Champagne entering a new and great period

Champagne is entering a third great phase of sales success according to Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger.

Speaking at the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Masterclass in London last month, Pierre-Emmanuel (left) referred to three “great periods of Champagne”, with the latest expansion driven by demand from emerging markets.

He explained how the region enjoyed its first phase of growth from the eighteenth century to 1939, when sales grew from 1 million bottles to 10m, before starting a second era of booming sales from 1945 to 2000, when consumption rose to 320m bottles.

“Now we are entering the third great phase,” he said, “and we have been facing this for the last three years.”

He attributed the new demand to emerging markets. “Half of the world were not Champagne consumers before, and 90% of Champagne was drunk in Europe and the US, but now China, Japan, Russia and South America are becoming a vast market,” he said.

Pierre-Emmanuel also spoke of the positive benefits from climate change on Champagne production when addressing those at the masterclass, which was held in London’s Vintner’s Hall, and organised by the Institute of Masters of Wine.

“The last 10 years have been excellent due to the global warming,” he said, referring to the Champagne harvests.

In fact, such has been the quality of the grapes, he added that Champagne’s non-vintage category should be classed as multi-vintage.

“Now the non-vintage is a multi-vintage, like our friends at Krug have been saying, and our non-vintage is consistently a mutli vintage,” he said.

Nevertheless, he added, “I am anxious about global warming for the long term, but for last 10 years it has been excellent for Champagne.”

Pierre-Emmanuel finished the masterclass by stressing the need for Champagne to retain its image of indulgence while remaining affordable.

“Champagne is not only a wine but a symbol of love and generosity and if we forget that we are dead, and I am fighting that,” he stated.

Continuing, he referred to a battle with “marketers” who, he said, “want us to drink Champagne in a wine glass.”

“But we have a specific glass… and Champagne is not a wine but a great symbol,” he explained, “And it is a crime to promote it with orange juice or ice.”

As for the issue of pricing, he said, “When the price of a bottle of Champagne is more than a salary of a nurse working in a hospital in Reims then it’s a stupidity, a nonsense, and I am absolutely against that.”

Hence, he concluded, “Champagne must remain an affordable luxury”, while for the Comtes de Champagne prestige cuvée specifically, he added, “We want it to be the Champagne for people who can make the difference between quality and price, and it has to be affordable for the connoisseurs, and the connoisseurs are not only the billionaires.”

One Response to “Champagne entering a new and great period”

  1. Some interesting points mentioned here.

Leave a Reply to Robert Giorgione Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

We encourage debate in the comments section and always welcome feedback, but if you spot something you don't think is right, we ask that you leave an accurate email address so we can get back to you if we need to.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Champagne Masters 2019

View Results

Rioja Masters 2019

View Results

Click to view more

Subscribe today to get each issue of The Drinks Business as soon as it's published, plus all the latest breaking news and access to our library of back issues.

Subscribe Today!

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news about the international spirits industry every weekday lunchtime (GMT)