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The Comité Champagne reinstates London tasting

The Comité Champagne will be holding its Annual Champagne Tasting in the UK in March this year, despite reports to the contrary by the drinks business six months ago.

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

In July 2016, db broke news that The Comité Champagne would not be staging a tasting in London in 2017, after over 20 years hosting an event in the capital, however, according to information received by db in mid-December, and then confirmed today, the Comité has decided to reinstate the UK’s Annual Champagne Tasting, and it will be held on 29 March – around two weeks later than its usual timing.

Speaking to the drinks business this morning, Françoise Peretti, who heads up the Champagne Bureau in London, stated that the tasting would take place over the course of one day in London on 29 March, but added that she could not yet confirm any further details, including the venue for the tasting.

In July last year, Peretti noted in an email that “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.”

In a follow-up interview, 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.

However, the news that this tasting was not happening in 2017 sparked a quick and critical response from Champagne agents and importers in the UK, with the chairman of the UK Champagne Agents Association, Andrew Hawes, urging the Comité Champagne to reconsider its decision to cancel its Annual Tasting in London.

In a discussion with db, Hawes justified the need for a Champagne tasting in London because, he said, “The United Kingdom remains the largest export market for Champagne, and London is the principle shop-window from which to promote Champagne to a global audience.”

While it has been confirmed that the Comité Champagne has now decided to hold an annual tasting in the UK in 2017, db believes that the format of the day’s event is still under review, and we shall be bringing our readers more details on the exact nature of the tasting in a follow-up story later this week.

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