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EXCLUSIVE: Demarville to leave Veuve Clicquot and join Laurent-Perrier as cellar master

Dominique Demarville is leaving Veuve Clicquot as cellar master at the end of the year to take up the position as chef de cave at Laurent-Perrier, the drinks business has heard.

Dominique Demarville, Veuve Clicquot’s outgoing cellar master. (Photo: Xavier Lavictoire/Veuve Clicquot)

by Giles Fallowfield

Demarville, who was hired to replace Clicquot’s retiring cellar master Jacques Peters back in 2006, has now been singled out by Laurent-Perrier’s soon to retire incumbent chef de cave, Michel Fauconnet.

Fauconnet, 67, has worked at Laurent-Perrier since 1973, and as chef de cave since 2004.

When db contacted Demarville he confirmed that: “will leave Veuve Clicquot at the end of 2019. It is a personal choice taken in complete agreement with LVMH, who I thank a lot for their trust. I’ve had a great deal of enjoyment all these years in keeping the quality and the style of Veuve Clicquot champagne at the best level. I thank all my predecessors, especially Jacques [Peters], who passed on so many things to me. And I thank Jean-Marc Gallot, Veuve Clicquot President, and the other Presidents before him, for their strong support.”

“All my team is dedicated to the continuity of Madame Clicquot motto: ‘Only one quality, the finest’. I’m very grateful for their support along these years. In the coming months, I will concentrate my efforts on the transmission to the person who will replace me and also to the success of the next harvest.”

He didn’t comment on the expected move to Laurent-Perrier next year, and a spokesman for Laurent-Perrier said it were not in a position to make any comment on the story, at the moment. However, the move has been confirmed by another well-placed source in Champagne.

This news about one of the highest profile winemakers in the whole of Champagne, was originally broken by the French journalist Sophie Claeys. It was Claeys who was first with the similarly surprising, if less shocking, news last September, that the newly appointed chef de cave at Piper Heidsieck, Séverine Frerson was leaving Piper after only weeks in the job, to take over from Hervé Deschamps when he retires as chef de cave at Perrier-Jouët. Deschamps has been at Perrier-Jouët since in 1983, and head winemaker there since 1993.

The Veuve Clicquot cellar-master position is traditionally a ‘job for life’. Demarville now 53 is only the sixth man to hold the reigns since 1890 and his five predecessors have all retired in the position, three of them spending over 40 years in the job. One of the nicest people you could wish to meet in Champagne, with a top-class reputation for his winemaking skills, before Clicquot, Demarville worked at G.H. Mumm for around 12 years, making great strides in restoring the reputation of this house’s wines.

The move, if confirmed, represents quite a coup for Laurent-Perrier. And Demarville will become one of the very few winemakers, of any era, to have held the position of chef de cave at three of the best-known houses in Champagne.

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