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A family history
The birth of a profession
Our story began in 1947 when our great uncle, Maurice Pion, started his wine merchant business serving restaurants in the north-east quarter of France. Working as an agent to the wine estates was a new activity not widespread at the time. The stature of our ancestor, his charisma and his Burgundy banter meant he left a lasting memory on those he met, a great professional in the business, outstanding wine taster and fervent lover of fine food. In the years just after the war, the devastated French vineyards were slowly reconstructed and few independent estates distributed their wines themselves, often favouring bulk sales to large Burgundy traders.
••• Maurice’s knowledge of the vineyards and those who worked them opened the doors of the best estates at the time, such as Romanée Conti and Bollinger Champagne, lending his support to the birth of modern viticulture and the distribution of its wines to passionate restaurateurs who created modern gastronomy (Auberge de l'Ill Erckmann Chatrian...).
An acknowledged expertise
In 1963, his nephew Henri Pion, followed in turn some years later by his brothers and brother-in-law, founded an agency whose conquest of prestigious new estates and new customers are the hallmarks of Pion. In the 1970s, Pion also created a prosperous business selling the great wines of Bordeaux’s châteaux direct, whose resurgent reputation ensured dynamic sales in the East of France. The family estates of Borie, Château Ducru Beaucailloux and Grand Puy Lacoste, Gasqueton, Château Calon Segur and du Tertre or Cuvelier, Château Leoville Poyferré and many others still remember this strength of conviction displayed at the time by the Pion family to promote their wines in the best establishments.
••• In 1975, Maurice took his well-deserved retirement, to be replaced by his four nephews who shared 14 departments and worked within a common administrative structure.
The 1980-90s
An ever more comprehensive range
During the 1980s, the range of wines grew and the activities of each person diversified and became more geographically specific. In 1984, Henri Pion split from his brothers, bought warehouses and offices in Beaune and continued his business with two secretaries. In 1986, Olivier Pion, a graduate of the University of Wine, joined his father Henri Pion and learnt the craft on the ground, mainly in Alsace where independent estate distribution rights multiplied with bottling onsite at the property. They both supported the profound transformation of the market and the birth of a passion for the product among wine-lovers both professional and individual. In 1987, Pion became a merchant on the Place de Bordeaux (Bordeaux wine trading system) with direct access to a wide range of classified Grands Crus and unmissable Bourgeois vintages bought and sold ‘en souscription primeur’ (wine futures) or already bottled. The wines are stored and distributed from locations in Beaune whose structure allows the harmonious development of the business. In 1995, Christian Pion, after working for a decade for a glass technology group, joined the small team and in turn learnt his trade out in the field.
••• From that date, the company SARL Pion VIN continued to grow by restructuring itself and opening up its distribution to new vineyards such as the South-West, Languedoc-Roussillon, the Rhone Valley and the Loire. In 1997, Henri Pion retired and passed on the baton to his two sons, Olivier and Christian.
The 2000s
A strengthened team
The 2000s marked a turning point. Pion moved to Meursault with its greater storage space and offices more suited to the team. Conquering new markets with online wine merchants and export with the Anglo-Saxon and Asian markets meant integrating new driving forces. In 2012, Pion became a Burgundy merchant-producer with its own private vintages. This idea grew over several years, driven by a desire to offer a range inspired by the finesse and expression of the area’s ‘climats’ (traditional vineyard plots). In 2015, Théo Pion, the 4th generation, joined his father and uncle in the family adventure in the same vein, as a man of the field. He made his debut in the Grand Est region of north-eastern France after trying his hand at the wine merchant business. Pion also obtained marketing and communication skills, providing support to business development and new projects.
As for the rest, the story is still being written ...