Gin, a drink that can be drunk in a thousand ways. We have seen gin through a bit of boom of the last several years with so many new flavours and blends that it not matter what your taste, there is a gin for you.
You’d be surprised to know that there is a prestigious group call The Gin Hall of Fame, and its newest member is non other than Jean-Sébastien Robicquet, the founder and president of Maison Villevert. Robicquet was chosen to become a member after his innovation with the gin industry that let to the creation of a new sector, taking the traditional use of cereal to create gin and replacing it with grapes. This is something has never been done before, which to us demonstrates Robicquets unique understanding of the grape and vines. Through this, the inception of G’Vine gin in 2006. This was the first and only gin made with grapes.
Jean-Sébastien Robicquet has been selected to enter the Gin Hall of Fame because he has been in pursuit of spirits innovation and excellence for more than 20 years. One of the greatest steps the company has made in this direction came with its G’Vine Gin de France where the use of grape base spirits and botanical vine flowers set it apart from other gins, and it has maintained a reputation for its unconventional composition and unique taste. Drawing on his family’s rich history in the Cognac industry, Jean-Sébastien has earned Maison Villevert a name as a challenger of norms and producer of world-class spirits.Bethany Whymark, Editor, Gin Magazine
The G’Vine gin family is made up of four varieties; G’Vine Floraison which is a fresh, smooth and rounded spirit with a distinct floral note from addition of fragrant vine flower. G’Vine Nouaison is a bold, spicy, crisp and aromatic spirit inspired from a recipe recorded in 1495 and is suited for cocktails particularly the Negroni. June By G’Vine flavoured collection (Royal Pear and Cardamom and Summer Peach and Wild Fruits) and latterly Nouaison Gin Reserve, aged in Cognac barrels, complete the family.
“It is a great honour to receive the prestigious accolade and of course the first French person to be recognised in this way” says Robicquet.
“When I set up Maison Villevert it seemed only natural to me as an enologist, distiller and a French man to embark on the adventure of making a gin based on grape. When I created G’Vine in 2006, there were about 700 gins on the market (today there are around 7,000) and I wanted to create something new in the super premium gin category, a French contribution. We believe, using grape spirit as our base, we deliver a gin that is unsurpassed in taste, flavour and texture.”
Robicquet himself grew up surrounded by grapes, raised in the French vineyards between Bordeaux and Cognac. “Grapes are part of the Maison Villevert DNA as much as it is of our French DNA,” he explains. “We have an unrivalled passion and understanding of the grape and vines and a vision that the grape is ennobling the spirits category,” he adds.
On innovation Robicquet says, “One must be innovative, unconventional and ready to break conventions. One must not be afraid of challenging oneself, to challenge others, to invent or create. Of course it was an unconventional move and for me being unconventional, it meant taking down barriers and being innovative, but absolutely knowing and understanding our roots, what we do and where we are heading.”
In 2021 Maison Villevert will celebrate their twentieth anniversary by setting a clear goal, to reach €100m of revenue in 2023 with 100 employees while keeping intact their history of faith, passion and innovation and maintaining the inquisitiveness and uninhibited spirit of a craft distillery in the competitive space of international markets.
“This vision of the world of spirits gives us exceptional scope for international development, founded on our values of committed entrepreneurship, respect, and excellence, as well as channelling our team’s energy and avant-garde ideas to drive us forward. We are nothing without others around us. One must be able to state one’s own beliefs to share them,” adds Robicquet.