About Aline

Biography Aline Thiebaut

"I grew up in Burgundy in a family of artisan barrel makers and farmers. Like many French children, my first wine memories are of traditional, four hour-long family lunches on Sunday afternoons. At first, I did not understand why “grown ups” spent so much time discussing wine, its taste, its vintage, the winemaker, the village or vineyard it came from!

But when I was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the first thought that came to my mind was to become an “Ambassador of Burgundy.” I could travel the world and stay connected with my home region and people.

Following the advice of my very “down to earth” family, I first had to earn a solid education, be financially independent and pick an industry where I could work internationally right away.

So my educational path took a detour from that first “diplomatic” goal. I received my Master's in Management at the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP) - European School of Management Paris (Business School). I studied and worked in the UK and came to the United States through banking after being recruited out of college. In the next seven years, I gained experience in several fields and worked on start-up projects in the US, France, the UK, and Spain.

In the year 2001, two encounters served to remind me of my first childhood “dream job!”. I realized that I wanted to reconnect with my roots and share my passion for fine wines and French culture. The question was where, how and when to make it happen.

In the Spring, after seeing Wayne Thiebaud’s Paintings Retrospective at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., I felt California was calling and may be the promised land where I could reinvent myself and have a shot at making my transition into the wine industry.

On a foggy Sunday in Paris, I went to a wine fair of small independent vintners. There I met Odile Pontillo, who was mesmerizing her audience through a sensorial analysis of several wines she had selected at the fair. I learned that in the 80s she made a complete career change from being an elementary school teacher to becoming a multi faceted and accomplished woman entrepreneur in the wine industry. Throughout the decades she had enjoyed being a wine buyer, educator, journalist, writer, vintner and small business owner.

Aline Thiebaut with bottle

"She inspired me to take a leap of faith and that’s when I decided to seek a career change that would allow me to combine my professional expertise, international business experience, French roots and family history in Burgundy. Little by little, I started building connections with California, took long distance classes and attended the University of California at Davis, where I completed certification in Winemaking basics and the OIV Wine Marketing Program (part of “Office International du Vin”/International Wine Offfice MBA).

I had to stay in banking four more years after realizing it was the fastest way to be relocated to California and to earn my Green Card.

During these years, I researched the Wine industry, attended wine fairs, scheduled vacation in wine regions and met with wine professionals from various backgrounds throughout the United States and France. I worked continuously to strengthen or build strong connections in Burgundy and in other French wine regions. I studied for two years and passed my level 3 Sommelier Diploma with the International Sommelier Guild (“ISG”).

In 2006, I founded my company in California to ensure fair representation of family-owned premium estates of France. In 2007, I met Anita Busquets, a wine lover of Spanish heritage with a long resume of executive leadership positions in pharmaceuticals, biotech, accounting and investments. Bonded over a love of wine & food and a desire to transition from big business to small business, we decided to become business partners and take the initial mission to the next level by becoming the direct importer and distributor of our selected independent French vintners in California.

In combining our names, we found out that “Aliane” was an old French word meaning “noble” and “gracious” which encompasses the embodiment of our business philosophy and relationships as well as our taste in wines.

In early 2017, Anita retired and I now single handedly manage my company."