The Winemaker

For Philippe Coquard, making wine is a way of life that was passed down to him through generations of tradition, skill and artistry. Born and raised in the Beaujolais region of France, Philippe comes from a family of winemakers steeped in over 400 years of viticulture and enology. He says, “Where I come from, it is all grape-growing and winemaking. We think of wine, we talk of wine, we dream only of wine.” Philippe was immersed in winemaking and viticulture from a young age, growing up helping on his family's farms and tasting wine with his father and uncles. He later went on to earn degrees in winemaking, viticulture, and wine marketing.

Philippe arrived at Wollersheim Winery in 1984 as part of an agricultural exchange program. Within just one year, Wollersheim Winery founder Bob Wollersheim asked Philippe to take over the production side of the winery. Philippe officially become Winemaker in 1985. The legacies of both the Coquard and Wollersheim families continue on in Philippe and his wife Julie, the Wollersheims’ eldest daughter, who now run Wollersheim Winery.

Philippe's philosophy is to “demystify the wine by keeping it simple and affordable,” while providing a Wollersheim wine for every palate to enjoy, from novice to connoisseur. Philippe is also a purist in his winemaking approach, never blending, changing or averaging any of his wines. His priority is to “let the vintage be what it is and not change it to become all the same.” Philippe continues to innovate by combining his tremendous respect for old-world tradition in viticulture and winemaking, with modern, state-of-the-art experimentation. He regards winemaking as “a fascinating science of pleasure for the taste buds.”

When not tending the vineyard, fermentation tanks, or cellars, Philippe enjoys cooking for his family and friends, and riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles. About his life’s work, he says, “Winemaking is not my job. This is my life and my passion and my blood – my past, present and future.”