A monumental passing of the torch is happening at Les Bourgeois Vineyards in Rocheport, as reported earlier this month by the Columbia Missourian. After 32 years of leadership, owner and founder Curtis Bourgeois has retired, and couple Jacob and Rachel Holman have gladly and graciously taken up the helm at the storied winery and vineyards. We spoke with Jacob and Rachel to get a closer look at this new endeavor and the exciting changes already underway. Here is everything you need to know about the new face of Les Bourgeois.
Who are The Holmans? What is their background with Les Bourgeois?
Jacob has worked at Les Bourgeois for about 20 years. He worked his way up from the Tasting Room retail department to assistant winemaker, and he is currently head winemaker and president. Rachel has worked at Les Bourgeois for about 15 years. During her time here, she has worked as the catering and private events director as well, as marketing director for about 8 years. In 2013, she was named CEO of the business.
Will the Les Bourgeois properties remain the same?
Yes, Les Bourgeois will continue to house three retail facilities that overlook the Missouri River: the A-Frame patio, Tasting Room and Gift Shop and Blufftop Bistro. The wine production facility is not open to the public but is available for scheduled tours. Beginning this summer, the A-Frame hours will extend until sunset. Jacob says new light installations will allow customers to stay out and enjoy the music and atmosphere just a little bit longer.
What do the new owners hope to accomplish?
The Holmans aim for a smooth transition of leadership that still encompasses the family business feel — despite the fact that their last name is not Bourgeois. “At this point, we’re just looking to maintain everything that’s made us successful up until this point,” Rachel says.
What has kept the Holmans with the business for so many years?
The Holmans agree that the camaraderie of the staff and the familial feel of the business create a positive and fun workplace. “Every facet of this business changes from day to day and year to year, and for us, it’s all about the ability to build relationships with not only the folks that work here but also the folks in the community that help us do what we do best,” Rachel says. Also, with winemaking seasons each being so unique and unpredictable, Jacob jokes that so far (after 20 years), he hasn't yet gotten bored of the work.
What changes and additions should Les Bourgeois fans keep an eye out for?
Les Bourgeois is the official winery of Mizzou Athletics, and by the end of July, the Holmans are hoping to launch some MU wines into the standard lineup. The vineyard's summer music series has also been expanded to include more events and later nights under the A-Frame lights. Finally, the Holmans are partnering with Broadway Brewery to test out some innovative packaging late this summer.