Talent attracts talent. That’s why Ludovic du Plessis, the CEO of Champagne Telmont, is often seen hobnobbing with the likes of tennis great Serena Williams, music prodigy Pharrell Williams, and Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
Plessis’ skills were honed at Paris Dauphine University, where he earned a degree in marketing that was a harbinger of things to come. His foray into wine began in communications and later as a brand manager for Dom Perignon. He dabbled in Cognac for a while, as LOUIS XIII’s Global Executive Director, but the call of Champagne was too captivating to ignore, so Plessis made Champagne his career.
Enter Champagne Telmont, the Leonardo DiCaprio-backed brand for which Plessis is CEO. Telmont might be Plessis’ biggest play yet, ushering the century-old house into a new era and more sustainable future. From reducing the House’s carbon footprint to organic viticulture, Plessis’ role ensures that we’re all drinking the best wines in the safest way possible— in a way that will last.
What do you wish you knew when you started working in the industry?
I enjoyed learning every day and meeting fascinating people who shared their passion and values with me. A quality wine needs time. It took time for me to pave my own way and to find out where i wanted to take my career: I ended up here, working for a century-old Champagne house, which produces a great wine and has high environmental ambitions. Everything I experienced previously in my career lead me to this point. Time is everything and you can’t buy time.
What does environmental stewardship and sustainability mean to you and Champagne Telmont’s ethos?
We believe that Champagne comes from the earth and is indebted to it. The more gratitude and respect we show the earth, the more it will clear a path to excellence in return. This virtuous circle is the defining feature of our champagne house. During the coming months and years, we will continue the conversion of our estate towards organic agriculture. We will work towards a common goal with all our partner winegrowers. We also adopt a new approach [in] how we market our wines: no more transparent bottles, no more packaging or gift boxes.
Our objective is to reduce our environmental footprint at every stage, from production to distribution. Our journey will be long and challenging, but we are going down this road not only with passion and humility but also with great determination and sincerity. We operate in the name of Mother Nature in everything we do.
You’ve recently announced that Leonardo DiCaprio has become an investor in Champagne Telmont. How did this relationship come about and how will his investment contribute to the brand’s goals?
I met Leonardo DiCaprio 15 years ago in Los Angeles. I introduced Leonardo to the Telmont House and to our project in the name of Mother Nature.
On top of his appreciation for our wine and its quality, it’s Telmont’s commitment to sustainability and shared values around protecting the environment that piqued Leonardo’s interest. Telmont is deeply committed to sustainable, organic viticulture and to reducing its carbon footprint. This commitment is materialized by our far‐reaching initiative, “In the Name of Mother Nature,” that is radically transforming production and agricultural methods.
Leonardo is one of the most influential individuals worldwide advocating for a greener earth and preservation of biodiversity. We share the same convictions and the same commitment. His involvement will definitely bring an unprecedented global visibility to Telmont and to its commitment to sustainable viticulture. This will contribute to accelerate the implementation of our strategic project, “In the Name of Mother Nature,” which aims at reducing our environmental footprint on many levels, and to convert all our vineyards to 100% organic farming. Telmont is proud to have Leonardo as a shareholder. It’s a strong message of support that will encourage us as we carry out our ambitious plans.
Who’s the most underrated person in drinks?
There are many. If I have to choose one category, however, I would say the winegrowers. I meet them every day. They are the ones who spend the most time with their vineyard and know how to get the best from it. I have a lot of respect for them.
You’re at a dive bar. What do you order?
Friends and, if possible, a local fresh beer.