Philippe Pascal traded a long and successful corporate career in fine wines and luxury goods to work the land as a vigneron in Burgundy. But don’t say he is “retired.” He is working harder than ever and loves it!

Since 1990, Pascal held successive leadership positions in the U.S. and France that represent French quality and luxury. They include: CEO for both Barton & Guestier and Mumm-Perrier Jouët Champagne Group at Seagram, and in 1994  joining French luxury group, LVMH  to hold CEO roles for both Moët Hennessy and LVMH Watch & Jewelry. Between 1997 and 2000 he served as Chairman of the French Federation of Wines & Spirits Export Companies- FEVS. For all this and more, he was awarded France’s Legion d’Honneur recognizing his long career leadership in French wine and luxury brands.

In 2012 he transitioned from LVMH to work full time as a vigneron in Bourgogne You could say he is now CEO of his Next Chapter.

Catherine and Philippe Pascal

Catherine and Philippe Pascal

Pascal and wife, Catherine, own Domaine du Cellier aux Moines, a 900-year-old wine estate in the Côte Chalonnaise (Givry) which they acquired in 2004 and have restored and updated, including replanting vines, adding gravity cellaring and transitioning to biodynamic farming. The estate’s name “cellar of the monks,” refers to the Cistercian order of monks who once lived and work there centuries ago.

Initially, farming was a weekend project for Pascal while he managed his busy corporate executive life, but it wasn’t new to him. Working in agriculture is a full circle career move for him. After earning a Master’s of Science in Agronomy, he served the French government in the West African country of Guinea-Bissau, and then spent 10 years working with SOPEXA in the U.S.A. to promote the French Wine & Food Industry, serving as the agency’s president for five years.

Domain du Cellier Aux Moines = the Cistercian Monk’s cellar= 900 years of history.

Pascal’s love of land from studying agronomy and working in Africa combined with his business acumen for building luxury product brands serve him well in Bourgogne, an area where vine land is hard to come by and expensive. He knows that quality starts with the best materials to work with and detailed craftmanship, whether it is a bottle of a Burgundy wine, a fine leather bag or a timepiece. He also recognizes the importance of preserving the land for future generations through regenerative farming.

In 2020, the Pascal family and their winemaker, Guillame Marko, established Domaine Mont Bessay to make cru Beaujolais wines from vineyards in Juliénas and Moulin-À-Vent. Marko is also the winemaker at Domain du Cellier Aix Moines.
Winemaker Guillaume Marko with Philippe Pascal

Winemaker Guillaume Marko with Philippe Pascal

He admits transitioning from the corporate suite life and all its attendent perks to full-time rural farming took some adjusting, but he happiest being close to the land with working with his family, creating a legacy of his own.

Listen to The Connected Table LIVE! podcast with Philippe Pascal here or click below: