Harvesting the Vines: In Conversation with Julie Cavil, Krug’s First Female Cellar Master

Harvesting the Vines: In Conversation with Julie Cavil, Krug’s First Female Cellar Master

The first female Cellar Master of champagne house Krug, Julie Cavil talks us through the legacy of her craft and shares her favourite spots to eat, sleep and savour a bottle of bubbly in Champagne.

In partnership withKrug Champagne

job of dreams for any oenophile, leading the charge on all
manner of things at Krug is Julie Cavil’s role, from passing down the
tricks of the trade to the house’s next generation of winemakers,
to upholding Krug’s revered legacy, while maintaining a
forward-facing, sustainable mindset. It’s a lot to take on, yet
Julie is undeterred – rather, she finds it a privilege to have been
able to turn her passion into a profession.

In celebration of the humble grape and as part of our ongoing
partnership with Krug, Julie here lets us in on the legacy of her
craft, her favourite places to eat, sleep and drink in Champagne
and what we should look for when selecting a champagne.

How did you make your way into the wine world?

I had a previous life working at an advertising agency in
where I was an account director. It was there that I met my
husband. Both of us are wine lovers and it became my dream to
pursue a career in the field. Our passion drove us to Champagne in
2002, where I went back to school and studied oenology. I was an
anomaly at the time – I wasn’t from the region, I was older than
the other students and I was already a mother. Despite all this, I
graduated in 2006, and Krug opened its doors to me with
characteristic generosity.

Talk us through the role of Cellar Master at Krug…

As Cellar Master, my role at Krug is threefold, incorporating
the past, present and future. It begins with recreating a new
edition of Krug Grande Cuvée each year, an act which comes with a
responsibility to preserve our heritage, handed down to us by our
predecessors. I also have a duty to protect the longevity of the
house for the next generation and train the younger members of our
team, which is why we tend our terroir sustainably and continue to
value transmission.

You’re the first female Cellar Master at Krug. What are you
hoping to bring to the role?

There is no “before” or “after” with my role because the notion
of generosity and transmission has been rooted in our craft for
generations. My responsibility is thus one of continuity, in order
to protect the fundamentals of the craft that have been passed on
to me, but also one of adaptation to our changing environment.
That’s what being sustainable is all about. These changes will take
place in two major areas for us. Firstly, through the new winery,
Joseph 2.0, which will provide ideal conditions for the birth of
our wines for future generations. Secondly, by maintaining our high
standards of vineyards in the short, medium and long term as we
continue to honour the Champagne region and the diversity of its

Women remain disproportionately underrepresented in the wine
world. What words of wisdom would you give to young women looking
to forge a career in the industry?

First of all, I think it’s important not to approach the subject
by pitting women against men. I sincerely believe that everyone’s
background, education, life experience and intrinsic personality
transcends gender. I’m certainly happy to see more female talent
being recognised, but the important thing to remember is that they
are, first and foremost, talented. I also believe in the power of
diversity and inclusion. Our Krug Tasting Committee is a great
example of how rich the results can be when we bring together a mix
of generations, genders and professional backgrounds. Everyone in
our committee brings their own unique perspective to our final
blends. My biggest piece of advice would be not to hesitate in
taking a roundabout path to your goal once you’ve clearly defined
it for yourself. This is often where the best encounters and
opportunities arise.

Are there any other trailblazing women in the wine world that
we should know about?

Definitely our President and CEO Maggie Henriquez. Not only has
she led the house through many exciting innovations, from Krug iD
to Krug Music Pairings, but she has also always personally inspired
and encouraged me. I live by words of wisdom that she once shared:
“Nothing ever happens by chance.” With this mindset, each challenge
becomes a new opportunity.

Which three things should we look for when selecting a

It’s a very personal thing. As the house’s founder Joseph Krug
once said, the true essence of champagne is pleasure itself, so the
first thing I’d recommend asking yourself is what gives you
pleasure. Then, with whom would you like to share it? Finally, what
food or music would you enjoy drinking it with? Krug Grande Cuvée
is the most generous expression of champagne and lends itself to a
wealth of culinary combinations, while Krug Rosé is an unexpected
rosé champagne for bold gastronomic experiences that can replace a
good red wine at the table.

Which bottle of Krug has influenced you the most?

We often say that you never forget your first sip of Krug. Mine
was quite memorable, as it marked my arrival at the house. It was
Krug Grande Cuvée 154ème Édition, created around the harvest of
1998, and served to me by Rémi Krug, fifth generation of the Krug
family, during my final interview before I joined the house a few
weeks later.

When you’re not sipping a glass of Krug, which other wines do
you enjoy?

I’ve always been driven by curiosity. I am just as passionate
about wines as I am about spirits. The possibilities are endless,
and I never get set in my ways. Choosing a favourite would be to
deprive myself of other opportunities, which is why I always stay
open-minded and try to taste and discover new things.

Any under-the-radar wine regions we should know about?

Yes, Yunnan in
, the country’s most southwestern province.

Which countries’ wine scenes are you most excited about for

First of all, France, naturally! Our country continues to
fascinate me, and I’ll never finish exploring the diversity of
it has to offer. I’m also looking forward to Napa Valley’s 2021
crop, as I hope they’ve had a better year after the dramatic fires
of 2020, and I’m keen to try Argentina’s Chandon Garden Spritz,
which will probably brighten up some of my summer evenings this

A Pocket Guide to Champagne, France

Where should we stay?

The ultimate stay would be at Krug ambassador L’Assiette Champenoise, where you can experience the
exquisite three-Michelin-starred cooking of chef Arnaud

What about somewhere to eat?

I’d recommend brunch at Ruinart, lunch at Le Royal
for its outstanding views over the hills of Épernay,
followed by dinner at Café du Palais in Reims.

And to drink?

Definitely Le Wine Bar at Place du Forum in Reims. It’s set in a
beautiful location and has an outstanding champagne menu.

Which vineyards should we make tracks to?

and Veuve Clicquot are famous for their chalk cellars and
are both worth a visit.

One thing we shouldn’t miss while we’re there?

There are several things you shouldn’t miss. A glass of
champagne under the trees at Perching Bar in Verzenay; the magnificent
village of Les Riceys, which is only a two-hour drive from Reims; a
stroll through the vineyards; and a visit to the historical
cellars, where you can talk to passionate winemakers.

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