Tawnya Falkner’s wine career went from zero to 200 m.p.h. in relative short order. Educated at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) and previously having co-founded two, still successfully operating firms, Strategic Development Solutions and Domus Development, Tawnya found initial success in real estate development and architecture. But her passion for food, wine and travel sent her on a journey to France after seeing a gap in the sparkling wine category related to price, palate and packaging. There she launched her dream in the wine business, Le Grand Courtâge.
In just a few short years, it’s now distributed in 44 states. Le Grand Courtâge’s portfolio consists of a French Blanc de Blanc and a Brut Rosé, which have been poured on Virgin America Airlines. The wines are currently featured by Holland America Cruise Lines, MGM Resorts and T-Mobile Stadium in Las Vegas, and California Pizza Kitchen, World Market and Kimpton Hotels nationally. (Not a bad start in the wine business!)
Le Grand Courtâge wines have appeared on The Today Show, Access Hollywood, Check Please! Bay Area and Fox News, as well as in Martha Stewart, People, Vogue, The Knot, Domino, Architectural Digest, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post and AOL.com.
During our show while tasting these wines, we asked Tawnya about her keys to success in the wine industry. Her take? It requires a combination of art, science, strategy and relationships. Tawnya saw clear parallels between her previous career as a real estate developer with becoming a vintner: Find a niche that no one else has filled. Have a clear and decisive vision. Know your numbers! Secure key accounts before going after smaller accounts. The impressive list went on and on…
Tawnya unflinchingly divulged some of her essential strategies: She learned she couldn’t get her foot in the door in some markets without a still wine in her portfolio. Hence, her Très Chic Rosé was born of necessity (and it’s delicious)! Other strategies she learned by understanding supply and demand. The world of sparkling wine can hinge upon a balance of inventory between Splits and 750ml bottles that the still wine industry doesn’t face as a demand issue. And from an audience-appeal point of view, Splits are terrific for picnics and other solo drinking events for success.
Tawnya sees food and wine as the common denominator that brings people together for great conversation and laughter, epitomizing the human connection. Her vision was to create an affordable luxury which embodied the French spirit of joie de vivre (joy of life) and elevated life’s everyday moments.
While life as a vintner may seem a far cry from her previous experience as a policy strategist and consultant for government agencies, corporations and nonprofit groups, it was those experiences that made navigating complex regulatory requirements, balancing financial realities, and implementing a vision that addressed market opportunity so successful in a short amount of time.
Tune in to hear all about Tawnya’s Great Big Adventure in Sparkling Wine and to hear the hosts reflections on tasting these wines. We expect to see Tawnya’s wine continue to grow considerably in market share, bringing her dream of LIVE JOYOUSLY to more and more wine drinkers.
Le Grand Courtâge is proudly operated by an all-female team. The brand often partners with women-owned brands and non-profit organizations that benefit women.