Champagne de Venoge gets C19th château18th March, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt
Champagne’s Lanson-BCC Group has bought one of the largest houses on Epernay’s Avenue de Champagne for its de Venoge brand.
The building, called Maison Gallice, was built in 1899 for the former president of Perrier-Jouët, Marcel Gallice, although the château later fell into the hands of the state and, until Lanson-BCC acquired the property in December, it was used as the headquarters of ORCA (Office Régional Culturel de Champagne-Ardennes).
“It is one of the most beautiful houses in Champagne,” said Gilles de la Bassetière, president of Champagne de Venoge, in a discussion with the drinks business earlier this year, when he announced news of the acquisition.
According to Bassetière, the mayor of Epernay had informed Lanson-BCC about his wish to sell the building, although the state has retained much of the extensive gardens at the back of the château, which contain important and rare plants.
Meanwhile, explaining the motivation for Lanson-BCC to buy the property for de Venoge, Bassetière added, “To have a top brand you need a dedicated place”.
Currently, however, de Venoge shares facilities with other Lanson-BCC brand, Champagne Boizel, although de Venoge used to have its own building at number 30 Avenue de Champagne, which has since been knocked down.
Bassetière also told db that the style of the newly-acquired property, which is at number 33 Avenue de Champagne, was similar in look and scale to Jacquart’s new headquarters in Reims – formerly the Hôtel de Brimont – which the latter house bought and renovated in 2009 (see picture, below).
Indeed, both Maison Gallice and Jacquart’s Hôtel de Brimont were designed by the same architect, Paul Blondel, and built within three years of each other.
De Venoges won’t move in to Maison Gallice until early 2015 according to Bassetière.
In the meantime, Lanson-BCC is planning to install offices, a reception area, and kitchen in the property allowing de Venoge to use the building for both working and entertaining.
The château also has two small gatehouses on the edge of the Avenue de Champagne, and Bassetière said he would like to use one of these as small shop selling Champagne, as well as serving the fizz by the glass, possibly with some tapas too.
The other gatehouse he hopes to turn into a small apartment for de Venoge’s customers to stay in.
As for other news from the house, Bassetière said that de Venoge would be updating its labels in June this year, and would be incorporating more information on the Champagne, including the disgorgment date and the dosage.
Click here to read more about Maison Gallice.