Monday 22 March 2010, Saint Jean de Luz. It was a meeting: a Basque and a Bearnais. Two paths would cross that day – and the rest is history. It’s the story of how the matching of the minds of Lionel Osmin and Imanol Harinordoquy (eds: the French International Rugby Union player), would add new flavour to the French wine scene. We asked Lionel to tell us more…
There was no pre-defined path. No codes to respect… just the will to discover wines, people, different terroirs, new grape varieties, and bring back to France the ones that seduced us, or gave us pleasure and emotions … and to quickly forget the ones that didn’t. Imanol Harinordoquy and I thus created “Les Passeurs de Vin” in order to move the lines, and I like that idea.
THERE WAS NO PRE-DEFINED PATH. NO CODES TO RESPECT… JUST THE WILL TO DISCOVER WINES, PEOPLE, DIFFERENT TERROIRS, NEW GRAPE VARIETIES (…)
We are presenting wines in all cases that people are not too familiar with, whether it be with the wines of France’s southwest or wines of the world. Imanol was always a wine fan. When we first spoke of the idea in 2010, he was still pursuing his rugby career – but he told me that he would like to eventually join in on a “wine adventure”, firstly because he likes wine, and secondly, because his family had a long background doing business in Spain, primarily in the field of livestock trading. In 2014, I nally found some time to work on the project, after several intense years after the debuts of Lionel Osmin & Cie. I contacted Imanol and he said, “Let’s do it!” We work as a team: me working on quality selection and him more in an ambassadorial role. We have been very pleasantly surprised by the reaction of French buyers, who seem to have a strong will to allow their customers to discover something a little more exotic. For these people, we have become somewhat of a one- stop-shop as a preferred supplier. We have over a hundred references now, and buyers are also able to bundle these wines with our wines from the Southwest.
Hall 1 / Stand CD197
Photo: Lionel Osmin & Imanol Harinordoquy Les Passeurs de Vins