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Meeting Gary Westby

For over 20 years, Aspasie Champagne has been exported to the United States through Gary Westby, a distributor at K&L Wines. Discover the authentic portrait of a loyal and passionate partner.

Can you introduce yourself ? 

My name is Gary Westby, and I have been the Champagne Buyer for K&L Wine Merchants for 24 years. We are an importer and retailer in California with four stores located in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Hollywood and Culver City (West Los Angeles). 

What is your job ?

As Champagne Buyer I direct the category of champagne for the company. I am responsible for making the selections (we have about 300 references for champagne), training the staff on the wines, managing the inventory, creating the marketing content for selling the wines and conducting tastings for the public. 

Since when and why did you choose to work with Maison Aspasie ?

I started working with Aspasie in 2000, the same year that I started! They were our very first and still our best direct-import producer. I loved the quality, the unique style of the wine and the extraordinary value that the families wines represent. They have only gotten better over the years !

What is your favorite champagne, why ?

I am not allowed to have favorites, but if you were to look into my recycling bin, the champagne that I drink the most is the Aspasie Blanc de Blancs. I find it goes perfectly as an aperitif, great with Japanese food (which I love to cook at home) and is full of the magic of Brouillet.

The final word is yours ?

No champagne lover should go another day without trying the champagne from Aspasie- their electric refreshment, effortless style and class are backed by complexity that makes it impossible to tire of them. Nobody works harder than the Aristons, and it shows in the final product.

Gary Wetsby
3005 El Camino Real
Redwood City, CA 94061

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At Aspasie, the art of viticulture rests on meticulous and traditional practices passed down from generation to generation. Among these practices is debudding, which ensures the quality of our vines. This delicate and manual process is essential for optimizing grape production and, consequently, the quality of our champagnes.

A Fine Selection in the Service of the Grape

As the name suggests, debudding involves removing all non-fruitful buds, called “suckers.” If not removed, these buds risk diverting sap from the main buds, which will produce the precious grape clusters.

The goal is to concentrate the sap and nutrients on the fruitful buds to obtain superior quality grapes.

This delicate operation generally takes place in mid-May. At this stage, the buds have already started to develop, making it possible to identify and eliminate the suckers. The debudding process is carried out entirely by hand, in several passes, allowing the winegrower to make adjustments as the vines evolve.

The Essential Role of the Winegrower

Debudding requires all the good sense and judgment of the winegrower. It is a true art where every gesture counts. The winegrower must evaluate each bud, deciding which ones to keep and which ones to remove.

A Manual Tradition

We value manual labor and traditional know-how. Debudding is a perfect example of this. Although labor-intensive, this task is essential to preserving the quality of our grapes and champagnes. Each year, our winegrowers put their hearts into this operation, ensuring that each vine is tended with the utmost care.