MASTERS IN WINE ARTS
From corkscrews to wine cellars, aeration devices to glassware, L’Atelier du Vin leads the market in high-end wine accoutrements
The ambition of L’Atelier du Vin is, admits gregarious French owner Georges Richard, a somewhat “crazy” one. “We want to be the one-stop shop for discerning wine lovers,” he says. “This is our aim. We want to provide everything they desire except for the wine itself. We are already the king of the corkscrew and we have other small products like stoppers, decanters and books. We also do interior wine architecture, which is made-to-measure cellars for restaurants, hotels or private collections of more than 500 bottles. This is wine as theatre.”
L’Atelier du Vin started business almost 100 years ago – its centenary is 2026 – making corks and other professional accessories at a time when people would buy their wine direct from the winemaker and then bottle them at home. When this tradition started to decline in the 1980s, Georges’s father bought the company and changed the business model so it became a gift-orientated company based around wine, originally selling in France but now available in the finest department stores in wine-loving countries around the world.
Everything is designed in-house at the company’s workshop-factory in northern France. The range of corkscrews is internationally renowned – some have even appeared in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and there are clients who collect every new model they produce.
“We want to create a very fine corkscrew that will last for many years and open many, many bottles of wine,” says Georges. “It is more than a corkscrew. We want you to think about it before you open the bottle and then to leave on the table after you have used it. We want you to enjoy it as you will enjoy anything that is of exceptional quality, whether that is a watch or a phone or a car. Our engineers use specific types of foil cutter and specific types of screw. We only use very high quality materials. We have many patents and they are unique in terms of function and design.”
Similar care and attention goes into other small products such as decanters, pouring tools, coolers, stoppers and aerators. Many are available as gifts in beautiful packaging which can be customized with a name, initials or logo. “We create very attractive gift packaging, making it really special like the best kind of perfume or jewellery,” says Georges. “We can personalize these in our workshop for specific people or events like weddings or other functions. We often partner with brands to make a special gift for their best clients.”
Wine storage is another important area for the company. L’Atelier du Vin experts design and construct a wide range of stylish cabinets in various sizes and designs, and it can also create entire cellars for serious wine lovers and investors, restaurants and hotels. “We focus on making a very technical and attractive cabinet but we do not handle the climate control, we install our systems into rooms that are already at the right temperature,” says Georges. “People now want their wine to be displayed in a nice way. Worldwide people are drinking less wine but they are drinking better quality wine, so they are spending more money on good wine. There are now more and more people around the world who really appreciate wine and are willing to invest in the finest paraphernalia of wine.”