Antoine Juillard, Sales Director - Champagne Philipponnat

Antoine Juillard, Sales Director

A loyal and committed network of commercial partners

You’ve been Sales Director with the House for the French market for over fifteen years. What has been your main challenge in recent years?

“When I joined the House, our entire network of retailers needed to be rebuilt. In Paris in particular, the context was beginning to change, with the development of gourmet bistros. Establishments like Grégory Marchand’s Frenchie and The Beef Club were quick to put their trust in us. This type of place was a little more interested in the wine, its terroir and how it was made, and didn’t just focus on the best-known Champagne brands. Philipponnat provides the best of both worlds, as it were: a House with a complete range of wines, yet with a family dimension. Charles Philipponnat was already highlighting our know-how and product quality. This emphasis on quality, sincerity and transparency, which is what the new wave of “gourmet bistro” restaurants is looking for, has helped us to develop our network. We are now reaping the rewards of the groundwork Charles began to lay over twenty years ago to improve the quality and precision of our wines. ”


Tell us about the “Friends of the House”. How have you managed to create this circle of experts, collectors and connoisseurs, and to forge bonds of affinity and trust with them over the years?

“Our Friends of the House are loyal devotees of Philipponnat, in particular through the Clos des Goisses and its terroir. They knew the House and loved our wines, like a well-kept secret. They were ready to work with us to transmit the House’s philosophy. They include top sommeliers Clément Lefaux from Arpège, Patrick Borras with Pierre Gagnaire, Sylvain Nicolas with Guy Savoy, Pierre Vila Palleja from Petit Sommelier, Marine Delaporte at Yam’tcha, Laura Vidal for chef Manuel Martinez at Louis XIII and the bistro l’Antre-Amis. Our family spirit and constant pursuit of excellence are our best assets in the rapport we have with these professionals, who are also passionate about the quality of their products and the durability of their relationships with their partners. ”


You’ve also done a deal to develop the presence of Philipponnat Champagnes in the world of gastronomy, and you feature on the menus of some very fine restaurants. How did you build loyalty with this very discerning network?

“Philipponnat customers are looking for an experience connected to taste and terroir, they want quality and character. Being listed in the finest establishments requires years of networking. It’s all a question of time. You need to have a genuine, sincere relationship with your friends, be reliable and straightforward, but above all patient. It’s like a long-distance race…

Our Champagnes are a perfect match for gastronomy. We often organise small group lunches with chefs and sommeliers to demonstrate that Philipponnat Champagnes pair very well with any dish and provide a remarkable gastronomic experience. I remember some very special moments, like the day when, at Alain Ducasse’s Plaza Athénée, sommelier Laurent paired our Royale Réserve Rosé with an incredible dish: langoustines on caviar lentils in jelly. The pairing and the occasion were exceptional, and gave me an example to use for our entire network. ”


What are the challenges for the future?

“Over the last fifteen years, we’ve done considerable work in the field, particularly in Paris. Today, we need to consolidate this perception of quality and our position as one of the very best, continue to be present in some very fine establishments, and seek out new collaborations with prestigious brands that share our values. Philipponnat is a name that has resonated in Champagne for over 500 years. The House has an exceptional terroir. Our wines have real personality, they are intense and powerful. Philipponnat has everything it takes to appeal to Champagne lovers, including younger ones, who are looking for sincere products with an “approachable” dimension. I believe that these values of striving for perfection, quality and proximity are very precious, and that they are an opportunity for Philipponnat! ”