Wine merchant: Interview with Pierre Antoine BORIE, owner of Cave BRIAU
For this new interview with Au MICRO de Bacchus, I am delighted to welcome Pierre Antoine BORIE, owner of the BRIAU cellars, rue David Johnston in Bordeaux.
He tells us about his career, his job and explains how the profession of wine merchant appeared and the different evolutions that there have been until today. He tells us about the daily life of a wine merchant, the creation of his website and the new trends since Covid.
Finally, we end with the famous personal section!
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Hello everyone, I am delighted to meet you for this new episode at the MICRO of Bacchus where I go to meet personalities of the wine world
Hi all. Welcome to the Au Micro de Bacchus channel!
Today I am delighted to interview Pierre-Antoine BORIE, wine merchant in Bordeaux, Rue David Johnston, at Briau, and from a large wine-making family.
Thank you Pierre Antoine for agreeing to lend you to the game of the Micro of Bacchus and to answer my questions.
Hello Pauline, I am delighted to be here with you to exchange a little about the profession of wine merchant
So let's start with your presentation: what is your story, your background, what did you do as a student, how did you get here at Briau?
Not very original here I am From Bordeaux, from a wine family. So it all started on September 7, 1986 when I was born!
No more seriously, I did all my schooling in the region then I went to study business in Reims for 3 years. Then, I came to do a master 1 and master 2 at Inseec Bordeaux. I went to a business school, I didn't know yet if I really wanted to work in the wine industry. I still took the opportunity to do internships with importers abroad, in a champagne house. Finally I realized that this is really what interested me. So then I did a master's degree at the Enita de Bordeaux in wine estate management. And I worked for a wine merchant in Bordeaux and then we had the opportunity with my family to take over the Briau cellar so in 2013 and my father asked me to take care of it.
The idea was for me to understand consumers Properties in Bordeaux sell a lot through trading, so not really a link with consumers.
It also allowed me to have an open mind, to realize the wines that appeal to people, to have a feedback also on the impact of the vintages. And as we also work with other production regions, champagne, spirits, to see commercially how it works, differently from Bordeaux.
Thank you Pierre-Antoine for these clarifications! Can you tell us a little more about the profession of wine merchant? What is it like to be a wine merchant?
So wine merchant good here are people who do not necessarily all work in the same way. But for me wine merchant it is really to bring advice to the customer, that is to say that we make a selection for the customers and to really direct them towards their choice and according to a budget and an opportunity. Is it wine to accompany a meal, what type of meal, for an aperitif, for gifts. So we are really in this council and we really try to make a sharp selection and to meet all budgets.
Finally at a wine merchant there is a huge part also Purchases.
Exactly we take a lot of time, it's true that I have the whole team of sellers who do the tastings with me. This is very important because they are also the ones who have the feelings of the customers, who know what the customers want to be guided on so it is quite important. And it takes us a good part of the year, moreover throughout the year.
We drip twice a day that is to say that we drip them in the morning, around noon and we re-drip them in the evening at the opening also to see with the oxygenation how the wines evolve.
We must all be unanimous really on the wine to be able to return it. It's a pretty important role!
It's the good part of the job to regularly taste little nuggets right to left
We're not going to complain. It's the little side that is nice. And it's true that we have the advantage, when we work in this environment, to work on a product that is rather nice. We share with all the people who work or even those who come to the store. There is always a little interest in wine, a little passion so it's still nice to be able to share.
Ok, now let's move on to the history of the wine merchant profession! When was this profession created?
Then the profession of wine merchant was created in 1822. In fact at the time, wine was consumed rather in taverns, restaurants. It was sold rather in barrels and barrels, it was consumed by the glass or pitcher in taverns. And in fact, at the time of the appearance of the bottle, there were first bottling in the properties, Louis Nicolas, who set up the Nicolas chain, it was he who first began to sell wine to individuals. So what is quite funny is that since the Nicolas sign still exists. It was taken over by Castel in 1988 but this is really the history of the wine merchant. It was the bottling and marketing directly to individuals the wine.
Okay thank you! I didn't know, we learn every day.
And so finally how has the profession of wine merchant evolved over time? It has been structured a little, it has been scattered or not at all?
So it was structured. It was at the beginning, rather in the big cities and after that it became democratized because there were more and more demands from people. It has also evolved because before, for example, in Bordeaux, wine merchants only sold Bordeaux. And finally with people who move, who are used to drinking wines a little by the way, the profession has really evolved on the choice and selection of wines. It has also expanded suddenly quite a bit to spirits, to beer also now even sometimes some wine merchants also do delicatessen. So here it is really on the selection that the profession has really evolved.
People are also more and more demanding of novelties so we must constantly renew ourselves
Ok and what can be the future of a wine merchant? The wine merchant still has a future despite everything we see now, sales on the internet? What is the future of this local business?
Yes because finally the wine merchant will always advise you because he knows the wines, the aging potential, the wine pairings that are possible.
It is true that this is the big advantage. You at Briau, you put a site online before the C0vid so impeccable. And so what you finally noticed is that this site allowed you to recover more young people, right?
It was launched just after August so after the first lockdown. But here we were able to do a bit of click and collect system too, prepare the commanders upstream and have fewer people at the same time in the store. We also have a lot of people who take the time in the evening or in the morning at those, to look a little at the list of wines we have and to arrive in store already having an idea by saying "I saw this on your site"…
And so there is not only the sale, there is also a little bit the "showcase" side before with the selection that people like to be able to watch.
Ok thank you Pierre Antoine! Can you still tell us your website?
So the website of the coup is a site a merchant site that gives access to all of our references, even we have a little more references present on the website than in store because we do not necessarily have the place to present them all. And the idea is to be able to click and collect for people locally and then we can also now make bike deliveries in Bordeaux up to sixty bottles.
Is it you on the bike?
No unfortunately no! but it would do me good
We have a partnership with a company that does this and it's quite convenient because in the afternoon within 2 hours, we can be efficient and delivered. After that you can also ship anywhere in France.
Which allows us to switch on the part a little eco responsibility but before the website?
Ok very good! So eco responsibility: what do you propose, do you do within Briau establishments for everything that is ecology? Not yet, projects?
That's it and already we have always kept all the boxes when we fill up the store we keep them and we give them to the customers when he takes various bottles, we give them back in these boxes there. We ask them if it does not bother them but as 3/4 it is for consumption on the contrary, they find it convenient. It allows us to throw away no cardboard, everything is reused in store. Then we also set up bags that can be reused with small compartments for 6 bottles, here are the regular customers often come with so we fill them. We also keep all the wooden crates of the Grands Crus, often it is customers who ask us to do DIY, shelves, to put on a bike rack.
Be careful you will have the whole neighborhood that will land now!
So suddenly, we actually sell them, it's ten euros at the checkout!
No, we keep them for the customers. We even had people send us DIY photos: there is one who made a cradle for his child with a crate and another who made a small bike for his grandson. It's funny he sent us the photos of the DIY. And then we also keep everything that is guillotines, what is inside or the overhangs for the fire, to light the fire.
We also recover all the corks from the tastings that we give back to an association that resells them to be sorted. It's donated to the fight against cancer so that's our little gestures!
But that's a lot of things in the end when you think about it.
Pierre-Antoine let's move on to the personal section! Are you ready? So Pierre Antoine, if you were a wine, what wine would you be?
I would be a Pauillac, classic, quite elegant, I age well!
To drink every day without moderation. A particular castle?
We remain neutral very well. A year in particular? In the last vintages there is a vintage that you like more than another?
So rather to drink now, I like everything that is 2001 and 2006
You have to be a little patient to make them age a little in your cellar.
If you were a music, what music would you be?
It's true that I like the great French authors, composers, deep texts. I think I might be Patrick Sébastien's Les Sardines
Ok thank you, very good!
And finally Pierre Antoine, if you were a film or a series, what film would you be?
So I like The Wolf of Wall Street. It's not for all the stories of bakery and flour rails but it's rather for the side where there is a lot of a lot of excess and we realize that finally in the end the excess, it's not what makes you happy. So it allows moments to rethink life and also turn to simple things like good wine, good meals. So this is a film that is fun but that makes you think, that excess is not good.
Thank you very much Pierre-antoine for lending yourself to the game.
You can come to Briau. You see a part of the team that is nice, that has a bit of humor. There is parking at your disposal to do your shopping so no problem to park. And chez Briau is located at 94 rue David Johnston here!
Thank you very much Pierre Antoine!
Thank you Pauline, I was delighted to be able to exchange with you.
See you soon! Good bye!
Here are the old interviews:
8. [Vignoble] Interview with Simon RULLIER, Managing Director of RULLIER
7. [Oenologue] Interview Gilles de REVEL, Dean of the Faculty of Oenology of Bordeaux
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