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Moët launches pop-up Champagne school

Increasing competition has prompted Moët to launch an educational initiative in London to highlight the differences between Champagne and other sparkling wines.

The Moët Academy has been billed as a “pop-up school of Champagne”

Called the Moët Academy, it has been described as a “pop-up school” by the brand, designed to educate UK consumers about the characteristics of Champagne, from the chalk terroir to the blending of the base wines, and second fermentation in bottle.

Guiding guests through the processes will be MW duo Susie Barrie and Peter Richards who will take 90 minutes to cover the key aspects to Champagne-making, as well as laying on a tasting.

Speaking to the drinks business earlier this month, international marketing and communication director at Moët & Chandon, Arnaud de Saignes said that it was vital that consumers were “educated” about the nature of Champagne, as well as “loving the image of Moët”.

“Education is very important… we want consumers to understand all the savoir-faire behind Moët Impérial; for example, it takes 36 months from grape to bottle,” he commented.

“If the consumer values the quality of the product then they will continue to drink Moët and continue to drink Champagne,” he added.

Motivation for the Moët Academy echoes concerns  previously expressed in the drinks business by Andrew Hawes, who heads up Mentzendorff, Bollinger’s UK importer.

Speaking to db in March last year, Hawes said that he would like to see Champagne as a whole start to strongly communicate its attributes in Britain, particularly as sales of quality sparkling wines continue to increase in this market.

“Champagne has fantastic assets as a region and a generic brand… the industry should do more to communicate what makes Champagne so special,” he stated.

Notably, de Saignes told db that Champagne’s competition was not only from other sparkling wines, but also “luxury spirits”.

Similarly, in a meeting with db last month, Damian Carrington, commercial director at FMV, said that the environment for Champagne sales in the London on-trade was increasingly challenging.

In particular, the trend towards embracing a wider range of drinks in restaurants is making the competition intense, particularly when it comes to the aperitif.

“The restaurant environment is much more competitive for that first drink, it’s no longer just a glass of Champagne, it could be a very good sparkling, or a sherry – though unfortunately not often – or a cocktail,” he said.

Tickets for a 90 minute session at the Moët Academy will be £40, and available from from 20 February 2015.

The pop-up school will take place at OXO2 on London’s Southbank from 1324 April this year.

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