Marcus Gniel – Ce Soir Wine
One day in August 2009 I was visiting the Farmers’ Market at Gasworks park in South Melbourne, Australia. I noticed a stall selling canele which I had heard about, but had never tried. Even though I was heading off to France a few days after this market, I tried some of these Aussie ones. They were pretty delicious. A lovely chat with the stall holder, Marcus, left me feeling well prepared for a visit to Bordeaux, with restaurant recommendations and a list of things to see.
What I didn’t know then was that Marcus also imported French wine. Now that I’m organising events centred on food and learning, I thought I should talk to him about using his wine at our Fringe Food Goes French lunch.
Marcus, which came first the canele or the wine?
Wine! The wine business idea came to us while we were living in Bordeaux. I was working in Europe at the time, for a Singapore based wine marketing company. The company represented several Australian and New Zealand producers in Europe, and our aim was to find an importer in each country, for each brand.
During my travels (Scandinavia, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France), I realised that the wine stores in Europe tended to have such a wide variety of wines from all around the world. At that time, I felt Australia was lacking this variety, and I wanted to bring some of that to the market.
How long has the business been running?
First shipment arrived in Australia in October 2007. I continued to live in Bordeaux until September 2008, running the business over Skype, email etc, along with several sales trips back home.
What did you do before you ran Ce Soir?
I have always been in Wine – Sales & Marketing, never in production (that’s too hard!!!) I have enjoyed a range of experiences with various employers, always based in Victoria.
· BRL Hardys
· Tucker Seabrook ( now Fine Wine Partners)
· Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy
· Scotchmans Hill (Vic State Manager – Retail)
· Red & White International (Singapore)
Did you have any significant influences that lead you to this career?
Probably my first employer, in a fine wine store in Geelong. He gave me the chance to taste and learn about so many great wines.
What’s your favourite area of France?
That is a really hard question to answer.
I am in love with Bordeaux for sure, especially after three years of living there. In my opinion, Bordeaux is truly the heartbeat of the wine world, love it or hate it, there is no doubt. Events such as Vinexpo (the single most important global wine fair) and En Primeur (annual tasting of unfinished barrel samples from previous vintage) show off Bordeaux to the wine world. Thousands of wine trade descend to the beautiful city and surrounding villages to take part in all the activities. The Bordelaise love to splurge on these occasions. Memories of soirees with fishing boats full of ice and shucked oysters, mountains of foie gras and hundreds of open magnums of Bordeaux.
However, our wine discovery trips around France always left a great impression.
· Burgundy – truly magical. The village of Beaune is superb.
· Provence – Places like Aix en provence and Cassis are so vibrant.
· Languedoc – tiny wine regions like Faugeres, or Pic St Loup are always fascinating.
What is the best part about your business? and the worst?
Well, the annual trips to France always seem to be a luxury, but to be honest, I wouldn’t be true to the business if I didn’t travel at least once a year. It just keeps you in the loop with wines that are up and coming, as well as securing allocations from your current suppliers. Travel is my favourite thing.
The worst is the constant mix of administration or accounts receivable work that is compulsory in any small business.
How’s your French?
Pas mal, merci!
I have a good base of ‘workman like’ French, after three years of living there. I’m not afraid to pick up the phone and call someone in France about a particular matter. Always looking for a chance to use it here in Australia.
Where can we get your wines? [in Melbourne]
I have a good following around Melbourne. Some of the ‘go to’ wine stores would be Armadale Cellars, Europa Cellars, Cloudwine, Bottega Tasca, McCoppins Fitzroy and Harvest Wine & Liquor, Northcote.
Suzanne: Marcus, thanks for talking with me and all the French and francophile members at Ma Vie Francaise™. More information about Ce Soir wines here http://www.cesoirwine.com/ and information on Canele http://www.canele.com.au/index.html
This Guest Post is provided by Suzanne Farrell. Suzanne is one of the founders of The Melbourne Fringe Food Festival: All about food for growers, makers and tasters. The Melbourne Fringe Food Festival and Ma Vie Francaise™ have joined resources to offer My French Life™ members and others a series of fabulous French Food Events in Melbourne, Australia. Suzanne is also one of the founders of www.lesvachesdutour.com . Her favourite cows are Belted Galloways, which she says “aren’t even French, but taste bloody good.”Image credits:
1. Canelés de Bordeaux
2. Marcus Gniel
3. Des vignes ! – Francis Bourgouin on Flickr
4. Bordeaux, France 2008 – Tomoyoshi Noguchi on Flickr