Joseph Henriot, president of Groupe La Vigie, owner of Champagne Henriot, Bouchard Pere et Fils and Chablis William Fevre, has died.

Joseph Henriot. Image credit: Getty / Maurice Rougemont / Gamma-Rapho

Joseph Henriot
, who also spent several years as head of Champagne Veuve Clicquot and was also head of Charles Heidsieck prior to that, died this week aged 79.

‘He was one of the men of the 20th Century for the wine industry,’ said Gerard Basset OBE MS MW on the sidelines of the Decanter World Wine Awards judging week in London.

Henriot’s death follows that of Burgundy biodynamic pioneer Anne-Claude Leflaive and California wine veteran Joseph Phelps in the last few weeks.

Having trained as an agricultural engineer, Henriot managed his family house from 1962 until the acquisition by Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) in 1987. He had also been head of Charles Heidsieck before the Henriot family sold the house to Remy Martin in 1985.

Under the LVMH umbrella, Henriot was president of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin and is also credited with having advised the group to invest in Cloudy Bay in New Zealand. But, in 1994, he agreed to buy back his family house from LVMH and became president of Champagne Henriot, where he focused on Premiers Crus and Grands Crus vineyards.

Henriot also bought Burgundy negociant Maison Bouchard in 1995 and then William Fevre in Chablis in 1998. His last acquisition was Villa Ponciago, situated in Fleurie in Beaujolais.

French wine writer Bernard Burtschy told Decanter.com that Henriot was a ‘visionary and dynamic entrepreneur who understood how make fine wines and where to invest, particularly in Burgundy and Beaujolais’.

Written by Yohan Castaing