One of them is a ‘pure product’ of the south of France, the other from the Sarthe region, born in the Arcachon Bay. Their career paths led them to Château Dauzac where they form a decisive tandem in the smooth running of the estate. We asked Caroline Arbiol, the B-to-B sales manager, and Walter Ploquin, the logistics manager, to tell us about their day-to-day routine and their complementary skills.
To pursue her degree in international business, Caroline left her native Côte d’Azur to explore the charms of Australia. As the head waiter in an Italian restaurant in Melbourne, she began learning about wine and decided to round out her skills in that field once she was back in France. That is how she ended up doing a final- year internship at Château Dauzac in 2016 and joined the team in charge of events and hospitality.
As for Walter, he did a degree in SME management and by chance, an internship in the Médoc at a wine estate in Listrac. Versatile and proactive, he explored several aspects of the business enthusiastically. A decade later, in 2007, he landed at Château Dauzac, where his all-around skills allowed him to assist the cellar master, Frédéric.
They both went on to discover what happens behind the scenes at a Grand Cru Classé, as well as the inner workings of the Place de Bordeaux wine trade; as one thing led to another, and one job to another, their lives each turned a professional corner that now brings them together on a daily basis. Caroline looks after the needs of very demanding French clients (distributors, e-commerce platforms, and the On- and Off-trade network), while Walter takes care of getting their orders delivered. Needless to say, their smooth working relationship is crucial in ensuring the rapidity and flow of shipments… Caroline knows that Walter manages the priorities and anticipates every detail, like getting an old vintage from the wine archive (that we call the vinothèque) for a special occasion to recork it before preparing it: “Walter plays a fundamental role at the estate; he’s extremely responsive, which means wines can be prepared in record time and shipped out as fast as possible, because when a restaurant needs wine, it’s now!”
The highly-experienced team had the foresight to set up a buffer stock to be ready for any incident, like managing the requirements for dry goods (labels, wooden crates, etc.) ahead of time: “Details are important; customer service makes the difference. The estate’s reputation is at stake,” Walter likes to remind us.
Like a long-standing couple, squabbling is part of the game: “It’s cold in the cellar, so when Caroline shows up there, it must be because she wants something,” and to that Caroline adds, “He always starts out by complaining, but in the end, he does what I want, with a smile!” From now on, there’s no way you can open a bottle of Château Dauzac without imagining them having prepared it…