“In 2005, when the estate released its first wines, I was still living in Boston where I worked in finance without ever imagining a change of lifestyle. Four years later, I moved to the heart of the Andes with my husband and our little girl who was just a few months old.” Anne Bousquet’s story spans three continents: she grew up in a winegrowing family in France; studied and started her first career in the United States; then embarked on a second working life at the helm of a wine estate in Argentina.
“This is not just a wine estate, it’s a project”, she points out. “In the beginning, there was nothing, just soils of stone and sand and some peach, apple and garlic plantations. The first vines were several dozen kilometres away. But my father had sensed the full potential of the region with its arid soils forcing the plant to struggle a little and the huge temperature differences between day and night promoting fruit ripeness. Perhaps above all, though, we had always wanted to create an estate based on a virtuous and inclusive development model.”
Consequently, Domaine Bousquet, which benefits from the recognition of Argentine wines, now has a hundred or so employees, all of them from Tupungato and its surrounding area: “Many other estates bring their employees in from Mendoza. We recruit them here and train them. For example, Soledad, who was born here and hired as a bottler age eighteen, is now our purchasing manager in charge of a budget totalling several hundreds of thousands of dollars. I often say that this is where I passed my real MBA, through practical experience.”
photo TOM CLARK
“Tupungato attracts a lot of visitors – Argentines, Brazilians, wine enthusiasts from Europe or the United States, for example. But there was nothing here to welcome them, no hotels or restaurants. So we decided to open a restaurant.” Named Gaïa as a nod to the Earth goddess in Greek mythology, the restaurant is run by village-born chef Adrian Baggio and open every lunchtime. Its patrons make the round trip from Mendoza.