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Industry stalwart Pat Green dies aged 89

Published:  11 April, 2011

Pat Green, one of the first women to make her mark in the wine trade, has died after a short illness at the age of 89.

Forrmer colleagues are invited to attend her funeral which takes place at Rye Parish Church on April 14 at 2.30.

Amongst her many friends and colleagues who have passed on their condolences to the family, John Brownsdon MW has written to Harpers to pay his personal tribute:

"I was a director with Pat and Louis Vialard of French Wine Farmers Ltd from 1972 until 1985. She was a real character and mover with a very different and interesting life.

"The iconic Miss Green, known as Pat to her friends only, was one of the first women to reach the top in the wine trade. She was born in June 1921 and died in her home town of Rye on April 6, a few months before her 90th birthday.

"She volunteered for the RAF during WW2 and spent some time on the staff of Churchill's bunker like war rooms under Horse Guards Parade. On demob she became a stewardess with BEA before landing a job as "au pere" for the Vialards at Chateau Cissac.

"Life was tough for owners of Crus Bourgeois in the years after the war and she persuaded Louis Vialard to sell barrels of Cissac direct to groups of UK wine lovers. The necessary corks, finings and instructions were tacked on to the barrel heads, and her clients collected empty bottles for months before arranging a bottling party and shared out the bottles, minus of course those that were not drunk on the night.

"The business thrived for a few years but by about 1955 the attraction of home bottling was killed by a greater availability of wine in the UK, so Pat and Louis started a very successful business selling French cheeses to supermarkets, which, a few years later was taken over by one of France's major dairy co-operatives. At this point the pair reverted to selling Chateau Cissac and other wines to the trade through their new company French Wine Farmers Ltd., and used their inside knowledge of the grocery trade to introduce the wine concept to this sector.

"By the early eighties, FWF had taken on a number of prestige agencies and become one of the largest exporters of French wine into the UK market.

"Miss Green, who never married, will be remembered by many members of the trade as the strong minded and stately hostess of fabulous lunches held at the company's offices in Grafton Street Mayfair. She always took charge of the kitchen using recipes she had learned when living in the Medoc. These started at 12 noon precisely in the French tradition.

"Pat retired to her house in Rye in about 1988 and will be sorely missed by her family and many friends".