Philovino’s proprietor, Bruno Quenioux, is a singular figure in the world of French wine. A radical for his age, he fought all his battles from within the institutional retail outlets of the French wine establishment, first at Caves Legrand, and later in a long stint as the influential buyer for Galeries Lafayette (1990-2008). Anyone familiar with the nightmarish chaos of Lafayette Gourmet in the present day will be astonished to learn that during Quenioux’s tenure, the wine section was noted for its tacit support of organic agriculture and its resistance to faddish modern winemaking techniques, launching the careers of such winemakers as Jean-Paul Brun and Didier Dageneau.
Quenioux brought these and many other illustrious names to the shelves of Philovino, the modestly-appointed wine shop he opened in 2011 on a nondescript corner of rue Claude Bernard. The shop’s IKEA-quality décor belies the quality and rarity of its contents. Quenioux has his eccentricities – a disbelief in carbonic maceration, a disdain for what has come to be called ‘natural wine,’ and a latent interest in the occult sciences – but Philovino remains a destination for anyone wishing to experience the established classics of Burgundy, Champagne, or the Loire.