer would like them. There were times when we wanted to make wines for certain markets, but we understood that Lagarde and her identity could not be adapted to each country or region. From then on, we established that our wines had to be elegant, gastronomic, with aging potential, and reflect the land from which they come. Today we can say that our wines are not the same as 30 years ago, but we are also convinced that we have evolved by finding new consumers along the way.

Commitment to the environment and sustainability is at the top of the agenda in wine production. How do they make that commitment?

Since its inception, Lagarde accompanied the production of its wines with a criterion of sustainability through a management model that promotes respect for people, the community and the environment. We always say that in each bottle we honor what nature offers us through the land, the climate and the vineyard. A few years ago we started the process to certify our oldest vineyard, planted in 1906. Organic certification commits us personally, professionally and legally to making decisions considering the long-term consequences and forces us to continually improve.

How do women get along with the previous generation, in a world as masculine as that of wine? At the beginning it was a very masculine world and in some areas it still is, there are still more men than women winemakers, there are more men than women in hierarchical positions, but it is changing. In our company, we are many women and that is what we always aspire to.

How was Proyecto Hermanas born within a portfolio as large as Lagarde’s?

This line was born as a project with my sister Lucila. We think of it as something to have fun and miss each other less, because in every decision we work together. Lucila lives in the United States, in charge of foreign trade, and I live in Mendoza, in charge of the day-to-day running of the winery. Sisters Project is a way of crossing our paths every day. We have a line of four wines and we seek to experiment and encourage varietals that are not so traditional or different cuts, experimenting with our high altitude vineyards. We allow ourselves a more feminine and modern look, for example with Malbec-Cabernet Franc.

How do you maintain the prestige of a wine like Henry?

Our icon wine is and will always be Henry Gran Guarda. It is a wine that, although it is very traditional, being a cut that changes from year to year, never ceases to surprise us. It is made by my father Enrique together with our winemaker on the basis of the best grapes from the harvest, and this year the Henry Pure cabernet sauvignon 2017 will be released. In this way, we try to continue surprising the consumer by maintaining the same principles: manual harvest, elaboration traditional, two years of aging in French oak barrels and one year of stowage before going on the market.

Do organic wines represent a new stage in national consumption?

Having a line of organic wines seemed like a very natural way for us and we are currently in the process of certifying all our vineyards. It is a process that requires time and patience. The grapes with which we make Lagarde Organic come from our estate in Mayor Drummond, a 1906 vineyard. I would tell you that both are seductive, honest and elegant wines, which have not had any intervention in their vinification processes or passage through wood in order to preserve its naturalness. Our work with ancient and organic vineyards is not a trend for us, but a way of life.

What strategies do you develop to attract young audiences?

Today’s consumer is very interested in knowing if what they buy was produced in a sustainable way and in harmony with the environment. That commitment is what Lagarde has maintained since its inception and we worked to create our line of organic wines. We are also constantly experimenting with new cuts and varietals. Renewing is a way of maintaining tradition. With Proyecto Hermanas we try to expose the best of Lagarde with our feminine gaze and with an innovative vision.

Source: Vos La Voz