Daniel Johnnes, Burgundy specialist, joins Grand Cru

johnnesDaniel Johnnes may be the closest thing the American wine world has to Burgundy royalty. Yesterday he announced that he has joined Grand Cru Selections, an importer and wholesaler based in New York City, as a partner. It’s a big move, if somewhat “inside baseball.”

“This is an opportunity to be a partner in a young and dynamic company that I didn’t want to pass up,” he said by phone.

Johnnes, 60, helped pique America’s interest in Burgundy wines When he was a sommelier at the erstwhile restaurant Montrachet in the early 1990s, he hosted winemaker dinners with the likes of Christophe Roumier and Dominique Lafon that encouraged American collectors to add Burgundy to their cellars. In 2000, he tapped his connections in Burgundy to hold the first “La Paulée de New York.” This bacchanal now alternates annually between NYC and SF and is marked in red on the calendar of collectors. It also functions as a sort of “Burgundy university” for the sommeliers who work the event. Johnnes brokers a number of wines including Roumier and Lafon that he will be bringing to Grand Cru. He was #4 on our NYC wine power list a few years back. He currently is spending a year in Lyons.

Grand Cru Selections was started in 2010. Ned Benedict, a founding partner, said of their strategy: “we’re trying to build a really well-conceived portfolio of wines. Burgundy is obviously really close to all of our hearts.” But, he underscored, “we’re not trying to become a house of Burgundy–other regions are very important to us too.” Their portfolio includes the wines of J.L. Chave, Marquis d’Angerville, and nine wines from Piedmont, among others.

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4 Responses to “Daniel Johnnes, Burgundy specialist, joins Grand Cru”


  1. Any idea what this means for his book at Skurnik? Safe to assume it’s moving to Grand Cru?


  2. Hi David,

    Great question.

    Daniel Johnnes told me that Lafon, Roumier, and Roulot are coming over to GCS. The others are still up in the air. More details will emerge in coming weeks.


  3. Skurnik sent out an email to their customers with an update. It’s not all finalized but this is who his going and who is staying:

    Staying with Skurnik:

    Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey

    Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg

    Domaine Paul Pillot

    Domaine de L’Arlot

    Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon

    Domaine François Mikulksi

    Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau

    Domaine Balland-Curtet

    Champagne JL Vergnon

    Domaine Philippe Alliet

    Domaine Alain Cailbourdin

    Thibaud Boudignon

    Domaine de l’Enchantoir

    Domaine Les Hautes Noëlles

    Domaine Laurent Martray

    Domaine Mittnacht Frères

    Domaine du Cayron

    Domaine de la Remejeanne

    Château de Landiras

    Château La Grangère

    Château Robin

    Château Saint Julian

    Château La Coudraie

    Château De Clotte

    Going to Grand Cru with DJ:

    Domaine Bailly-Reverdy

    Domaine Clusel-Roch

    Dominique Lafon

    Domaine des Comtes Lafon

    Domaine Roulot

    David Duband

    They also voluntarily gave up the rights to DJ’s private
    label “Petit Chapeau”

    Undecided, per Skurnik email: Roumier, Granges des Peres, Hudelot-Baillet,
    Mardon, Hudelot-Noellat


  4. Very nice move for Daniel Johnnes. I remember this Montrachet restaurant in 90s. This is a young company so with his help they will crush the market. Thanks for sharing.


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