11. Interview Jean-Benoit AUZÉLY, founder of 20H33

Jan 27, 2022 | Uncategorised

Interview with Jean-Benoit Auzély, founder of the website 20H33

For this new interview with Au Micro de Bacchus, I am delighted to welcome Jean-Benoit AUZÉLY, founder of the private sales site 20h33, specialized in the great wines of Bordeaux. Jean-Benoit AUZÉLY tells us about his career, his job. How do you go from sport to wine?

He explains the concept of 20H33 and its positioning in front of traders. We discuss the importance of digital marketing in his field and the values he wants to develop in his company.

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


This month I'm going to interview Jean Benoit AUZÉLY, who has created an online sales site for bottles of wine: it's called 20h33.
He will respect his career, will explain his company, what is the job of distributor and finally we will finish with the famous personal section!

Hello Jean-Benoit and welcome! Can you start by telling us a little about your career? 

Yes with pleasure! My career path is still a little atypical since I do not come from the world of wine at the base. I have a dual commercial and sporting vocation. And then when I arrived in the region in 2003, I became passionate about wine and began to do my personal education. I was in a company called Le Coq Sportif that I helped relaunch in France, the story ended in 2012.And I decided to switch from rooster to wine!!

Very nice pun bravo!
Can you explain how you trained in the world of wine? Since you were not from that background.

Already you arrive in a wine region where everyone works in the world of wine whether winegrowers, agronomists, oenologists, coopers, people who work in the vineyard, people who work in the cellar. So by going to meet these people, you visit properties, you start to make your little personal journey, to taste wines, you start to be interested in it, to make your little cellar bottom, to play with friends when they come to dinner at home and then little by little you start taking tasting courses and it was done like that for my departure with 20H33.

So we can say that you are self-taught in your job finally?

We can say it completely even!

Congratulations that even if you do not come from the world of wine and even if you do not know anything about it at the beginning, you just have to persevere and believe in it!
Ok JB thank you for these clarifications. Can you explain the different facets of your job! What skills do you need to be a distributor?

There are several components in the distribution of wine on the Internet. The first one concerns sourcing, as we talked about earlier. So go find the right wines at the right price!

For sourcing, are the winegrowers calling on you or you too will go and get them, approach them? How's it going? Or maybe it's just both?

You answered: both! We will surely come to it later, but I anticipate a future question. Covid has been an accelerator of promotion, especially with winemakers who have found themselves with markets completely stuck. That is, everything that was CHR network was closed for a while. I also had export markets that were closed, I think of the Trump tax. And as a result, the Internet offers an important showcase for winegrowers. We are more and more solicited for 18 months now and it is weekly that is to say that every week I have new winegrowers who solicit me.

But it gives you juice to continue this adventure even more?

So juice when you sell wine is better anyway (laughs)!

It gives me juice, it motivates me and above all it gives credibility to the positioning we took at the beginning of being hyper specialist in Bordeaux wines. And it allows us to offer small nuggets or micro cuvées from winegrowers who have few distribution channels apart from B to C, the sale to individuals. They are offered a window and an image that they do not have today. We work live.

Okay so there on the other hand you give another information is that suddenly 20h33 is specialized in Bordeaux wines, in Bordeaux?

So I give information and at the same time I will give you a scoop. 20:33 why 20:33? Because we sell Bordeaux wine (33). So that was the claim the start. Now that we have acquired this credibility and legitimacy with our customers we are starting to open up in homeopathic doses on wines from other regions and other countries for 2 reasons.
First because we have demand from our customers and then because we are offered them on very targeted, very qualitative things and it will be a real lever of growth for future years.

Ok very well then we completely deviated from my main question which was to ask you what were the facets of your job? But at least you were able to explain a little about the adventures of 20:33. So back to the question what are the facets? so sourcing then …

Sourcing, e-commerce and marketing and the 2 are linked. That is to say how Pauline, I sell you the wines that are online on 20:33 when you do not know me and you want to buy. How do I do to, from your sofa, make you come to my website and give you confidence and trigger your purchase.
Digital marketing or what we call customer acquisition, it's a real job in its own right so we have someone who takes care of it full time. We have different levers to reach customers: social networks, sponsored ads by highlighting certain products, SEO via Google Adwords, natural referencing, free publications that also highlight the daily activity of the company. And digital marketing helps us to bring the prospect to our site, that he registers and then that he becomes a customer.

Okay very well so so to my question what are the skills to be a good wine distributor finally you just answered a lot of skills. So you have to be curious about sourcing, a good relationship for the salesperson, be a little resourceful and also master the field of digital marketing. Do I forget things?

No, I would just add a clarification on the relational and on the digital. They do not work completely together but they allow to have good suppliers. And then after word of mouth and relationships are really important. That is to say that when a customer is satisfied, he talks to several people and also the opposite when he is not too satisfied he also talks to others. First of all I think you have to be passionate, that's really the first skill.

If I summarize our project to us it is organized around the 3 Ps: pleasure, sharing and passion. I think that's the basic skills.

JB, eco-responsibility is a somewhat fashionable subject at the moment but which is a real subject. In this profession of distributor, do we manage to do eco-responsible things?

In any case, it is a subject that we take up head on, I think it concerns us all. For us, there are not 50,000 solutions but we have not yet revolutionized this problem. We, all the cartons that we have made are recyclable, everything that is cardboard of wine packaging, I bring them to the dump. We pay for it by the way, because I have a pro card. And then everything related to the wooden crates I give a lot to the friends and then from time to time it serves me to light the fireplace. But for the moment I have not yet found the solution that would allow us to be 0 carbon.

Anyway with transport it would not be possible!

No it's impossible, unless you have a fleet of carrier pigeons but it's a complicated what!

Why not! A new concept to implement. Digital marketing level you would be a hit there! Well let's talk about Covid now, you've already talked about it by saying that Covid has propelled all these sales a little, do you have any other things to tell us about the impact it has had on your professional life, on the life of 20:33?

Yes then Covid has had an effect of accelerator of growth and figures but linking growth only to Covid would be a little reductive. That is to say, we coupled this with an acceleration of the budgets committed to digital marketing, by managing this activity drastically and by following the budgets committed with what is called the returns on investments on a daily basis. The two coupled have made that the growth has been at the rendezvous. But we can't say it's only related to Covid.

So you during Covid, you never stopped working?

Ah but I've never worked so hard even and we continue to work well. But for several reasons and I think that the essential reason is also that we are serious, we are close to our customers, we have put the human at the heart of our project. And I think customers feel it. I will go further, I receive emails today from people when they receive their package, they tell me "Hello JB", who are talking to me. There are guys it's been 8 years that they buy wine soon 10, I've never seen them and they talk to me as if we knew each other for years. It's a real pride!

So is there a new JB project that is being developed right now?

Then there are plenty! You're lucky today. The first is fresh, we have just signed the purchase of our future offices in Libourne. We will settle in the city center with a small storage part and an open-workspace part for my collaborator Elise, for the interns who will join us and maybe a future collaborator, it's in reflection. This space will allow us to implement different services and in particular Click and Collect for local customers!

Ahh that's something for eco-responsibility!

Exactly it will also allow us to meet our customers physically and that I think is very important. We will surely organize initiations to tasting, we will bring material to continue to meet our customers. So this is the first big project, we will inaugurate the buildings if everything goes well before the summer and it will correspond to the 10th anniversary of 20:33. I can tell you that tonight it will be The Place To Be.
This is the 2nd project is that we are developing the new version of our site with a mobile app!

So on the mobile api we can also buy our wines?

So we can already but the app is not yet completely super efficient and so we have upgraded the quality of our digitalization and it will further accelerate our growth.

A 3rd project?

It is to continue the human structuring of the company, we are thinking about completing the workforce and starting to open up to other countries!

If you are interested in maybe applying at 20:33, do not hesitate he will look at your file carefully!

We are looking for interns in commerce, marketing and also in graphic design so you are welcome!
And we work in music at home!

Ahh you have to love Celine Dion and Patrick Bruel right? 

And ACDC!

Great transition, let's move on to the personal section!
JB, if you were a music you would be what?

Oh that's a good question! For me it would be Pixies – Gouge Away

What if you were a wine? Can you answer that, what wine would you be?

So I can without difficulty! I don't know if I'm going to name castles because I'm going to make 1 happy and I'm going to antagonize all the other winemakers. But I think I'll be a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Or a little Cabernet Franc and a little Cabernet Sauvignon.

It's a nice way to get around the question, I had never been done it but I appreciate it. Rather right bank! He is a good person.
And to finish JB if you were a sport what sport would you be?

So it's not "if I was" but it's "if you did sports what do you do"

Is it that you do more?

Oh if I do a lot of it precisely! And right now I'm more of a triathlon! To tell you the truth I just did my first Ironman and I am registered for another Ironman project next summer that will take place in Bavaria. At the moment for the practice rather triathlon and for the spirit I am rugby.

Thank you JB for taking the time and playing the game of answering all my questions from Au Micro de Bacchus, I wish you a great adventure and I tell you see you very soon!

Thank you!

Here are the old interviews:

10. [Oenotourisme] Interview with Philippe MASSOL, Director of the Cité du Vin

9. [Caviste] Interview with Pierre Antoine BORIE, owner of Cave BRIAU

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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