Managing Director Tenute di Toscana
Met by Gerda
In Bordeaux, I met an important man for La Place de Bordeaux, the Managing Director of Tenute di Toscana, Patrick Lachapèle. Tenuta di Toscana is the name of the representative office of the Frescobaldi Group’s estates: Ornellaia, Masseto, Tenuta Luce and Tenuta CastelGiocondo.
After 17 years of living in Asia, Patrick returned to his roots in Bordeaux months ago. He is a dynamic, passionate man and like Axel and Alessandro, he is the perfect blend of Bordeaux-Tuscany culture. The CEO of the Frescobaldi family estates, Giovanni Geddes, has been a visionary by encouraging links between Bordeaux and Tuscany, two wine regions of great wines.
Gerda: Tell us about you…
Patrick Lachapèle: I was born in Bordeaux, my mother in Pessac and my father in Saint-Emilion. All my family lives in Bordeaux. Thanks to the business school I attended in Bordeaux, I discovered travel through my internships. My first internship was for 4 months in Hong Kong at 18. When I was 20, I left for 8 months in Sydney, then Beijing and I stayed in Asia for 16 years: 2 years in Beijing, 5 years in Shanghai and 9 years in Hong Kong. A large part of my career has been in China. To sum up, I am a pure Bordeaux man who, by force of circumstance, has opened his mind to the world and to the world wines.
G: What are the main challenges you personally face in your work?
Patrick Lachapèle: Probably to be able to market our estates through several entities: negociant, distributors and sommeliers, and to be able to pass on a message that is clear and that is correctly relayed throughout all of these entities.
Different messages need to be conveyed, whether they are technical (viticulture, winemaking, and our various projects in the vineyard), or more emotional when we address the sommelier and private clientele.
As Tuscany is not accessible on a daily basis, another challenge is to be able to share with our partners in Bordeaux and elsewhere the DNA of our estates, and their differences.
G: What positioning(s) do you want for your brand?
Patrick Lachapèle: First of all, I never talk about brand, but about domain. We are wineries, not brands.
The positioning is different for each estate and we have a different strategy for each of them, but the vision is common. Our wines are Tuscan wines, owned by the Frescobaldi family, producers for over 800 years and 30 generations. It is a story of territorial belonging, a certain way of doing things with a constant focus on perfection and a long-term vision at all levels: viticulture, distribution, promotion…
G: What are your priorities in terms of business development?
Patrick Lachapèle: Our aim is not to do more, but to do better. We are constantly looking for serious partners who understand our vision and our passion. Our experience in knowing the markets and the frequency of our trips to the field allows us to understand the link between importers, distributors, sommeliers and private customers. A world in perpetual change!
La Place de Bordeaux
G: Why did you choose to sell your wines through La Place de Bordeaux?
Patrick Lachapèle: We have a common history with Bordeaux, through our grape varieties, our breeding, or through some of the men and women who have participated in our adventures. The Director of Operations of Ornellaia, Axel Heinz, has lived in the Médoc for a long time. The estate has also worked with Mr. Michel Rolland since 1991. The examples are numerous.. Commercially, La Place of Bordeaux is a unique tool of incomparable power. It is a megaphone that does not exist anywhere else. It is a chance to be distributed by La Place, alongside the greatest wines of Bordeaux, whose history, excellence and daily work we obviously respect. I myself am the first ambassador of Bordeaux wines and, on my many trips, when I have to choose a wine in a restaurant, Bordeaux is always my first choice!
G: Has the distribution changed thanks to the Place de Bordeaux and do you benefit from a greater visibility thanks to it?
Patrick Lachapèle: Yes, very clearly: Previously, our Domaines were distributed through exclusive distributors in each market. The partnership with La Place has changed our approach, the quality of distribution, and also the perception of our estates. Negoce is an extraordinary amplifier of the energy and work done in our estates. Perhaps the best example is Continental China, a difficult market to penetrate because of the different lifestyles, codes and networks. Thanks to the work we have done hand in hand with our partners in China, we have achieved some interesting results. But we still have a long way to go!
G: What sales support materials are available to distributors to promote your wines?
Patrick Lachapèle: We are firmly convinced that the human element remains at the center of our estate’s promotion, and we are very present both at the estates to receive our clients and at the various markets. Also, thanks to the recent opening of our office in Bordeaux, we are now closer to our partners-negociant and will soon be able to receive them and their customers.
Finally, we are also investing via social networks such as Instagram or Wechat.
G: Could you give me a memorable bottle?
Patrick Lachapèle: I will mention a great bottle … Mouton Rothschild 1998. When I left my job at Baron Philippe de Rothschild, I opened this bottle at an unexpected moment with a great friend over a magnificent duck breast. It was all there: the mythical bottle (whose label was made by the Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo) and the emotion of the moment, unforgettable.
Gerda BEZIADE has an incredible passion for wine and perfect knowledge of Bordeaux acquired within prestigious wine merchants for 25 years. Gerda joins Roland Coiffe & Associés in order to bring you, through “Inside La PLACE“, more information about the estates we sell.