I am Mathieu Roland-Billecart, the 7th generation of the Billecart family to run our Champagne House since its creation in 1818
Mr. Roland-Billecard you are one of the member of the Henokiens Association, could you please present yourself to our readers?
> Mathieu Roland-Billecart : I am Mathieu Roland-Billecart, the 7th generation of the Billecart family to run our Champagne House since its creation in 1818.
I grew up in the Champagne region but I finished my studies in management and accounting in England. I then worked in mergers and acquisitions at the City of London for 13 years. My return to the family business was a two-step process: I first took over the management of our family holding company in 2013, followed by the presidency in 2019.
Can you present your company and its activities?
> M.R-B : We are producers of Champagne wines. This includes the management of our vineyard and that of our partners, the vinification as well as the entire bottling and distribution process.
The house has a high-end positioning and is distributed in more than 100 countries, mainly in luxury hotels and restaurants, specialized retailers as well as private customers and corporate partners.
Which have been the outstanding events for your company in the recent years?
> M.R-B : We celebrated our bicentenary in 2018, which was an opportunity to look back on our past achievements and to inaugurate our new chai containing 24 large oak casks.
We also made the transition from the 6th to the 7th generation at the head of the company in 2019.
Could you give us some indications about your major projects in a medium or long term?
> M.R-B : We plan to continue purchasing vines in the Grand Crus of the region and developing several projects to provide an ever more exceptional experience to our customers. This requires investments in digital but also in our reception capacity at the estate in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ.
The environmental turning point in viticulture represents an important challenge for us. Our family has always had a close and respectful relationship with nature. But we now have to manage different labelling systems to help our clients better understand our approach.
How can you explain the longevity of your company?
> M.R-B : Strong values that remain faithful to the terroir, as well as a commitment to the quality of the wines above all else. There have been ups and downs in our history, but each generation has risen to the challenge of protecting, building - and sometimes rebuilding - the house, in order to keep it among the elite of the Champagne region.
Could you say that this extraordinary longevity is an asset in your customer relations?
> M.R-B : The family aspect matters for some of our clients because it guarantees a long-term vision and strong values that they are able to identify with.
However, the majority of our customers is, rightly so, loyal to Billecart-Salmon for the quality of our wines. Our family culture and experience serve therefore as a means of offering these great wines.
Our reputation is on the line with every opened bottle and we strive to offer a top-notch tasting experience for each and every one of them.
Is the transmission of the firm to a family member governed by clearly established rules?
> M.R-B : These rules are reflected in our values, but nothing is formalized on paper. Each generation was simply committed to the mission of identifying the most suitable person in the next generation to run the company. So far, it works...
Is the new generation already working in the firm?
> M.R-B : It is still a little early to talk about it but soon enough, I hope.