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Grande Dame of wine trade Baroness Philippine de Rothschild dies

Published:  26 August, 2014

Leading light of the global wine trade Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, head of the Rothschild family dynasty, has died aged 80.

The estate announced over the weekend that the baroness died following surgery.

Baroness de Rothschild took over family's wine business following her father's death in 1988, and worked hard to build the brands globally.

She spent 30 years as an actress, performing under the stage name Philippine Pascal and appearing in the Comédie Francaise alongside Catherine Deneuve, before joining the family firm.

Her mother died in a concentration camp during World War I.

Rothschild was credited with modernising the family's wine business, which includes the top brand Mouton de Rothschild, as well as Chateux Clerc-Milon and d'Armailhac. She forged links with top Napa Valley winery Opus One as well as Chile's Almaviva. Wine sales doubled while Rothschild was at the helm.

Opus One Winery described the baroness on Twitter as "a truly incredible woman and figure in the world of wine".

Former French prime minister and Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppé tweeted that it was with "great sadness" he heard about Rothschild's death, adding that he "loved this woman with the admirable energy".

She continued the family tradition of having major artists design labels for Mouton-Rothschild vintages - including Andy Warhol, Lucien Freud and Anish Kapoor.

The baroness was married twice and is survived by her three children, Philippe, Camille and Julien.