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No plans for change at Mouton – yet

The late Baroness Philippine de Rothschild’s children have spoken of their plans for the future of Mouton Rothschild and how there’ll be no changes – for now.

From l-r: Camille Sereys de Rothschild, Julien Beaumarchais de Rothschild, Philippe Sereys de Rothschild and Philippe Dhalluin at the Sotheby’s tasting in Hong Kong, Thursday 29 January

Speaking to the drinks business at a tasting organised by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, in advance of an ex-cellar sale taking place today (Friday 30 January), Mouton’s new chairman, Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, his sister Camille and brother Julien outlined their immediate plans – to simply continue the family legacy.

The baroness passed away last August and the estate was left to her three children. A formidable figure in the wine industry, at the head of a flourishing estate and, as Camille said, “loved” by her employees, filling her shoes is undoubtedly a daunting prospect and a slow, steady start is perhaps to be expected.

“Our mother built a fantastic company and we don’t want to destroy what she has done,” explained Philippe.

“When you’re on top, staying up is very difficult. It takes a long time to build an image and five minutes to destroy it.”

Nonetheless, while Julien admitted that the “timing is too early” to begin planning new projects just yet, there was still the desire to drive further.

He quoted a Tibetan saying: “Once you’re on top of the mountain, continue to climb.”

“Clearly we’ll move on,” Philippe continued. “New markets will open. New projects will present themselves.”

Their grandfather, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, started the famous Opus One partnership in Napa valley with Bob Mondavi and Philippine created Almaviva in Chile with Concha y Toro but what any new project may be or when it may appear, Philippe stressed it would not arrive for months or even a few years.

Although the immediate focus may be conservative, Mouton currently finds itself leading the first growth pack and in the ascendency, taking over from where Lafite once lead so confidently.

It’s a situation ripe for exploitation and, indeed, the ex-cellar sale in Hong Kong linking Mouton with the coming Chinese lunar year of the ram is a calculated move to do just that.

Yet for Philippe Mouton’s success is no accident. “If Mouton is up there today it is not because Lafite is down, it’s because we want to be up there,” he said.

“In the last couple of years we’ve taken on the lead. But it’s not a surprise, it’s 10 years of hard work, the right work, responding and getting out to consumers,” he concluded, singly out technical director Philippe Dhalluin and his team in particular.

“The only thing I really hope with Mouton is it’s a candle not a sparkler,” added Julien. “We’re aiming for long-term success and I hope it’s not just a trend.”

Style always trumps trends though. “Mouton ne change” as the saying goes and there’s really no need for elaborate new plans and schemes as long as the basics are covered, consistently year after year.

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