Sensis all started in France...
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Co-founder Jean Baptiste Ponsot explains how his childhood influenced the company’s ambitions in building outstanding wine cellars.

Part I — A timeless legacy


The heritage

I remember once, after a long drive across the vineyards in Burgundy; my family and I experience in an underground wine vault resembles my childhood memories, where I got granted few antique wine bottles. This was a treasure expedition in the underground wine cellar, which is a dark and humid environment that ll with complete silence; all the wine bottles were stacked and still, the place was slow-paced as if undiscovered by human; everything had been through ages and waiting for us to discover.

Getting a time travel

Climbing down to the very end corner, I finally found my first bottle. I wonder if it was still drinkable. The wine was in its shell and covered by dust, it showed a thin mould on the side and the label was altered that I could barely read “Château Rauzan Gassies, 1921”. Although this was far from home, I felt great and delighted to become the only keeper of the inherited treasure. Tasting one of the antique wine praised me to trust and to be close to the nature, to listen the ground calls that brings the essential keys of preservation. Cities in France abide by those principles, often used alternatively, the underground cellars and caves remains nowadays and reflects how the human adapted his consumption habits over the history.

Wine and life

Thinking back to my childhood, my first relationship with wine was mainly consists of distant attentions; looking at corks pulled out in family gatherings has turned into rituals and celebration, sometimes it just acted as a dinner bell. Although I was too young that I was not invited to try the wine, it started to raise my attention on how it was made and how it became ubiquitous in people’s home.

Another element entrenched with French winemaking tradition is the notion of “Terroir” ; it represents the specificity of a place that influence and shape the products made from it; such as the aroma of wine and unique flavor that is attributed to the environment of grapes. Wine-making is not only based on human interaction, but also highly dependent on the region’s climate, soil, terrain, which raises the potential to produce distinctive and exclusive wine all over the country.

« [...] Wine has always been witnesses good moments. »


Part II — Build the company


Driven by passion

Design is a work of passion. Most of my spare-time has been spent on researching how I could enhance basic shelving unit into professional ones,  finding a way to democratise the proper ageing components to every wine amateurs daily lifestyle. A year of research brought the first mini cellar’s prototype came to life. This piece of work helped me to dig into details and learnt how to master the elements in such enclosed spaces.

Innovation for tradition

The idea of defining extra sensorial experiences through wine storages became real when a group of friends have successfully ran through optimal and stable parameters. Sensis was born that day of 2013, and more than one was needed to start the journey. Few other members joined to form the current core team and introduced “innovation for tradition” which continues to be the company headline. The team moved to Munich, Germany; the idea of Sensis was presented to a delegation of climate system engineers appointed for a six months co-development period. The first set of Sensis cooling system came out of the lab and ready to be manufactured.

The turning point

While first few projects were lifted out of the French ground, co-founders Jean-Baptiste Ponsot and Agnes Fung brought the team to Hong Kong, exploring a potential development process of smaller units. After few months, the company decided to establish its headquarter. This transition insured a huge potential growth for the company; starting an in-house research and development, being able to keep up with current projects abroad while running full operations in the Asian hub.

Finally, the  first generation wine cabinets came out of the assembly line in 2014; It was presented as three solid and bold models which stood as the spearhead of the brand. In the following year, Sensis got rewarded several times by IF Design Award and Red Dot Design for the accessibility and efficiency of the wine cabinets. Sensis focuses on authenticity while pushing toward modernity, the grown up team settled and specialised in delivering wine storages on different scales. The company introduced its Custom made section, Signature, in The Wine Forum in Hong Kong 2015; Since then, Sensis Signature is partnering with top architecture firms and private customers in Hong Kong, to deliver prestigious and unique wine cellars.


While I was growing a certain appetite to collect wine, I drove my career into the industrial design  field. This allows me to travel around different countries, discover peoples and cultures, especially explore the art and craftsmanship. I have spent time to seek, spot and collect bottles abroad and most importantly got to exchange with people. I did not realised that I was truly building a passion for wine and shaping up my own taste grammar, which ultimately leads to an obsession.

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Jean-Baptiste Ponsot