Jean-Sébastian Robicquet, founding chairman of Maison Villevert


Jean-Sébastien Robicquet’s imaginative creations have acquired global renown, including Cîroc vodka (ranked second premium vodka in the world), G’Vine gin (ranked third premium gin in the world) and the vermouth ‘La Quintinye Vermouth Royal’ (judged best red vermouth in the world)… These are just three examples born of his inspiration and the talent of the teams at Maison Villevert.

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From the outset in 2001, we built on our reputation as innovators.  We reinvent spirits, creating accomplished, high-end products which are very much in tune with the times. Our approach means that we have huge growth potential across the globe, based on our values of respect, excellence and entrepreneurial commitment, as well as the drive and dedication of our fantastic teams.

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It was by chance that Jean-Sébastien Robicquet came to be based in the region of his ancestors, highly talented artisans who can be traced back to the times of the Renaissance.  Arriving in the 1990s in the Cognac region, he would rediscover five centuries of family history dating back to the 15thand 16th centuries  – a time when François 1st was king at the height of the Renaissance; the era when Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic to the New World and when Gutenberg invented  the printing press.  Now, in the Cognac region, Jean-Sébastien Robicquet would take up the mantle of his ancestors who were pioneers in the early days of cognac…today one of the most prestigious spirits in the world.

A man of many tastes!


A few months after he was born, Jean-Sébastien’s family went to live in Cambodia. As a child, he would follow his mother around the vibrant markets and these sensory experiences  –  the enchanting array of perfumes, aromas and flavours  – were embedded in his memory.

In France, his ‘olfactory lexicon’ was expanded while he was growing up in a small village near Bordeaux.  Surrounded by vineyards, he learned about tending the vines; about grapes and grape must and appreciating nature’s myriad perfumes. His father was influential in developing his taste experiences and discerning palate.  He became a student in oenology at Bordeaux in the laboratory of Jean Ribéreau-Gayon (1905-1991), who, along with Louis Pasteur, is considered one of the founders of modern oenology.  Jean-Sébastien undertook professional training in wine-tasting and he went on to study law, as well as write books on wine. His books reveal his already deeply forged passions for wine-tasting and sharing the art de vivre inherent in the world of wines and spirits.

Jean-Sébastien’s professional connection with the world of spirits came about when Hennessy - global leader in cognac - tasked him with growing the cognac market in Singapore. There, the formative sensibilities of his childhood in the Far East were reawakened by familiar perfumes and, immersing himself local life, he found an easy empathy with the Chinese and minority communities.  After Hennessy, he worked with Hine cognac before joining the team at the celebrated Bordeaux Châteaux of Bernard Magrez. The dawn of the 21st century heralded new ideas and Jean-Sèbastien created EuroWine Gate, one of the very first online portals for distributing French wines and spirits on the US market.  In 2001, Diageo was keen to create a new premium vodka… French, exceptional, unusual and with a unique taste experience.  The global leader in spirits approached Jean-Sébastien who had the imagination and talent to create a grape-based vodka… and Cîroc was launched in 2003. Ten years on and championed by two brand ambassadors – Sean John  Combs and Jean-Sébastien Robicquet – Cîroc became one of the top 10 most prestigious brands in the world (source:  IWSC 2014). Jean-Sébastien’s development model was firmly established:  creating, growing and supporting international premium spirits brands – and aiming to achieve benchmark status.
Jean-Sébastien’s professional connection with the world of spirits came about when Hennessy - global leader in cognac - tasked him with growing the cognac market in Singapore. There, the formative sensibilities of his childhood in the Far East were reawakened by familiar perfumes and, immersing himself local life, he found an easy empathy with the Chinese and minority communities.  After Hennessy, he worked with Hine cognac before joining the team at the celebrated Bordeaux Châteaux of Bernard Magrez. The dawn of the 21st century heralded new ideas and Jean-Sèbastien created EuroWine Gate, one of the very first online portals for distributing French wines and spirits on the US market.  In 2001, Diageo was keen to create a new premium vodka… French, exceptional, unusual and with a unique taste experience.  The global leader in spirits approached Jean-Sébastien who had the imagination and talent to create a grape-based vodka… and Cîroc was launched in 2003. Ten years on and championed by two brand ambassadors – Sean John  Combs and Jean-Sébastien Robicquet – Cîroc became one of the top 10 most prestigious brands in the world (source:  IWSC 2014). Jean-Sébastien’s development model was firmly established:  creating, growing and supporting international premium spirits brands – and aiming to achieve benchmark status.
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