Team Spotlight: Mathieu Vanhalst

We are very fortunate to have found so many amazing people to join the Mirabeau family, attracting some great talent to represent the Maison Mirabeau brand close-by in Cotignac and further afield as our rosé continues to be enjoyed around world. We all share the same determination to do things the Mirabeau way but our individual paths to Maison Mirabeau are unique. With a small and intimate team no day at Maison Mirabeau is the same so we’ve introduced our Team Spotlight Series to celebrate the whole Mirabeau family, share their journey and what an average day looks like at Mirabeau for them. 

To kick start the series we’ve turned to the team that work so hard to see our rosés grow around the world, enjoyed on the best gastronomic tables in their markets and sold in leading stores for our customers. Starting with our Sales Director of South Europe, we sat down with Mathieu Vanhalst to learn more about his journey to Maison Mirabeau.

So when did you join Maison Mirabeau and how did you hear about the company/role?

I joined Maison Mirabeau in January 2020. I was looking for new opportunities in 2019 and found the opportunity at Mirabeau via LinkedIn. I was excited to apply for the role because Provence rosé is a growing category across all markets, with innovative product developments, a powerful marketing appeal and new markets to explore and grow. Mirabeau is also producing award winning wines, with a premium positioning and a digital and consumer-first approach which is inspiring and exciting to me.

Explain the role of Sales Director at Maison Mirabeau? What does it involve day to day?

My role is to expand our business and brand awareness across Southern European countries with a focus on France, Spain and Belgium. On a daily basis, I work in close partnership with our importers and distributors across markets to optimize sales across all channels: retail, on-trade and e-commerce mainly and to execute our trade marketing plan. On top of that Rosé is a festive wine, enjoyed mostly when the sun is shinning. I therefore have the difficult job of travelling to places such as Ibiza, Mallorca or Mykonos to sell our wines in spectacular locations. It’s a hard job but someone has to do it! People want to enjoy our lovely wines in big formats in some of the best beach clubs in Europe…it would be rude not to join them! 

Tell us a bit about your career before joining the Mirabeau family?

I spent 15 years in the exciting MICE industry (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions). I was previously Sales Director for The Tax Free World Association (TFWA), organizing BtoB premium events for the Travel Retail industry in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In 2014 I joined Vinexposium, based in Bordeaux to develop new events in the wine & spirits sector internationally, launching a number of trade shows across Europe, US and Asia.

What was your first ever job?

As a big fan of basketball, I was lucky to get my first serious job at the NBA, the National Basketball Association. I was in charge of trade marketing, partnerships and events. It was a fascinating experience and a dream job for me to get closer to NBA players. I felt a tad small in comparison to the giants on the court! My very first job when I was younger was during my summer holidays working with my dad and his team at our family-owned carpentry business. Waking up very early every morning for a long day of hard work was a great life experience. 

What has been your top two highlights to date at Maison Mirabeau?

It’s been a busy 18 months since joining the team! A highlight to date was our Sales Directors meeting at the Domaine before lockdown. I learnt a lot about what makes Maison Mirabeau so special and unique to other Provence Rosé wine producers. It was also the first time I met with my other colleagues and discovered the magical place of Domaine Mirabeau. Another big step for me was when we started the distribution in France last year in the middle of the Covid crisis with Champagne Philipponnat. France is the biggest yet most competitive market for Provence rosé and joining forces with them to launch Mirabeau in our home market was really special.

What is your favourite rosé from our range and why?

I have to admit I have a crush on our top cuvée Etoile. It is such a versatile and gastronomic wine which deserves to be on the best tables in the world. I am proud to sell it and it should be coming soon in magnum format! I also became a Gin & Tonic lover thanks to our gorgeous and delicious Mirabeau Dry Gin.

What upcoming projects are you most excited about?

Our gin is really unique and has huge potential across all my markets. Although the ultra-premium gin category is crowded, I am convinced it is going to be a huge success. The launch of the bébe gin in 20cl format this year also opens new exciting opportunities in retail for gifting occasions as well as in the hotel industry.

Where’s your favourite place in Provence and why?

If you go to Provence, make sure you visit Les Carrières de Lumières in Les Beaux de Provence. An unique experience of immersive digital exhibition devoted to major artist. I was speechless looking at these monumental stone quarry surrounded by Manet, Renoir or Da Vinci masterpieces. You can also go for the hike in the Massif des Alpilles just next door to walk in the footsteps of Marcel Pagnol, a famous Provence writer.

What’s the most surprising food combination you’ve tried with a Maison Mirabeau rosé?

The most surprising yet delicious combination was a scallop, pomelo & avocado carpaccio served with a glass of Pure. Divine! 

If you could have a glass of Mirabeau with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I would love to share a bottle of rosé with Francis Ford Coppola, one of the greatest movie producers of all times and a successful California winemaker. Being fan of The Godfather trilogy, I am sure he has plenty of stories about these movies. Maybe a bottle of Etoile might not be enough for him to tell me everything… Santé!

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