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Jean Segura, the man who taught me everything about wine.

Gare d'Austerlitz, March 8, 1990, 7:00 a.m.
Looking for a birthday present for my father, I came across a sign: “Aux Vignobles de France”, a huge, rather gloomy warehouse.
No one in the premises, after 15 minutes of wandering through the aisles, a gentleman calls out to me.

A few discussions later, here we are, at 7:15 in the morning, tasting a Château Clinet, the Pomerol that he suggested I give to my father.
The wine was perfect and my father was delighted.

Marked by this meeting, I returned to “Aux Vignobles de France”. Jean Segura was a pied-noir engineer who notably built the Oran airport. A close friend of Jacques Chaban-Delmas and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.
In the 1970s, he also restored the reputation of the La Clape vineyard, thanks to his white wine 'Carte Noire'.

 

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Jean Segura was a fountain of wine knowledge, even surpassing some world-renowned oenologists.
He taught me everything about wine and a lot about life...
For 15 years, he was my mentor, my friend, my father and my grandfather at heart.
Jean Segura was a man unlike any other, with ethics and honesty from another time.

Thank you, John.





If I had to start from scratch, how would I build my network?

Almost 40 years ago, I arrived in Paris at the IPAG Business School with only my Catalan roots and boundless energy. I quickly realized that to succeed, you needed to know "the right people".
So, contact after contact, project after project, year after year, I built up my network, solid and authentic. As a result, today I'm recognized as Europe's leading expert on networking, thanks to tens of thousands of acquaintances.

But...
If I had to start from scratch, I'd do it differently.

With platforms like Linkedin, finding contacts has become much simpler: you can connect with several hundred people in just a few weeks.

Today, the challenge lies elsewhere, and is no less arduous: transforming these contacts into sincere, reliable relationships.
At a time when everyone is receiving dozens or even hundreds of solicitations a day, standing out from the crowd and creating a genuine bond requires an ultra-personalized approach.
Here's how I'd go about it.

First, I'd draw on my passions (sport, wine, entrepreneurship) to identify common ground and engage in discussion.
Then, I'd seek to identify the ways in which I could bring value: making connections, sharing experiences...
Then, I'd make sure to maintain a regular and attentive presence with each of my contacts to solidify ties.
Finally, in order to discover new opportunities, I'd draw on the expertise of the Networking Premium Group to access business and business networks and increase my 'Net Worth'.

"We are the average of the five people we come into contact with the most" (Jim Rohn): always remember that quality is more important than quantity.

-“I was the first to do a luxury business in China.”
- “Great, in that case I’ll be second.”

This first exchange with Pierre Cardin was the founding act of a friendship of more than 30 years.

[Flashback]
1988, still a student at IPAG Business School, I am looking for a place in Beijing, which reflects French luxury, in order to present the range of premium perfumes and wines for which I am the distributor in China (Van Cleef & Arpels, Giacomo, Azzaro…). Only one possible location: Maxim's. I then contacted the Paris head office to rent the establishment for 15 days. This unusual request was immediately reported to Pierre Cardin, the owner. Questioned, he invited me to his office, rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, opposite the Elysée.
Following this meeting, he will not only facilitate the rental of Maxim's Beijing at a very advantageous price, but above all he will become a mentor and a true friend.

 

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More than a visionary of haute couture, Pierre was a pioneer, who saw beyond geographical boundaries; the first in Brazil, the first in Russia, the first in Libya, the first in China... At a time when the Middle Kingdom was just opening up, he had already understood the tremendous potential of this emerging market, s It's funny to say that he would be very rich by selling a suit a year to each Chinese, or even just a button...

After 3 years of adventure at Maxim's in Beijing, it was quite naturally at the Maxim's residence, avenue Gabrielle, that I founded the Cercle Wine Business in 1991 in Paris. Pierre, a great fan of Chablis wines, never missed an opportunity to join us there when he was in Paris. He took pleasure in participating in our discussions and taking an interest in the various entrepreneurial projects. From Serge Dassault to Alain Delon, there were many VIPs at the very beginning of the Cercle Wine Business in the cozy lounges of the Maxim's residence...

For more than three decades, we have maintained an unfailing friendship, a complicity that has transcended time and business.

Dear Pierre, you taught me in particular that Networking means passion, excellence, loyalty, commitment and a touch of audacity. 🙏

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Benefiting from a powerful network is more than an advantage, it is a catalyst for success and professional development.

Over the years, I have noticed that simple contacts can potentially turn into real growth levers.

And yet, how many talents remain unrecognized due to lack of connection to the right network?

Since the beginning of my career, I have always been driven by a passion to connect people who seemed compatible to me.

The Networking Premium Group (NPG), which I founded in 2022, embodies this passion and expertise accumulated over more than 30 years.




 

The Networking Premium Group is distinguished by a unique offering based on 3 pillars:
✔️ Unrivaled mastery of networking
✔️ Recognized expertise in supporting senior executives
✔️ Influence and international reach

So many assets to help leaders in transition bounce back well and quickly!
We look forward to meeting you and contributing to your success together.

 

Our mission ?
Independently of the recruitment of Board Members for Start-ups, SMEs and ETIs, we support senior executives in their Professional Transition by opening the doors to influential networks, capable of propelling their career to new heights.

Our method?
The managers draw up a list of 30 companies in which they dream of working and we introduce them to the decision-makers of these companies.

What is the oldest networking network in France? Do you have to be a Freemason to succeed in your professional life? Are women better than men at networking internally or externally?

 

In a few weeks, my 14th book will be released: “From Cro-Magnon to LinkedIn, Long Live Networking!".

In this work, I offer you a journey through the centuries to explore how networks have shaped our society and influenced the evolution of Humanity, since the very First Man!

I am currently making the final touches, before presenting to you this fascinating history of the world, seen through the prism of networks. I hope you will find it a source of inspiration to enrich your general knowledge and optimize your Professional Networks.

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36 years ago, I discovered Networking… in China! 1988, I created my first company: a luxury products export company to China. I market - exclusively - perfume brands (Van Cleef, Balmain, Azzaro...) and spirits.

 

I go to Shanghai regularly for 3 years. There I meet Hirondelle, the daughter of the mayor of a large Chinese city.

She will introduce me to 100 very influential people who provide access to the billion inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom.

 

These meetings were decisive for the commercial success of my business, and above all..., they allowed me to understand an essential principle: entrepreneurial success does not depend only on a brilliant idea or impeccable execution.

 

It is the ability to connect with others, understand and navigate different cultures, that forges success. To reach millions of people, start by meeting one!

 

It's a lesson I've carried with me into all my endeavors, a philosophy I encourage you all to adopt.

Always keep in mind that behind every success is a well-maintained network of contacts; the real capital is people!

 

This period also allowed me to cross paths with Pierre Cardin, an exceptional creator and entrepreneur, who was my friend and mentor for many years. But that's another story…

In 1991, I experienced my first professional failure. I learned 2 essential lessons from it.

March 1991, all indicators are green for the launch evening of the Circle Wine Business:

 

✔️ A prestigious guest, Serge Dassault, accompanied by his sons

 

✔️ A legendary place, the famous Maxim’s

 

✔️ An exceptional wine, with the tasting of a Château Yquem

 

✔️ Significant media coverage 500 senior executives were expected.

 

25 came. The hammer blow.

 

This first failure taught me two valuable lessons:

 

Lesson #1 – The power of the network. Serge Dassault and the owner of Château Yquem encouraged me to continue and introduced me to their network. I met people who proved decisive for the continuation of the Circle Wine Business. In difficult times, a good network is a real lever to bounce back.

 

Lesson #2 – Perseverance, yes, but with a deadline. After this evening, I could have given up, told myself that the project was not viable.

Instead, I gave myself an ultimatum: three years to get the Circle off the ground. This deadline gave me the clarity and sense of urgency necessary to stay focused, innovate and persevere.

 

Two and a half years later, I had achieved the objectives I had set for the Circle Wine Business. This first evening, which many would have called a disaster, was the cornerstone on which I built not only a club which continues to bring together more than 1,100 members each month, 30 years later, but also a professional philosophy: facing adversity, seek support and give yourself the time necessary to succeed.

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20 years ago, I organized the first Circle Wine Business dinners at Le Bristol Paris.

Eric Frechon was already at the helm of the Epicure gourmet restaurant in the Parisian palace.

 

5 years later, he added a 3rd star to his list.

 

In a few weeks, Eric Frechon will continue his gastronomic adventures towards new horizons.

 

In 20 years, Eric will have served exceptional dinners to more than 25,000 executives who came to the Circle Wine Business evenings…..

 

As this page turns, I want to thank you for these years of collaboration and friendship.

 

Eric, you have not only elevated gastronomy to a level of excellence, but you have also created unforgettable memories for all those who have had the privilege of tasting your dishes. I wish you all the success you deserve in your new endeavors.

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