A new team at the helm of the Cognac interprofession chaired by president Christophe Véral and vice-president Alexandre GabrielPress release





A new 14-member Standing Committee was also appointed today
Two official Merchants’ and Winegrowers’ representatives were appointed: Anthony Brun and Florent Morillon.


A new three-year term will begin today at the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) with the renewal of all professional delegates and the appointment of Mr. Christophe Véral, grower-distiller and representative of the Cognac industry at the INAO*, as President, and Mr. Alexandre Gabriel, manager and cellarmaster at Maison Ferrand, as Vice-President. A total of 14 members were appointed to the Standing Committee, alongside two official Merchants’ and Winegrowers’ representatives: Anthony Brun (winegrower and President of the UGVC) and Florent Morillon (Production director of Maison Hennessy, representative of the Cognac industry at FranceAgriMer and President of the CRINAO**).



On Tuesday 24 November 2020, Mr. Christophe Véral and Mr. Alexandre Gabriel were elected President and Vice-President of the BNIC. The 14 members of the new Standing Committee were appointed during an online Plenary Assembly, together with the Winegrowers’ and Merchants’ representatives: Anthony Brun for the Winegrowers and Florent Morillon, representing the Merchants.

Mr. Christophe Véral and Mr. Alexandre Gabriel took over from Mr. Patrick Raguenaud, Director of Grand Marnier and Mr. Christophe Forget, President of the Fédération des Interprofessions du bassin viticole Charentes-Cognac and the Alliance Fine Champagne company, as President and Vice-President, respectively, for the next three years.

The BNIC Standing Committee is responsible for the strategic vision of the Cognac industry. In conjunction with the Plenary Assembly, they define the BNIC strategy. Following his election, Mr. Christophe Véral highlighted the longevity of his new role, “which is part of the century-old history of Cognac, in the service of a strong, united, responsible sector”.

Mr. Patrick Raguenaud ended his three-year term as President of the BNIC, focused on unity and sustainable growth. For the outgoing president “it was an honour to have acted as President of BNIC for the past three years in the firm belief that joint action is fuelled by individual initiatives”.



Christophe Véral – President of the BNIC
Anthony Brun – Official Winegrowers’ Representative – President of the UGVC (Union Générale des Viticulteurs pour
l’AOC Cognac)
Nicolas Baudry
Éric Billhouet – President of the DMB (Defense and Management body) and Deputy Winegrowers’ Representative
François Bodin
Christophe Forget
Stéphane Roy
Deputy Winegrowers’ Representative: Jean-Christophe Baraud

Alexandre Gabriel – Vice-President of the BNIC
Florent Morillon – Official Merchants’ Representative
Éric Le Gall – President of the SMC (Syndicat des Maisons de Cognac)
Hervé Bache-Gabrielsen – Deputy Merchants’ Representative
Philippe Jouhaud
Patrice Pinet
Mélina PY – Vice-President of the DMB
Deputy Merchants’ Representative: Patrick Léger




Christophe Véral, President of the BNIC© UGVC / Stéphane CHARBEAU


Born in 1967 in Châtellerault, Christophe Véral moved to the Charente region in 1994, firstly for love, and secondly, to nurture his passion for vineyards and Cognac. Christophe Véral is a grower-distiller, with ageing cellars in the village of Sainte-Sévère in Charente and 110 hectares of Cognac vineyards.

President of the Union Générale des Viticulteurs pour l’AOC Cognac (UGVC) from 2017 to 2020, with a strong commitment to defending the industry’s interests, he began his career in the hotel and restaurant sector.

He has been elected President of the Cognac Interprofession for the next three years. During the previous term, as the Winegrowers’ representative, he worked to maintain strong ties between the BNIC and the UGVC. Christophe Véral is also one of the three Cognac industry representatives at the INAO.


Alexandre GABRIEL, Vice-President of the BNIC
© UGVC / Stéphane CHARBEAU


Father of three, Alexandre Gabriel was born and raised on a farm in Burgundy, where he absorbed his grandfather’s passion and expertise in winemaking and distillation. In 1989, he created Maison Ferrand. Throughout his 31 years’ as cellarmaster, he has devoted his life to producing outstanding Cognacs, supported by his team of keen experts. He is in charge of Maison Ferrand’s R&D department, where several researchers focus on studying Cognac and its technical heritage.

In 2018, Alexandre Gabriel created the Fondation Ferrand, with the aim of studying the tangible and intangible heritage of Cognac. The foundation funds research in Cognac’s history of and traditional techniques. The Fondation Ferrand has already published several books, co-authored by Alexandre Gabriel and Jacques Blanc, in particular: “Elie Ferrand VIII: vie et époque d’un créateur de Cognac éclaire” and “Histoire de la Grande Champagne de Cognac”.

In 2017, the American Distilling Institute awarded him its highest distinction for his contribution to the spirits industry.

He has been a member of the Standing Committee of the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac and Syndicat des Maisons de Cognac (SMC) for several years, where his term as Vice-President is now drawing to a close.


The BNIC, or Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac, represents, develops and preserves the Cognac Protected Designation of Origin, both in France and abroad. In the 160 countries where Cognac is sold, this AOC provides consumers with a guarantee that they are buying an outstanding wine spirit. Comprising an equal number of members from the winegrowing and commercial sides of the industry, the BNIC is a coordination and decision-making body which brings together almost 4,500 winegrowers, 110 professional distillers, and 270 merchants operating within the appellation. The BNIC defends the interests of Cognac producers and consumers, with an unwavering commitment to everyone with an interest in this appellation. cognac.fr/en/bnic

* INAO: The INAO (Institut national de l’origine et de la qualité, National Institute of Origin and Quality) is a public institution in charge of the French official labelling system identifying the quality and origin of products.
** CRINAO: Comité Régional de l’Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (Regional Committee of the National Institute of Origin and Quality)