Close Menu


Trade talk from: Graham Nash, Terence Kenny, Chris Seale, Colin Cameron, Sally Warmington, Bill Gunn, Jonathan Stevens, Dee Blackstock, James Samson, Lynn Murray & David Hesketh

Graham Nash, product development manager for Champagne Tesco
“It is fair to say that rosé is a growing category within Champagne, but demi-sec and other sweeter styles remain an enigma to customers. Champagne is seen as dry by nearly all, and as such ultra brut has acquired some interest.”

Terence Kenny, export director Pannier
“Pannier does have a number of specialty cuvées available. As Champagne takes so long to elaborate and cellar before release these offerings are the concerted efforts of a forward looking team of oenologues and export pros. It takes five years to decide to make a vintage in Champagne.”

Chris Seale, head of Champagnes, Pernod Ricard UK
“More restaurant lists are now being created with a number of Champagnes from the same house and increasing quality ladder, making it possible for consumers to trade up from around £40 for non-vintage to £60 or £70 for vintage. The Champagne market is so buoyant because more people are coming into it and broadening its appeal outside special occasions – and that means people want to learn and experiment.”

Colin Cameron, marketing manager, Percy Fox & Co
“People are looking for new styles of Champagne other than core non-vintage and in addition promotional packs, special edition bottles, zero dosage and so on all add interest to Champagne. They continue to keep Champagne alive and show it is still an innovative category.”

Sally Warmington, brand manager, Veuve Clicquot
“Rosé is the most obvious trend in Champagne. It is extremely popular and increasingly so – consumers just love the rosé style despite the dreadful summer we’ve had in the UK. In addition, vintage and prestige cuvées are outperforming the total Champagne category. The highest growth is occurring in higher quality and rosé Champagne.”

Bill Gunn, managing director, Pol Roger UK
“The on-trade is becoming increasingly adventurous and the diversity of Champagne being drunk throughout the on-trade is up, especially by the glass. It is now not uncommon to have a non-vintage, rosé and prestige cuvée. People are starting to understand Champagne a lot more, it is not just a monolith.”

Jonathan Stevens, marketing controller, Mentzendorff
“People are realising that Champagne is quite versatile, but it is still hugely aspirational and this means there is a huge interest in the Champagne category. There will always be early adopters seeking out new things but brut non-vintage and rosé are still the mainstay.”

Dee Blackstock MW, Champagne buyer, Waitrose
“Rosé Champagne and prestige cuvées are growing very fast, just as availability gets more and more difficult. If vintage Champagne is dressed up as a prestige cuvée, ie, Cristal, then it is growing – or it would be if it was possible to get it. If it is not seen as a prestige cuvée, then it is not growing as fast.”

James Samson, UK brand manager, Louis Roederer
“We are seeing an explosion of interest in the middle battleground… that area between £30 and £100 – a part of the market that has traditionally been much slower for everyone in the Champagne world. We are finding that the interest is both in blue chip retailers like Berry Bros, selling to final consumers, and our wholesaler network, which is seeing a strong demand in top-end restaurants. The other area that continues to grow is rosé.”

Lynn Murray, marketing director, Hatch Mansfield
“Taittinger has developed a number of new products over the last three years which reflect a trend in the Champagne market for more ‘specialist’ Champagnes. For example, Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus NV, which is a stepping stone between the core non-vintage Champagne and vintage; Taittinger Les Folies de la Marquetterie NV, a single-vineyard Champagne made from fruit from the Les Folies vineyard; and Taittinger Nocturne NV with a higher dosage (20 g/l). Each of these three wines has a specific viticultural, vinification or ‘occasional’ point of difference.”

David Hesketh MW, managing director, Laurent-Perrier UK
“Focusing on vintage can demonstrate that you can step up in the Champagne appellation – that there are tiers you can move up. Prestige cuvées are also part of the trade up, but a different market – where consumption choices are made on perceived value and how others perceive that product. It is about brand image and status. There is also potential through branding and clear differentiation to really develop the zero dosage category.”

© db October 2007

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No