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[Herald Interview] Louis Pere & Fils hopes to cement presence in Korea

By Kim Da-sol

Published : July 1, 2023 - 16:01

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Louis Pere & Fils Chairman Louis Max-Starkman poses for a photo during an interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul, June 21. (Im Se-jun/The Korea Herald) Louis Pere & Fils Chairman Louis Max-Starkman poses for a photo during an interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul, June 21. (Im Se-jun/The Korea Herald)

Louis Max-Starkman, the sixth-generation chairman of Louis Pere & Fils to succeed the family's winery business, said he takes prides in Louis Pere & Fils’ unique method of wine production, which he described as a combination of tradition and modern transformation.

Established in 1859 in Beaune, a small town in the center of the French winemaking Burgundy region, Louis Pere & Fils follows just one rule, according to Max-Starkman.

“We have focused on producing high quality wine. Our unique technique in using steel tank for white wines, never storing in oak barrel, is called ‘maloatique,’ which we have begun to use from the very beginning. We are only a few in the world to continue to use that method,” Max-Starkman told The Korea Herald in an interview on June 21.

The family’s red wine is stored in oak barrels. It is top rated with the highest grade of Mercurey Premier Cru from the authorities in France.

(Louis Pere & Fils) (Louis Pere & Fils)

But what really stands out for Louis Pere & Fils wines is actually the labels.

As the only winemaker in the world to have Pablo Picasso paintings on the labels, Max-Starkman said the family’s deep knowledge and generations-long affection of arts is about far more than simply presenting a visually attractive wine.

“My father has always told me that arts and wine cannot be separated,” he said.

His father, who owned several Picasso paintings, had dined with Picasso’s family one time. There, they showed them some of the paintings they possess and were given consent to use the masterpieces on their wine bottles as part of the label design, he added.

For him, the Korean market does not feel unfamiliar, as his father has already done business here.

“My father visited here more than 40 times and he would always bring me back stories and souvenirs from Korea. I’m very familiar with the country and its culture, I’ve been a fan of Korean video games, history and food,” said the 30-year-old chairman.

“But what’s important is that we want to cement the presence here where Korean wine lovers have sophisticated taste and there is a need for customized options, as well as variations,” said Max-Starkman.

To Korean customers, he recommends the Louis Pere Et Fils Chablis.

“Our flagship one, Chablis, uses grapes that were grown in Prehy, a region in France where mud and limestone are rich, increasing the acidity as well as rich in mineral,” Max-Starkman added.