Piper-Heidsieck sells 4.3 million bottles annually
Label: Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut Non-Vintage
Blend (approx.): 55% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 15% Chardonnay
Reserve wine (%): 10–14
Lees ageing (months): 27-30
Dosage (g/l): 10-10.9
Price (RRP, UK): £25
Size (approx. annual sales, 2014): 4.3m bottles
Cellar master: Régis Camus
Benefitting from the skill of cellar master Régis Camus, Piper-Heidsieck winemaker since 1994, this house is a consistent high-performer in competitions, although its brand strength had suffered somewhat from past management, particularly under former owner Rémy Cointreau.
However, in 2012 the brand was acquired (along with sister house Charles Heidsieck) by EPI, a group owned by France’s Descours family, who placed former Veuve Clicquot chief executive Cécile Bonnefond in charge of both the Heidsieck brands.
Since then, Piper-Heidsieck has pulled back from much of the big price discounting in supermarkets which seemed to plague the brand, and as a result, the house did face an initial fall in sales, although it is now growing again.
Then, in July 2015, Bonnefond passed on the baton for rebuilding the house to Damien Lafaurie, who assured the drinks business shortly afterwards that he is focused on augmenting the brand’s sales and image.
Piper-Heidsieck unveiled its first prestige cuvée rosé in October this year – the Rare Rosé Millésime 2007
In particular, he said that he aims to increase the size of the brand to 5m bottles by 2020. Then, in an interview published in the December issue of the drinks business, Lafaurie said that he was going to take on Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot.
“Piper is one of the few truly global brands with a tangible market presence worldwide – we want to become a genuine alternative to Vueve and Moët,” he said.
“They are such strong brands but they’re a safe choice – we want to be the Champagne brand people choose for other reasons than being a safe bet,” he added.
To achieve this, Piper will undergo a dramatic makeover next year to give it a more premium feel, with everything from the bottles to the labels benefitting from redesigns.
As part of the redesign, the house’s flagship fizz, Cuvée Brut, will move from green to brown glass bottles; a change already adopted by Louis Roederer because brown glass is better at filtering out damaging ultraviolet light.
Brand owner: EPI
Head office: 12 Allée du Vignoble, 51100, Reims, France
Tel: +33 326 84 43 00
President: Damien Lafaurie
Product range: Cuvée Brut, Rosé Sauvage, Vintage, Rare, Rare Rosé, Cuvée Sublime