France uncorks new generation of wine experts

Tue Oct 7, 2014 7:06pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Not everything related to wine gets better with age, as a young generation of French wine experts can attest.

Take Benoit Perrot and brothers Matthieu and Antoine Mondesert, all in their early thirties, who last November founded Demain les Vins (Tomorrow's Wines).

Their business model combines selling with crowdfunding, an approach which this year will benefit Antoine Sunier, a 34-year-old who took up winemaking in the Beaujolais region after turning his back on telecoms.

A few hundred kilometers (miles) further south, Baptiste Ross-Bonneau, 25, is Chef Sommelier at the Hotel de la Cite in Carcassonne, responsible for the wine list of the Michelin-starred restaurant.

"The cliche of the old, tubby sommelier is gone, there is a new generation of motivated, enthusiastic young people who have changed the image of our profession," said Ross-Bonneau, who was born in the southern Cotes du Rhone region, raised in a family of wine growers, and has developed a sharp knowledge of Roussillon wines.

"I used to work at the vineyard with my aunt and my grandfather, I used to help in the grape harvest," he said.

"Then, during my Spanish studies in Avignon and Perpignan, I discovered the wines of Maury and Banyuls and met with sommeliers who talked to me about their jobs. That made me want to dig and find out what the secrets were behind the bottle tags."

Finding a way to the wine trade was a rockier road for Sunier.   Continued...

Matthieu Mondesert (L) and Benoit Perrot (R), co-founders of Demain les Vins ( website, pose in Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris suburb, July 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer