Spotlight On Our Producers: Azur Wines
Elan Fayard | Proprietor | Napa, California
Originally from the Bay Area, Elan Fayard of Azur Wines spent several years studying and working in France, first in the Loire Valley and then Provence. It was there she fell in love with dry rosé, but, upon moving back to the States, realized she couldn’t find it—anywhere. Settling into a farmhouse in the Coombsville appellation of the Napa Valley with her three children, Elan became a pioneer: a female vintner introducing dry rosé to American palates (and eventually premium Cabernets). Here, we get to know the Proprietor and Francophile.
Tell Us What Attracted You To Wine.
My family moved to Sonoma County when I was little, so I grew up around wine. The Napa wine scene was very different in the 1980s, not as fancy and more family-oriented. My parents would take my sister and me along tasting, and, in my mind, those early experiences represented family, community, and love.
What Did You Learn During Your Time In France?
After studying French in college, I spent an exchange year in the Loire Valley—which inspired a work sojourn to Provence, in the south, where I started drinking dryer rosé. The winemakers’ were deeply connected to their terroir, and I found their wines to be a direct expression of the environment. This has stayed with me. Wine needs to sing of its place, both the history and uniqueness of the soil, microclimate, and hands of the people making it.
What Obstacles Did You Have To Overcome When Bringing Rosé Into The Market?
Rosé is certainly having a moment, but that wasn’t the case in the late 2000s. In Napa, it was viewed as inferior to the more respectable bold reds. In addition to producing rosé, which is what we’re known for, I offer a classic Cabernet Sauvignon. When pouring Cabs in our earlier days, I convinced people to try the rosé, and the rest is history. Vogue magazine dubbed our 2007 Azur Rosé as “America’s Best.”
What Can People Expect From Your Wines?
All of our wines are small production. They have an identity and represent each singular location. Our new label, Empreinte, is single-vineyard and single-varietal, so it’s ideal for collectors. I still lead all of our by-appointment tastings to ensure customers have an intimate—and memorable—experience.
You've Expanded Your Business And Now Offer Luminous Retreats.
It is my calling to support women of all ages to live to the fullest and highest expression, a life of purpose and fulfillment. Through Luminous Retreats, we offer restorative experiences in Napa (and eventually other locales) which includes one-on-one sessions, small groups, and corporate retreats. In safe spaces, women can practice mindfulness—and reflect, connect, and heal. Wine is optional.