Maggie Henriquez – 100% Grand Krug

Maggie Henriquez – 100% Grand Krug

The way Champagne Krug has evolved over ten years, particularly the seamless handover from Chef de Cave Eric Lebel to Julie Cavil in early 2020, as well as telling fans more about how Krug is made, has been a Champagne magic carpet ride. And steering the Krug-rug’s direction was long-admired CEO and President Maggie Henriquez, who left in 2022 to become CEO of Chinese-owned Baccarat. Henriques casts a charismatic shadow behind her which is much more than affection. She still plays a role in the Champagne grouping of leading women: ‘La Transmission.’

A senior business strategist (later with a Ph.D), Venezuelan-born Henriquez joined the wine and spirits division of luxury conglomerate LVMH in 2001 and began at Krug in 2009. With Olivier Krug, she ushered the most-revered Champagne house away from its ‘snooty arrogance’; her own words. She realised early on that Luxury is not simply about scarcity or price, but the need to develop stories which draw an audience closer.

Part of that is to harp on that good champagne is a fine wine not just the accoutrement and signal for fun. Krug’s refrain is that champagne is like good music, be it rock, jazz or classical. You need to pay attention. It deserves involvement and some developing knowledge. It even needs a proper wine glass revealing more than a flute’s rising bubbles. And Henriquez made information about winemaking, what goes into each bottle of Krug, more available to those who want to know. The now estasblished ‘Krug ID code’ on the back of each bottle was the way to go. She made carefully thought-out appearances, along with Olivier Krug. It is quite a sight to see her pouring champagne at the annual La Transmission tasting in Reims, like a brand assistant on hand to help divvying up magnums between supplicant Krugistes.

Maybe more than anything else, Henriquez inspires affection, something few bosses of Champagne houses achieve, for all the respect they may enjoy. In an official statement about her departure in January 2022, Henriquez commented, ‘After much reflection, I have concluded that my cycle at Krug is coming to an end and that it is time to let younger leaders take over this new cycle. You all know me as someone who loves developing talents. To follow their careers and see them progress is to me a great gift. You also know how much I value coherence and it is precisely in the interest of coherence that I must step back at the beginning of this new cycle because I would never be able to complete it. I am very proud to be succeeded by one of the leaders of this group who is dear to me, and with whom I have worked closely since I joined Krug in 2009. I know he will lead the House with the excellent team in place on the right path. With joy and great emotion, I pass the torch to Manuel Reman who will have the responsibility of leading this wonderful House for the coming years.

This Venezuelan with a Ph.D and a job with Nabisco before Moët and Krug, once said she slept four hours a night in Paris before heading to the office in Reims every day. And now she’s gone she’s left a lot behind.