Champagne De Castelnau enjoyed a 45% increase in volume sales last year to reach a new sales record – and its parent company is now boosting the winery’s capacity.
The Champagne brand, which is owned by the Coopérative Régionale des Vins de Champagne (CRVC), saw its global sales rise to reach almost 800,000 bottles, an increase of 45% on 2015, according to Pascal Prudhomme, managing director of de Castelnau.
Meanwhile, he told db that sales by value had grown by 10%.
The sales boost means that the cooperative sold 2.7 million bottles in total last year, 30% of which came from sales of the de Castelnau brand.
Prudhomme also told db that the group was investing €4.5 million on improving its visitor reception area as well as a updating its winery – a move that will increase its capacity by 20% from 125,000 hectolitres to 150,000hl, allowing it to store in tank the equivalent of 20m bottles.
The new cuverie will contain a higher number of smaller tanks to improve precision, as well as the traceability, according to Prudhomme, who said that the CRVC work with 449 crus across 900 hectares of Champagne.
“The global economy today may not be so nice, but nevertheless, we plan to increase,” he said of the development, confirming that de Castelnau were aiming to reach 1m bottles in worldwide sales by 2020.
Prudhomme then told db that de Castelnau would launch a new look label for the brand in April this year in Paris, describing the change as “totally different”, while commenting, as previously reported by db, that the new packaging would see de Castelnau drop the ‘de’.
“We will become just Castelnau,” he said, noting that the launch of the brand’s first prestige cuvée last year, called Hors Categorie, was, in terms of appearance, “a signal of what we can do and a signal of our new philosophy.”
He also said that the new look Brut Réserve would feature the disgorgement date and the bottling date on the label, which both feature on the Hors Categorie.
Unlike brands from Bollinger to Joseph Perrier, de Castelnau is not planning on changing the bottle shape, although Prudhomme said it was “something we are thinking about, but we wouldn’t use our own bottle until we reach the level of 1m bottles – so that could be in three-four years from now, it could be in 2020, but not before.”
In terms of new products this year, Prudhomme said that de Castelnau would be introducing a 2005 vintage as well as between 300-400 bottles of the 1996 vintage from its oenoteque.
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