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Ruinart: Aussies are Champagne ‘maniacs’

The growing consumer thirst for Champagne in Australia is proving hugely lucrative for the region, according to the chef de cave of Ruinart.

Australians are developing an increasing thirst for Champagne. Credit: Pat Glover

Speaking to the drinks business, Frédéric Panaïotis said: “Australia is a very sophisticated Champagne market and has been great for us in terms of sales.

“They’re Champagne maniacs out there, and are great ambassadors for ‘brand Champagne’. They’re really geeky about it and are ready and willing pay for quality.”

Panaïotis said Champagne sales in Australia were still focused around the on-trade, particularly in bars and restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne, but being an on-trade focused house, the set up was “working really well” for Ruinart.

The Dom Ruinart label is to go from black to cream to reflect that it is a blanc de blancs

While not focusing on large format bottles for nightclubs, Panaïotis revealed a desire to have the brand’s flagship blanc de blancs supersized.

“I’d love us to bottle a six-litre Methuselah of our Blanc de Blancs as it would look so beautiful, but the cost of the moulds for that kind of thing is mad, around £50-60,000, so for the time being we’ll be sticking to Jeroboams,” he said.

In order to highlight the fact that its prestige cuvée – Dom Ruinart – is a blanc de blancs, Ruinart is switching from a black to an ivory label and including the words “Blanc de Blancs” on the front label.

“More restaurants and bars are using blanc de blancs as a sub-category on their Champagne lists so I want Dom Ruinart to be explicit about the fact that it is made from 100% Chardonnay as I don’t think it’s been completely clear in the past,” Panaïotis told db.

In addition, the disgorgement date will be included on the back label.

“I’m very happy to include the disgorgement date on the label but don’t want to make it a sales argument,” Panaïotis stipulated.

As for the 2013 harvest in Champagne, while some houses struggled with hail, Panaïotis said Ruinart “got lucky” with the Chardonnay the house picked, which he described as the “big winner” this year, despite yields being down by 20%.

While not keen to make any snap judgments, Panaïotis said the wines “look good” and that he was “not ruling out” the vintage potential for 2013 just yet.

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