Maison M. Chapoutier

Aug 06, 2010 8 Comments by

Maison M.Chapoutier is a must when you are working in the wine industry. Incredible wines, a dedication to quality all over the years and an owner who is a personage. I have had the chance to meet Michel Chapoutier one year ago at Vinexpo Bordeaux. I was here more by passion than to buy anything but we found a common interest about Australia. And we started sharing a bottle of the Australian wine that  M.Chapoutier produces. The next Monday I was receiving a book in my mailbox: The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. A gift from Michel Chapoutier. So when I started to work on Zhongguo Wine, he was one of the first persons I contacted. And I must say that his team has been the most reactive so far. They answered my email within two days and agreed to meet me. Therefore, I profited from Vinexpo Asia to interview Nicolas Touchard, M.Chapoutier’s brand ambassador for China. And we started by tasting wine. After one day in Vinexpo, I was getting used to it but I must say that these wines had something special. Of course, it is always better to taste a wine when you have a personal history with it. We tasted two white wines: Domaine des Granges de Mirabelle, a Viognier de l’Ardèche and Les Vignes de Pilate, a Viognier de la Drome.

Zhongguo Wine: Nicolas, good morning. Can you present yourself?

Nicolas Touchard: Good morning. I have been working in the wine industry for four years. Previously, I was working for Torres China, M. Chapoutier’s exclusive importer in China. I was in charge of marketing in the south of China.I wanted to do something else after 3 years. That is how I joined Maison M.Chapoutier. They were looking for a representative in China who knew already the Chinese market.

ZW: Have you seen an evolution on the Chinese market during these four years?

NT: Totally. I have seen huge evolutions. There is really a developing attract for wine in China.

ZW: What is being brand ambassador for M.Chapoutier?

NT: My job is to make sure that our brand image is getting stronger. Establishing a strong brand image on an immature market is a challenge. This is also a long term investment. My job is not to sell wine. Or rather, not directly. We have our importer for that. We will hopefully sell more wine if I do my job properly because people will remember that they have already tasted a Chapoutier’s wine and that they liked it ! On a day to day basis, I must check that we do not have any corked bottle before a tasting, that our wines are presented at the right temperature etc…

ZW: To a certain extent, you educate people to M.Chapoutier’s wine, right?

NT: I represent an art of living “à la française”. I do not consider that I only represent M.Chapoutier. In a certain way, I also represent Vallée du Rhone wines and even the gastronomy of this region which is very rich. I do not try to push our wines at all cost. The market is not ready for that. What I do is that I popularize wine culture to the Chinese audience. For example, M.Chapoutier has adopted biodynamic farming techniques. But I never talk about that. I have the information ready if the customer wants to know more. But at first, you have to be very basic and to answer these questions: Where is France ? Where is Rhone Valley in France? What is the story of Maison M.Chapoutier? What is our culture etc…? If you are getting too specific about growing techniques for instance in an immature market, you might lose 95% of the audience.

ZW: Is that not easier to build a brand image when the brand is M.Chapoutier?

NT: We have been on the Chinese market for several years. Marketing our wine is necessary to get it known and well-recognized but if our wines were not qualitative enough, my work would be useless. I am happy to represent a brand that is focused on quality.  So to answer the question, yes, it is obviously easier. I have gold into my hands. I cannot miss the opportunity.

ZW: Is your role specific because you are in China?

NT: M.Chapoutier has brand ambassadors all over the world. Their job is more or less the same. What is a bit different is that I work on an immature market. Education is the key. It can even be frustrating if you are really passionate about wine. You don’t have connoisseurs in front of you most of the time.

ZW: Can you tell us more about M.Chapoutier wines?

NT:Maison M.Chapoutier has been producing wines for more than 200 years. We know and we trust our terroir. We have the chance to be able to offer a large palette of wines for consumers whether they are connoisseurs or not. With 360 hectares of vine operated in France, Portugal and Australia, we are now producing more than 5 million bottles a year with 50% of our production being exported. We offer our wines through 5 distinct segments: Fac&Spera, which is the emblem of M.Chapoutier’s philosophy, the high end market wines with very few quantities produced; Prestige, representative of their appellations in the Rhône Valley; Tradition, whose wines accompany both everyday life and the most sophisticated delicacies; Discovery whose wines are a full illustration of the Maison  M. Chapoutier’s talent, beyond the confines of the Rhône Valley that is to say in Australia and Portugal and Specialties.  This last segment includes spirits or sweet wines.

ZW: Do you represent all these wines?

NT: Of course not. We market our wine but we adapt ourselves to the market. For example, red wine is what is asked by the Chinese market. Therefore, only a very small part of our white selection is imported in China. As we want to build a strong brand image, we also want our wine to be sold and drunk! We are very close from our importer Torres. The aim is to select wines together that are going to be welcome by the Chinese market.

Ari for Zhongguo Wine

See other interviews:

Interview with Gwenaële Chesnais, Senior Wine Education Manager, Pernod-Ricard China

Interview with Stephane Toutoundji, famous winemaking consultant

Interview with Yann Soenen, Regional Director for Champagnes Mumm and Perrier Jouët

Interview with Nicolas Touchard, Brand Ambassador for M. Chapoutier

Interview with Rai Cockfield, Managing Director of Altruistic Boutique Wines

Interview with PENG Jia, Director of the World Wine Education in Shanghai

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8 Responses to “Maison M. Chapoutier”

  1. Importing Wine in China: An Oligopoly ? says:

    […] recognized brand. But big brands are already distributed all over China. For example M.Chapoutier by Torres, Jacob s creek by Pernod Ricard. Georges Duboeuf by FWP, Lafite, Yalumba and D aremberg […]

  2. Making Wine for the Chinese market says:

    […] Interview with Nicolas Touchard, Brand Ambassador for M. Chapoutier […]

  3. Mumm and Perrier Jouët – Global Brands Local Roots says:

    […] Interview with Nicolas Touchard, Brand Ambassador for M. Chapoutier […]

  4. Altruistic Boutique Wines says:

    […] Interview with Nicolas Touchard, Brand Ambassador for M. Chapoutier […]

  5. Pernod Ricard China | Zhongguo Wine says:

    […] Interview with Nicolas Touchard, Brand Ambassador for M. Chapoutier […]

  6. A Wine School in Shanghai | Zhongguo Wine says:

    […] Interview with Nicolas Touchard, Brand Ambassador for M. Chapoutier […]

  7. Vinexpo Asia 2010 | Zhongguo Wine says:

    […] Vinexpo Asia 2010 May 25, 2010 No Comments by Lucas ShareYou cannot work in the wine business in Asia and not go to Vinexpo. This exhibition is a must. During 3 days, professionals from all over the world gather to find business opportunities. Needless to say that it was really hard to get an interview as we were starting Zhongguo Wine and nobody knew us. Meetings had been planned for weeks. But we managed to get a Press Pass and two interviews. One with Raiford C. Cockfield III, one of the two directors of Altruitic Boutique Wines and one with Nicolas Touchard, brand ambassador for M.Chapoutier in China. […]

  8. Top 5 Tips for market your Wine in China  | Zhongguo Wine says:

    […] telling, so use the social medias to broadcast of movie about what you do! It’s exactly what the Chapoutier did and the company had a really good return. Some other companies are more modern, Fancy cellar […]

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