Olivier Gilles, General Secretary

Born and raised in Normandy, Olivier grew up in the family’s hotel-restaurant “Le Cygne” located in Conches en Ouche. Between the kitchen flavours and the restaurant’s atmosphere, he quickly understood it was made for this industry too. After 2 unsuccessful years at university, he started to study service and hospitality. 

This is when he started to study wines and got specialized with different schooling, including the famous Université des vins de Suze la Rousse (Drôme, France).

From 2000, he started to work in the industry in Beaumes de Venise, as sales assistant. He then moved to London, England, in 2002 to have an experience abroad and to be recognized as sommelier. For five years almost, he reinforced his sommelier expertise but also his restaurant and management skills.

Back to France early 2007, he passed a master’s degree (Wine and spirits trade) in Dijon and went straight to China where he spent more than 2 years, working for a wine importer in Beijing. He finally moved to Phnom Penh, Cambodia where he is established since 2011. He created there a wine school “Vinolive” through which he is trying to identify the young wine talent and make them some strong actors in the Khmer wine industry and beyond.

Strong of his 25 years’ experience in the wine industry with 20 abroad, he worked in most of the wine sectors, from wineries to wine importers, through restaurant and wine retail. He is not introducing himself as a wine specialist, but more as a wine lover, who made his passion his life.