Leading South West France producer arrives at Vinexpo with an innovative range of new labels and a prestigious partnership with Michel Guérard
Company founder and CEO Lionel Osmin talks to Vinexpo Daily about the philosophy behind his new launches and the company’s move into distribution. We started by asking him what’s headlining at Vinexpo Bordeaux this year.
We’ll present many new wines this year from our South West native grapes and original terroirs. Some of our most exciting new creations this year include two great red wines, made from 100% Tannat grape and with no sulphites added. These modern and appealing reds are produced on our 25 ha estate, Domaine Berthoumieu, and their launch is generating real interest from the market.
We also have a new red made from 100% native Mansois grape called Fer De Soif. In addition, we are presenting Le Roi Boeuf, a limited production red wine produced on Château de Bachen, our partner family Guérard’s estate. Michel Guérard is one of the greatest chefs in France (43 years of 3 stars Michelin) and his restaurant Les Prés d’Eugénie is based in the South West, 90 minutes South of Bordeaux, where the vineyard is also located. This wine has been created to support Bazas beef breeders, which produce fantastic meat. Another highlight is our premium oceanic Rosé La Dune, also produced on Château de Bachen.
It’s unusual to see a premium rosé wine from the South West being promoted at Vinexpo Bordeaux. Please tell us more about this new product.
You’re right. I think we’re among the first – if not the first – to launch an ambitious, gastronomic, rich and oceanic rosé from the Landes area. This new cuvée is the result of the idea of showing that South West vineyards can also offer premium rosé wines, but with a unique and distinctive freshness. This new wine will soon be distributed in more than 10 countries, but was only released 2 months ago. After those first weeks of sales, I realised that this wine brings something really new to the market, even in the very dynamic rosé category.
Your business has two key pillars – production AND distribution. Why do both?
As a producer in South West France, we sell our wines on export markets (45%) and on our domestic markets (55%) through a distribution network of 3000+ on trade accounts. This is not too bad for such a young company, as Lionel Osmin & Cie was just created in 2010. Together with our partner, Imanol Harinordoquy, we have strong familiar relations with Spain. So we decided to launch a wine importation company in 2014. We started with only Spanish wines, but since 2016/2017, we opened our portfolio to German, Italian and Argentinian wines. We’re now in the process of launching a great Portuguese wine, a fantastic English sparkling as well as building a new partnership with a very good Argentinian organic Malbec producer. Our on-trade clients are very happy to be able to source those exclusive wines and ship them together with our South West wines… because they get real delivery cost savings.
Are you planning to produce organic wines?
French South West vineyards are dominated by Atlantic Ocean influence, which makes organic production more complicated. But we have decided to engage the company in an ambitious zero residue programme. Our goal is to find the right processes to reduce pesticides and copper utilisation in order to decrease our impact on nature and also produce the best wines for consumers.
What’s the latest news on your experiments with producing Armagnac?
We have an exciting range of craft, natural colour, single vintage, cask strength, single grape Armagnacs, named Apothicaire De L’Armagnac. This is a must taste and must see creation. The concept of this range simply comes from the history of this unique spirit as it was sold, until the 18th century, by apothecaries because of its health benefits! As I often say : l’Armagnac est le supplément d’âme du Sud-Ouest (Armagnac brings more soul to South West vineyards!).
Hall 1 / Stand CD197