Piper-Heidsieck’s Émilien Boutillat named IWC Sparkling Winemaker of the Year

Piper-Heidsieck chef de cave Émilien Boutillat was named Sparkling Winemaker of the Year 2021 at last night’s International Wine Challenge (IWC) awards.

“Less than three years into his new job, Émilien has collected his first Sparkling Winemaker of the Year title,” said the judges. He had proven “he was the right choice to succeed eight-times IWC Sparkling Winemaker of the Year, Régis Camus, at Piper-Heidsieck,” they added. 
Émilien, 34, joined Piper-Heidsieck in October 2018, becoming one of the youngest chef de caves of a Grande Marque. Born in Champagne, Émilien gained extensive experience working with wineries in Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, California, Rhône and Bordeaux. His dynamic approach is guided by a philosophy of respecting tradition while challenging convention.
Last night’s accolade concludes a successful year at the IWC for Piper-Heidsieck. Their Essentiel Cuvée Réservée NV (magnum) won the Non-Vintage Champagne Trophy 2021 and their Essentiel Blanc de Blancs NV received a Gold medal. The limited-production Essentiel cuvées are both extra brut in style and benefit from extended lees ageing. The sold-out 2008 Piper-Heidsieck Vintage was awarded the IWC Champion Sparkling Wine 2021 - Daniel Thibault Trophy.
Founded in 1785, Piper-Heidsieck is owned by the Descours family. They have invested significantly in the house, which has flourished under their quality-led ethos. The family also own Charles Heidsieck, Rare Champagne, Biondi-Santi and Château La Verrerie.
On learning of the award, Émilien said: “It is truly an honour to have even been considered for the prestigious IWC Sparkling Winemaker of the Year award. It is the legacy of my predecessors, including Daniel Thibault and Régis Camus, both of whom achieved great success during their time at the helm, and above all, it is also an important recognition of the work produced by the entire Piper-Heidsieck team. From the winemaking team, some of whom have been working hard for more than 30 years to produce world-class wines, to the winegrowers and winegrower partners, whose efforts to deliver the highest quality grapes never go unnoticed, and right through to those involved in the production of the bottles, each of whom displays incredible craftsmanship. Their valuable contribution is what has enabled us to receive this award.”

Piper-Heidsieck general manager, Benoît Collard, praised Émilien for upholding Piper-Heidsieck’s legacy while continuing to introduce improvements. “I have no doubt that Émilien will continue to raise the bar,” he said.

For full details of the IWC award winners, please visit the International Wine Challenge website