Wine: it’s about more than just the product

Jean-Michel Deluc co-founded the subscription wine service Le Petit Ballon in 2011. Deluc is the club’s Master Sommelier and selects the two wines that members receive every month according to their profile. He discusses what has sustained his successful career in the drinks trade.

My role is to ensure the quality of our selected wines, so I taste every wine that we sell. We try to offer unusual wines that the consumers cannot find anywhere else. Beside our boxes, where every month we propose two bottles that I have selected, along with technical notes and a review, we offer a large selection of wines and spirits. The trend is towards bio or organic wines, which make up 22% of our wines. We offer a bio box every month.

Often I look at the bottle and the people before I decide whether to taste. The psychological side of tasting is important.

What do you like most about the beverage industry?
What I like about wine is all the things around it, not just the product: the history, the geography, the stories, the social side of wine drinking and the science behind it. And to be able to help consumers to understand the subject is great. With Le Petit Ballon, I feel that I am everybody’s sommelier at home.

What were you hoping to achieve at Vinexpo Paris?
I was trying to find some new winegrowers, new cuvées and new appellations, and to meet and thank personally the winemakers with whom we work.

What is the secret to getting the most out of a busy Vinexpo?
Relationships, conversation and curiosity. Often I look at the bottle and the people before I decide whether to taste. The psychological side of tasting is important.


Photo: Jean-Michel Deluc, co-founder, Le Petit Ballon