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Comité Champagne cancels London tasting

The Comité Champagne has announced today that it won’t be holding its Annual Champagne Tasting in the UK next year after over 20 years staging the event.

Annual Champagne Tasting London
The Annual Champagne Tasting in London. Traditionally held in mid-March, the event was staged at One Great George Street this year and in 2015, and before that at Whitehall’s Banqueting House. Picture source: idealwine.com

In an email sent this morning to the drinks business, Françoise Peretti, who heads up the Champagne Bureau in London, wrote, “The Comité Champagne has been reviewing the annual tastings around the world and it was decided to pause the activity in the UK for the time being.

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“The event, which has been running since 1994, has been very successful, but we feel it is time to review it. Should the Comité Champagne decide to maintain the event, it is unlikely that it would take place before 2018.”

Speaking to Françoise Peretti following this missive, she told db that the decision to end the Annual Champagne Tasting was “not a question of slashed budgets; not a question of the UK becoming less important, and not a question of Brexit,” but a result of “a change” in the way the Comité was approaching the marketing of Champagne after more than 20 years hosting the event in London.

“After 20 years, it is time to explore other opportunities” she told db, adding, “We feel that it is time to look at how we can reinvent the tasting… why do the same thing over and over again?”

While she said that it was “most unlikely” there would be a tasting next year, she said, “be assured, there will be activities”.

Looking ahead, she said that the Champagne Bureau would be spending the second half of this year “canvassing agents, the media, the trade and educators” before deciding how best to promote Champagne in the UK.

Continuing she said, “For us, it is very much an opportunity, I welcome it, we want to look at how we can engage with the trade, the media, and the consumer in the most impactful way possible.”

Concluding, she said, “I like to see it evolving and everything is possible, we are looking at a big event, or other smaller events, and something digital.”

Nevertheless, she stressed, whatever the approach, “education is number one on the Comité Champagne list”.

The Comité Champagne, formerly known as the CIVC (which stands for Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne), is a trade association representing Champagne’s producers and houses. It is tasked with promoting the region’s wines through R&D, as well as marketing and protecting the Champagne appellation.

The generic body was established in 1941 and has held a tasting in London since 1994, which, for the past two years, was held at One Great George Street.

 

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