Proprietor & Chairman
“ I fell in love with Burgundy on my first trip there with my father, when I was 16,” Gerret recalls. “The world of wine caught my imagination and never left it. Bouchaine is the realization of my boyhood dream.”
Photo: Sara Matthews
For Gerret, a love of wine and the journey that leads to the next great bottle is in his blood. Gerret’s father, Lammot du Pont Copeland, was the 11th president of the DuPont Company. Perhaps more influential to his son’s passion for wine, he was also a founder of the Wilmington, Delaware, chapter of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. His mother, Pamela Copeland, a noted horticulturist, enjoyed fine wine as well and was the first woman in the U.S. invited to join the Chevaliers du Tastevin. Today, Gerret continues his parents’ legacy in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
Gerret’s wine education began early. “Wine wasn't just part of our lifestyle, it was in our blood,” he recalls. His parents adopted the uniquely French tradition of diluting a half-glass of wine with water for their children at dinnertime. As the proportion of water decreased, Gerret's appreciation grew.
Years ago, Gerret recalls a friend asking him what his pipe dream would be. “My response was immediate. ‘To own a winery or a vineyard in Burgundy or California.' A year went by, and then my friend called to say that a limited partnership was being formed to purchase a winery in Carneros. My fantasy leapt into fast-forward.”
Gerret and his wife, Tatiana, along with a group of partners, purchased and began renovating the oldest winery in the Carneros region. They gave a nod to his family's old world heritage by naming it Château Bouchaine. A decade later, Gerret and Tatiana bought out the original partners and became sole proprietors of the winery and renamed it Bouchaine Vineyards. The Copelands and their new Bouchaine team revamped and rebuilt every aspect of both the winery and the vineyards.
Gerret’s passion for wine is matched by his passion for the environment. After a career in finance, during which he developed a successful New York Stock Exchange brokerage firm, he helped establish the Brandywine Conservancy in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. The Conservancy continues to protect the Brandywine River Valley from pollution and over-development. He is also active with Longwood Gardens (world famous gardens in Pennsylvania), The Mount Cuba Center for Piedmont Flora (his childhood home, and now a major horticultural center in Delaware), and is the Chairman of the The Delaware Art Museum (founded by his grandmother).
“My role at Bouchaine,” Gerret says, “is to make sure we produce the best possible wines from the grapes off our vineyards. Because we are the sole owners, we can easily make whatever changes each harvest calls for, crafting wines that are unique, as opposed to mass-producing something that is standardized.”
Gerret Copeland’s palate and his joie de vivre are complemented by his passion for beauty, his dedication to the environment, and his love of wine. For him, Bouchaine is the ultimate adventure. “I have always loved the softness, roundness and fleshiness of a great Pinot Noir. It is a wine of unique charms.”