Bénédicte Hardy was born near Cognac, France in Angoulême on March 18, 1957. She is a fifth generation member of the famous Hardy family, producers of Cognac. Her ancestor, Antoine Hardy, originally of English and Scottish descent was a merchant who fell in love with the French Countryside and decided to become a French citizen settling in Cognac in the second part of the 1800’s. After years of working for other Cognac producers, he learned the craft and founded A. Hardy & Company, the first bottle of Hardy Cognac was sold in 1863.
Bénédicte herself attended High School in Cognac finishing at the age of seventeen. She then went on to study in Bordeaux and graduated with two majors when she was 21. Intending to continue her education in law, Bénédicte applied and was accepted to Columbia University in New York. She chose, however, to attend the University in Geneva, Switzerland where the skiing conditions were much better than in New York. When Bénédicte graduated from Geneva with a degree in International Law (Maritime law or “law of the seas”), she could have begun practicing Law immediately. Instead she chose the wine and spirits industry and joined the family business in 1986.