English queen of a French vineyard
The Oldie Magazine|December 2020
Béatrice Viennet reigned over Sotheby’s and the family vines
BRIGID KEENAN

At the end of this year, Britain says au revoir to our cousins across the Channel, as we leave the EU. This is a particularly sad time for those Brits who live in France.

One of them, Béatrice Viennet, tenth child in a family of 11, grew up on her father’s farm next to Chequers, the Prime Minister’s official country residence.

She knew Churchill when she was a little girl. A kindly uncle figure, he once gave her some chicks to rear. Later she fell in love with a French wine-grower, Luc Viennet, whom she met in London, and she now lives among the vineyards on his family estate near Montpellier.

Now 71, Viennet had been working for Sotheby’s for a decade before she married. She continued to do so, becoming their representative in the Occitanie region of France. She drove across the country to look at family treasures for sale, giving advice and calling in experts – ever on the lookout for the priceless discovery.

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