Canard-Duchêne sells 4.1 million bottles annually
Label: Canard-Duchêne Authentic Brut Non-Vintage
Blend (approx.): 45% Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier 35%, Chardonnay 20%
Reserve wine (%): 25-29
Lees ageing (months): 23-26
Dosage (g/l): 9-9.9
Price (RRP, UK): £25
Size (approx. annual sales, 2015): 4.1 million bottles
Cellar master: Laurent Fédou
Our first brand is a big volume Champagne that has enjoyed a quality uplift since a change in ownership. Acquired from LVMH by Groupe Thiénot in 2003, the new owner has invested in improving the wines and refreshing the brand’s packaging and marketing, boosted by skilful management from Alexis Petit-Gats, who has risen to the role of MD from regional sales director in 2003.
As part of the brand’s rebirth, Groupe Thiénot has renovated Canard-Duchêne’s historic winery, working with Reims-based architect Nicolas Thiénot, who is the brother of Alain Thiénot, president of the group.
The first stages of the renovation began in 2011 with the restoration of the production facilities which are situated on Rue de Mailly in the village of Ludes, within the Montagne de Reims.
As previously reported by the drinks business, Canard-Duchêne invested over €1 million to integrate its winery into the landscape using wooden cladding and trees.
The project was inspired by Canard-Duchêne’s environmentally-sensitive positioning, which has been spearheaded by the brand’s Authentic Green organic Champagne, launched in 2010.
In 2014 Canard-Duchêne launched Smooth Rosé for ski resorts
More recently, the Champagne house has restored its old cellars from the Ludes Château, which were destroyed during both World Wars, and opened an impressive visitor centre, which takes tourists through the brand’s history, as well as the Champagne making process.
Dug out by hand in the 19th Century, the cellars extend over six kilometres and four levels, between 12 and 38 metres deep.
In 2014, Canard-Duchêne launched Smooth Rosé: a new Sec pink Champagne for lounge bars and ski resorts that’s housed in a white bottle, with a dosage of 22 grams per litre.
Canard-Duchêne has instigated a number of new launches in the past year, including the introduction of a jeroboam of its prestige cuvée, Charles VII; a 2008 vintage Champagne; new packaging across its range, as well as an Authentic Brut limited edition in a gold bottle.
Along with Duval Leroy, Canard-Duchêne produces Champagne’s largest organic label, bottling a certified ‘AB’ (Agriculture Biologique) product under the brand “Authentic Green”, which currently accounts for around 70,000 bottles each year and, from this year, comes with a lower ‘Extra Brut’ dosage.
Managing director of the house, Alexis Petit-Gats, told db at the start of this year that Canard-Duchêne had grown 8% since 2014 to hit 4.1m bottles in annual sales for 2015, which, he said, was a new high and puts the brand closer to its aim of reaching 5m bottles by 2020.
Brand owner: Thiénot Bordeaux Champagne
Head office: 1 rue Edmond Canard, 51500 Ludes France
Tel: +33 326 611 096
Product range: Authentic Brut, Authentic Demi-Sec, Authentic Rosé, Authentic Vintage, Cuvée Léonie Green, Cuvée Léonie, Cuvée Léonie Rosé, Charles VII Brut, Charles VII Rosé, Charles VII Blanc de Blancs, Charles VII Blanc de Noirs, Charles VII Smooth Rosé