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Dominique Pierre runs the Nicolas Feuillatte wine center. He advocates a shared communication between all the main Champagne corporations to oppose « Sparklings » ; Interview.
Bulles & Millésimes : The wine center has reached record high shipping figures last year with 10.4 million bottles. However, you have not spoken much about these performances. Could it be that success comes as an embarassment when the whole Champagne area is in trouble ?
Dominique Pierre. Arrogance would be pointless. These good results come from all the hard work put down by the men and women of the Wine Center, along with our co-workers. This growth also comes as a result of our marketing strategy targeting countries where we seldom sold anythinhg. This was the case with the United States where in the past two years, we have reached an annual sale of over 700 00 bottles. We also have tried to attract a new clientele in Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast and other African countries where Champagne was scarce. We are therefore talking about a mechanical growth.
How do you overall rate the results of the entire Champagne chain of production ?
The glass is either half way full or halfway empty. On the negative side, Champagne sales have been constantly dropping for three years. This is a serious situation. Over here, at the Wine Centre, we believe that the entire industry does not pay enough attention to the growing trend of the « Sparklings ». The Champagne region is sometimes overconfident that nothing can ever happen to Champagne wines. But the modern consumer wants fantasy wines at a reasonable price. Furthermore, the quality of those far away wines has increased. In order to fight efficiently these upcoming products, a real communication about Champagne wines seem necessary. It just does not exist today. Champagne is slowly becoming a process, no longer a trademark. It is up to us to show our differences with the « sparklings ». Champagne must remain this mythical wine connected with big events, and never become common. On the positive side, in a depressed economic situation, Champagne is overall doing OK… »
How do you see the future ?
In the same way. The economy in France, just like all over Europe –Champagne’s primary markets – is unfortunately not improving. This is the reason why we must today communicate on the specificities and the identity of Champagne wines. Young people under 30 years of age, without having learn the codes nor the mythical aspects of this brand name, discover through the internet new, well conceived cheap products. With a simple click, they get them home within 48 hours. The Champagne region successes are the result of a unique brand name associated to century years old brands that became wold famous. The world of Champagne cannot be divided between brand names on one side, and a kind of wine making on the other. Everybody must work for the same purpose, that is the interest of Champagne. When Proseccos sales reach over 300 million bottles, that strikes me. We must avoid a real catastrophy for Champagne and come too late to conclusions.
- Sparkling wine : generic name that includes all sparkling wines besides Champagne.