The Moutard family,
Champagne and Burgundy producers
François Moutard, the company’s visionary
The definition of the word “hedonist” seems to match François perfectly. Not just because he is a simple believer in pleasure, but because he is happy to share it with as many people as possible. Through Burgundy wines, Champagne and spirits, he has found something to help him spread happiness . And working with his family around him is also a vital part of this great opportunity.
In the 1980s, François learned very quickly from his father, now owning 10 hectares and leading a team of 4 employees. Lucien had a strong personality and above all a vision of growth for the company, focusing on family success above all. With his sisters, Agnès and Véronique, François continued the mission and looked to expand the Moutard brand throughout the years, by searching for new opportunities, conquering emerging markets at a time when total Champagne production was doubling in volume.
Whilst he easily recognised a few strategic errors from the past, he soon learned his lessons and had a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve with his company. Stabilising the brand, acquiring new high quality products and gradually approaching major restaurants as a producer with unusual value for money: these were the fixed objectives. The growth also involved Burgundy wines and the distillery for which he had high hopes.
A modern manager , he has an eye everywhere and tries to involve everyone in his decisions. When buying a machine, he will always be accompanied by its user in order to understand their opinion and assess the working tool. François likes to encourage and push the other person so that they give their best. However it is not about betraying their trust. Honesty is another of his qualities and he will not beat about the bush in giving his opinion if work is not performed properly.
Currently, François always likes to visit exhibitions, taking the time to discuss and share his passion.
He refers to London as his right pocket and Brussels his left, clearly not forgetting Paris which he regularly visits to experience the hustle and bustle which he appreciates so much. He defines himself as a “gentleman farmer” but he has much more energy that this simple cliché. Certainly, he is one of the dignitaries of the Confrérie du Saulte Bouchon Champenois, specifically a ‘Bouchonnier’ , i.e. a person who "judges the opening of bottles presented for sacrifice". It is another way to promote the qualities of Champagne, particularly when inducting a member from a foreign country. Above all, he has a passion for powerful vehicles or motorboats which he uses to navigate the region's lakes or the Arcachon basin. But happiness is not a solitary affair. On board, he needs his children, his clan. Nothing would be possible without them.
Agnès Moutard, family and business coordinator
Just after completing her studies in business management, Agnès had to immediately join the family business. No time to take a step back, to gain some experience in more advanced organisations - she had to adapt, alone, to a fast growing company.
Agnès is responsible for administrative matters, human resources, relations with banks and different organisations, and also supplier accounting. Furthermore, she doesn’t just stay in the office. It’s not unusual to find her welcoming visitors on the weekend to explain the different products and take part in tastings . A few years ago, she supervised work on the vines (and still likes to regularly walk around).
Her objective is to ensure a positive relationship between the brothers and cousins. For her, family is a real driver for the company and she wants to be proud of having successfully passed on the baton. The decision to purchase vineyards in Burgundy is in line with the desire for everyone to have work and to be able to blossom within the family home. She recognises that this youth provides motivation and energy thanks to the contribution of new ideas, innovation and challenges.
A reading and travel enthusiast , open to discovering other cultures, ways of living, and natural or urban landscapes, Agnès hopes to be able to travel the world some more, to contemplate “what nature and man have made”. However, she knows that she still needs to patient as none of the “boys” want to deal with the company’s Administrative matters...
Véronique Moutard, at the head of administration
She certainly has the most precise overview of the company. Also in charge of the reception, transport and export, Véronique essentially holds a central position to understand orders in progress. And her experience makes her vital when a problem arises.
With a Vocational Certificate in Administration, she started working for her father at 18. The vines, the cellars - she worked in all areas, gradually, before settling down in the office.
For her, the growth promoted by “the boys” is good news, particularly as the atmosphere is good and the expertise has been passed on. It would have been impossible to imagine it any other way. Someone coming from outside the family to take one of the key roles? Impossible. “I’d prefer to sell” she says without hesitation.
This is one of the aspects of her character : her ability to deal with problems head on. Véronique can sometimes lose her temper, within limits. Familiarity, for example, is unacceptable. “No one should forget their place” she explains. This doesn’t mean that she is insensitive. Recognition is very important to her. Sometimes she laments that it is not highlighted that the Moutard brand is managed by women. But she gets great satisfaction from discovering that one day, that the Moutard brand is sold in Vanuatu, on the other side of the world, or by being recognised during a walk along Troyes’ shopping streets. She loves all these little signs, and they underline her idea that quality always results in being distinguished, that renown is earned. Soon, she will be able to “air out” as she calls it, go on holiday more often and spend time away (but not too much) from this wonderful home where she grew up.
Thomas Laculle, globetrotter and connoisseur
The son of a winemaker, he naturally came to Beaune for his studies. After a Professional Baccalaureate in Farm Management specialising in Wine and Vines, then a Vocational Certificate in Wines and Spirits, he left for London to work as a Barman.
There his role allowed him to gradually promote the family brand when filling a cellar or recommending a Champagne to his customers. His sense of service developed and led to him leaving to open an establishment in North-East China, in Dalian, a city experiencing strong growth which already has over 7 million inhabitants. But in this region, customers do not yet have the right palate to appreciate the subtleties of French wines. Famous brands are dominant and it is very difficult to get established in this environment.
In 2014, Thomas returned to Buxeuil without losing his desire to spread the brand worldwide. Naturally, he works regularly in London which is experiencing a difficult period. And as he has a good understanding of Chinese culture, his strategy involves getting established in the numerous Asian restaurants in the British capital.
The US is also a chosen target for Thomas. There he has found a way to meet his passion for large spaces and vibrant cities. So each business trip to New York or Boston is a chance to forge new contacts and explore the country a little more.
When he is in France, Thomas also makes use of his customer service skills. On his initiative, the group reception space was soon made more attractive and pleasant. He wants to increase the number of visits and regularly approaches travel operators and travel agencies to encourage them to stop at the Moutard winery . In addition to the business benefit, Thomas has also found another way of meeting these travellers from across the world which he longs to discover.
Loving to meet people and make contacts, from China to the US , Thomas has distanced himself the most out of his family.
Edouard Laculle, vineyard supervisor
He is known as the “green thumb” by the other members of the family. Edouard is completely happy with this nickname. He loves nature and feels best when he’s outside. A graduate from Beaune with a Vocational Diploma in Farming, Winemaking and Oenology, he openly admits that he preferred the winemaking side to oenology. And very soon, from the 2009 harvest, he started supervising the use of the property’s land. Working with the vines is his favourite field. .
Respecting the land, taking time to listen to it, to understand it, to see it live with the seasons - that is Edouard’s day.
In the winter when the vines are resisting the cold, he also works in the distillery with his cousin Alexandre. But very soon he needs to go out and walk between the vines, seeing the changes to the stock which will soon be the early clusters. His satisfaction: “getting good grapes”, quite simply. You can’t miss his somewhat sardonic grin when he compares his work to his neighbours who like to change method too frequently, who have come to despise this wonderful land and who often have less favourable results.
A motorbike enthusiast, and more recently a hunter, he sees these activities as an opportunity to join friends and enjoy nature’s riches and precious moments of friendship. This is also why he likes to work as a family, with direct communication which avoids unsaid things and unnecessary tension. Remaining calm - zen would be the ideal term - is Edouard’s secret to succeeding in all his ventures.
Alexandre Moutard, creating the Family’s identity
Whilst Alexandre defines himself as a real “Epicurean” , not just because he loves to regularly discover new restaurants and taste some good crus, but also because he has a keen eye to understand different cultures worldwide. Interested in History, the so-called “we are where we came from” - to better understand what happens around us - he also has a creative side which he tries to develop within the company.
With a Vocational Diploma in Wines and Spirits, he also has a Science and Technology Baccalaureate in Management, specialising in marketing, which has helped him to find the best way for the family company to talk about what it makes.
After spending 6 months in Hong Kong at a prestigious wine importer, he chose to return to France to find a new area of growth for the Moutard company. And it is with this distillery that he wants to succeed in this challenge . His previous placement at the Jos. Nusbaumer artisan distillery in Alsace awakened his desire.
However he knows that he can benefit from the whole family business structure to create quality products. This new activity is the next step for the Moutard brand . Beyond this simple production of spirits, Alexandre is involved in the identity and image that he wants to put across. He uses everything as inspiration, from his experience in Asia (where he returns regularly for the Vinexpo exhibition in Hong Kong) and favourite visits, such as in Florence, in Italy .
The aim is to promote the bottle as it is, i.e. that it is immediately recognisable behind the bar, and of course, synonymous with quality.
Benoît Moutard, logistics and numbers specialist
Benoît dreamed of being a fighter pilot when he was 10 years old. And whilst his career path led him to other pastures, it is easy to find some traces of this childhood passion in his daily life.
Aviation immediately evokes speed and control - and these obsessions are found in Benoît’s work.
Saving time, or rather, optimising each moment so that production works better, or “slides”. With a Professional Baccalaureate in Farming Management obtained at Beaune and over one year’s experience in Great Britain as a barman, he acquired a taste for supply management (management of the logistics chain) and applied it in the field through excellent sequencing. This involves proper organisation of human resources, the choice of equipment or stock management, for example. And above all, anticipating anything unexpected.
A figures specialist, Benoît can quickly visualise the necessary steps so that production takes place successfully. He takes the time to write down the procedures which will ensure the success of each new project. So, if the Burgundy wine orders need to increase from 200,000 to 600,000 bottles, he isn’t particularly worried. He has already planned everything and knows he can count on his team of around thirty employees to monitor it. He savours the success when tasting because the taste is still excellent quality despite changes experienced during production.
Known for his energy, Benoît is always eager to go out on the town with friends, ready for a few memorable celebrations. But without letting himself be surprised, like the good fighter pilot he nearly became. And he soon plans to go and conquer customers in certain other major American states which are too often ignored.
Victor Laculle, winemaking traveller
“A rural globetrotter” is how Victor would be described, a term which he found himself and which fits him perfectly. A student of the Beaune winemaking school, he soon decided to dedicate himself to the industry. His first placements took place at Châteauneuf du Pape, with the Brunier family, at Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, then Domaine Alain Besson, in Chablis and finally at Domaine A.F. Gros – Parent in Pommard, Côte d’Or.
After soon moving to Bordeaux , to the Institut des Sciences de la Nature et de l’Agro-Alimentaire, he crossed the Atlantic to live the “American dream” which intrigued him for a while. In California at the “Clos Solene” winery, he worked alongside Solène and Guillaume Fabre, Bordeaux natives who had developed a wonderful vineyard where production is reserved for a privileged few. Victor, seduced by adventure, looked to discover another production style. He moved to New Zealand , to Blenheim, in the Marlborough vineyards where he discovered the “wine factories”, as he calls them.
Still a travel lover , he left for South Africa and helped with the Nabygelegen vineyard production in Wellington, notably the creators of Snow Mountain, a surprising 100% Syrah made with grapes planted at 800 metres altitude.
A few months later, Victor is found in the antipodes, to the north-east of Tasmania at the Bay of Fires estate. Whoever knew his next destination would be truly blessed…
Between each trip, Victor of course takes part in the growth of the family estate. He gets involved depending on requirements, in the cellar, production, distillery or sales. With all the knowledge he has acquired during his different experiences, he wants to help his brothers and cousins to spread the brand’s reputation across the world. Continuing to produce the best quality, of course. And whilst he is very proud of his “home” production, it’s not surprising to sometimes see Victor at the head of one or several estates. but certainly in lands very far from Burgundy or Champagne.