Champagne Drappier reaches sales record and adopts unique bottle

Drappier has reached a new sales record and becomes the latest Champagne house to adopt a unique bottle design.

Drappier now comes in a unique bottle to improve the producer’s environmental credentials as well as the quality of its Champagne

Speaking to the drinks business earlier this month in Champagne, Michel Drappier, who is owner and head winemaker at the house, said that the producer was introducing a specially-created bottle this month, while recording that 2016 marked a new peak for Drappier, both in value, and volume – with the house shipping 1.7 million bottles in the past 12 months.

“Our sales in 2016 were up a little bit, just 2.5%, but we also increased prices more than inflation,” he told db, noting that growth in supply was limited by the producer’s stockholding.

Continuing he said that “Altogether it was a positive year, but the markets are very uneven; the UK is down but Japan and the US, as well as Italy are up, and we are happy to see that the French market is also up.”

While he said that overall Drappier sales in Europe were down in 2016, the increase in lots of “niche markets”, as well as the aforementioned US and Japan, had put the house into growth overall.

As for the new bottle, this was created for Drappier four years ago, and the first examples are just emerging from the producer’s cellars.

Although the unique shape gives Drappier a point of difference when it comes to merchandising, Michel said that the prime motivation for the new bottle was to improve the producer’s environmental credentials as well as the quality of its Champagne.

Drappier was previously packaged in a standard Champagne bottle

According to Michel, the bottle contains 87% recycled glass – which he said he believed was the highest content of any Champagne bottle – and uses brown glass because it filters 99% of ultraviolet light, compared to green glass, which prevents 92% of the damaging rays reaching the wine.

He also said that the neck of the bottle is narrower than the previous industry-standard design, ensuring that the new package reduces the Champagne’s exposure to oxygen.

Finally, he said that the name of the house had been moulded into the bottom of the bottle to counteract the possibility of fakes, while he added that the new design was lighter than the previous bottle, although “slightly heavier than the very lightest bottle available.”

“Everything has been done to be as efficient as possible, so it’s not a sexy bottle for Lada Gaga; it has really been made for the wine.”

Continuing, he said that the standard Champagne bottle is “not ideal”, noting that his unique design was lighter, employed more recycled glass, was darker, and let in less oxygen through the neck.

Drappier is the latest house to release its own exclusive bottle design on to the market.

As reported last year, Joseph Perrier is now shipping its Champagnes in a new unique bottle for both image and technical reasons: the design has “a swan neck for a smaller air chamber, and generous shoulders to make it easier for the yeast to slide down the bottle”, according to president of the house, Jean-Claude Fourmon.

Meanwhile, other houses have recently launched new exclusive bottle shapes for marketing and technical reasons, such as Bolllinger and Philipponnat, while back in 2010, Louis Roederer released its first Champagnes in brown bottles as “part of our strive for perfection”, according to Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, cellar master at Roederer

And back in the 90s, Deutz – which is owned by the Roederer Group – started putting all its Champagnes in its own bottle, using a shape formally used exclusively by the flagship Cuvée William Deutz.

Although all of the houses mentioned in this article produce their own wine, the use of an exclusive glass shape does ensure that the Champagne has been bottled by the house named on the label – and not been sourced as bottled wine from another producer, a practice known as sur latte trading.

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