Close Menu

Castelnau hopes to benefit from Tour tie-up

Champagne de Castelnau has replaced Jacquart as this year’s  exclusive Champagne poured on the Tour de France.

The brand has signed a three-year tie-up with the gruelling cycling race in an attempt to raise the Champagne’s profile within France, as well as the UK, its largest export market.

Indeed, with just two days to go before it is widely believed Bradley Wiggins will clinch the first British victory of the tour, it is likely UK interest in the famous sporting event will increase.

Speaking to the drinks business about the decision to associate Champagne de Castelnau with the Tour, general manager Pascal Prudhomme said he hoped to mimic the success of Skoda in France since the car manufacturer became the official partner of the race nine years ago.

However, due to France’s Loi Evin – a law passed in 1991 to prevent the advertising of alcohol or tobacco – Champagne de Castelnau can’t appear in any place the brand might be captured on camera.

Hence, the Champagne must raise awareness through the use of branded glassware at corporate events; by placing jeroboams of the drink at bars within hospitality tents, and, of course, providing stock for the parties which take place at each stage of the Tour.

Pascal pointed out that three million French turn out to watch the Tour each year, and although it is hard for Champagne de Castelnau to directly benefit from this due to the Loi Evin, he said that the brand’s association with the famous race would motivate and benefit the company’s sales team.

Like Jacquart which preceded Champagne de Castelnau as official pour of the Tour, the brand is owned by one of the sparkling wine region’s largest cooperatives, the Coopérative Regionale des Vins de Champagne (CRVC).

Pascal added that he believed the new tie-up with the Tour would also be an encouragement for the growers which supply grapes to the cooperative.

“It shows them that the brand is strong and we are investing in it,” he said.

He also felt that the association would show Champagne de Castelnau’s largest export markets – UK and Belgium – that the brand “is going places”.

Meanwhile, within France, Pascal said he expected the brand to benefit from the visibility among the VIPs present at corporate events running alongside the race, particularly the many guests and buyers from French supermarket chain Carrefour, which has sponsored the Tour’s polka dot jersey since 2009.

However, Pascal stressed that Champagne de Castelnau is not sold in the retailer, although CRVC do supply Carrefour with buyers own brand (BOB) Champagne.

In the UK, Champagne de Castelnau is sold mainly in the on-trade, and is the pouring Champagne at the Café Rouge restaurant chain, as well as London’s newly refurbished Hippodrome.

The Champagne brand’s 2000 vintage was one of the few products to gain the highest accolade of “Master” in last year’s Champagne Masters competition organised by the drinks business.

The tour has a long association with Champagne, not just due to the region’s regular appearance in the race, but also because of the wine’s historic use as a source of energy for the riders.

It is said that Maurice Garin, who won the first Tour de France in 1903, kept himself fuelled on a mixture of Champagne and coffee.

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