Champagne Mumm Launches Zero-Gravity Bottle Design

It took three years of research and experimentation to develop Mumm Grand

It took three years of research and experimentation to develop Mumm Grand Cordon Stellar, the first champagne designed to be tasted in space. For this world premiere, Maison Mumm symbolically chose to fly over the vineyards of Reims to present its innovation during a zero-gravity flight.

Science Serving Champagne

Maison Mumm’s goal was to take champagne into space while maintaining its integrity – that is to say, respecting its aromas, the tasting ritual and the specifications of the AOC. The Maison was the first to take an interest in the scientific constraints that the absence of gravity could pose on a gaseous liquid. To explore the possibilities, Maison Mumm called upon Octave de Gaulle, founder of SPADE, a design agency specializing in creating objects for use in space, and assembled a team of experts (engineers, researchers, astronauts and oenologists) to work alongside him.

Driving this exceptional scientific adventure forward, Maison Mumm worked in close collaboration with Jean-François Clervoy (French ESA astronaut, veteran of three NASA space missions) and Gérard Liger-Belair (professor at the University of Reims, a world-renowned researcher specializing in the physiochemistry of the effervescence of champagne). With their knowledge of the dynamics of fluids and capillary action, they were able to understand the terrestrial behaviors of Mumm Grand Cordon champagne.

They faced many challenges: without the effects of gravity, the main difficulties were expelling the liquid from the bottle, capturing it once it came out and finally, how to drink it. To help solve these questions, professor Liger-Belair made twenty years of research related to the creation of bubbles in champagne available to Maison Mumm. He also led a study to predict the behavior of champagne in zero gravity.

SPADE worked on a prototype for the bottle based on theories put forward by the two scientific experts on the team to create several models which were tested in realistic conditions during three parabolic flights between April 2017 and February 2018.

A High-Tech Design

At this level of innovation, every element is essential, starting with materials which, for some, could impact the flavor, the expulsion of carbon dioxide or even the formation of bubbles in the wine.

SPADE selected the glass, the aeronautical-grade aluminum and the stainless steel (the same metal found in the assembly vats at Mumm Grand Cordon in Reims) for their ability to adhere to complex specifications. The double cavity of the glass bottle, the mechanized system contained within it, the ring mounted on the cork and the unique tapered-stem glasses were all carefully considered to reproduce the terrestrial tasting ritual as loyally as possible.

New Taste Sensations

It is in the extreme conditions of zero gravity that Mumm Grand Cordon takes on new, surprising taste characteristics and unexpected sensations in the mouth. Wine exits the bottle as a foam to be inhaled, rather than sipped. This emulsion then turns to liquid, which coats the palate and tongue as capillary action takes effect. “By releasing the power of Pinot Noir, the weightlessness concentrates and intensifies Mumm Grand Cordon’s signature style. The expression of fruit is more accomplished than it is on Earth,” explained Raimonds Tomsons, Best Sommelier in Europe 2017, who also participated in the first official zero-gravity tasting of Mumm Grand Cordon Stellar in Reims.

A Pioneering Spirit

Innovation and daring have been integral to Maison Mumm since its foundation. Exploring new territories like space was a big challenge but one that the Maison took on with passion. “Maison Mumm likes to push the boundaries and has been a leader in its field ever since its foundation. As such, Maison Mumm is a natural supporter of both the pioneers of yesterday and those of the future. In 1904, Maison Mumm was present on board with Commander Jean-Baptiste Charcot to celebrate the first successful French expedition to the Antarctic. Tomorrow, Maison Mumm will accompany passengers to space on this unique adventure,” said Pierre Bérard, Global Marketing Director.

This project goes far beyond the bounds of the Maison. It not only allows the wine to be revealed differently but ensures that champagne is part of the future of space exploration with the advent of space tourism and the first commercial suborbital flights. Beyond champagne, Maison Mumm has made a considerable contribution of the behavior and the tasting of fizzy drinks in space, opening up new horizons.

Dare, win and celebrate

Pushing the boundaries of possibility, daring, taking on challenges and looking ahead are both what this innovation represents for Maison Mumm, and what has always driven it – just like Usain Bolt, the Maison’s C.E.O. (Chief Entertainment Officer) since 2016. Usain Bolt was, of course, present in Reims, alongside the Mumm, for this momentous occasion. During the parabolic flight, he discovered the pleasures of champagne in zero gravity, before returning to Earth to celebrate, during a one of a kind party in the Mumm cellars.

 

Results of 2018 Airline Wine Competition

Global Traveler, the only AAM-audited magazine for luxury business and leisure

Global Traveler, the only AAM-audited magazine for luxury business and leisure travelers, has released the results of its 15th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Competition.

The competition, held at the end of May, took place at The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, in New York City. Expert judges participated in the blind tasting of 22 airlines’ white, red and sparkling wines. The judges hailed from a wide range of specialties, including sommeliers, wine shop owners and winemakers. In total, 18 Champagnes/sparkling wines, 39 white wines and 39 red wines were tasted.

Airlines are required to submit five different wines — two red wines, two white wines and one sparkling wine/Champagne — to be eligible for the overall Best International Business-Class Wines on the Wing award or the Best International First-Class Wines on the Wing award. This year, the winner for Best International Business-Class Wines on the Wing was Delta Air Lines, and the winner for Best International First-Class Wines on the Wing was All Nippon Airways.

In the white wine category, Best International Business-Class White Wine was La Capra Chenin Blanc 2016, South Africa, submitted by Aeroflot. For first class, the winner was EL AL Israel Airlines with Yatir Winery Viognier 2015, Israel.

The best business-class Champagne was American Airlines’ Lanson Black Label Brut, NV. The best first-class Champagne was All Nippon Airways’ Krug Brut Champagne 2004.

When it came to red wine, American Airlines reigned supreme in the first-class category with Valduero Reserva 2012, Ribera del Duero, and United Airlines took the No. 1 business-class spot with Les Graviéres du Roy Sauvion 2016, France.

For the 10th consecutive year, Global Traveler awarded the Best North American Wines on the Wing. North American airlines submitted first-class and business-class wine samples, depending on their domestic flight offerings.

American Airlines was named Best North American First-Class/Business-Class Wines on the Wing, and also won for its red wine, Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Reserve Selection, Napa Valley, California, and its white wine, Joseph Drouhin Pouilly-Vinzelles 2015, Mâcon, France. JetBlue’s Raventós de Nit Brut 2015, Spain, won Best North American Champagne/Sparkling Wine.

For the seventh year, Global Traveler awarded the Best Alliance Wines on the Wing. The participating airlines were divided by airline alliance. The overall points for each airline were tallied and averaged to determine the alliance with the highest total. Congratulations to oneworld, represented by American Airlines, LATAM and British Airways.

Competition director Eunice Fried spent months preparing for the blind tasting. Fried, an accomplished wine journalist and respected wine expert, resides in New York City.

Global Traveler is the only U.S.-based publication to conduct such a survey in the United States.

The top airlines in each category are:

BEST INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS-CLASS WINES ON THE WING
1. Delta Air Lines
2. United Airlines
3. All Nippon Airways
4. Brussels Airlines
5. British Airways

BEST INTERNATIONAL FIRST-CLASS WINES ON THE WING
1. All Nippon Airways
2. British Airways
3. American Airlines
4. United Airlines

BEST CHAMPAGNE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS
1. American Airlines
2. Aeroflot
3. All Nippon Airways
4. United Airlines
5. Brussels Airlines

BEST CHAMPAGNE INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS
1. All Nippon Airways
2. American Airlines
3. British Airways

BEST WHITE WINE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS
1. Aeroflot
2. British Airways
3. British Airways
4. Delta Air Lines
5. Brussels Airlines

BEST WHITE WINE INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS
1. EL AL Israel Airlines
2. British Airways
3. All Nippon Airways
4. American Airlines
5. British Airways

BEST RED WINE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS
1. United Airlines
2. Brussels Airlines
3. Alitalia
4. Alitalia
5. American Airlines

BEST RED WINE INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS
1. American Airlines
2. All Nippon Airways
3. British Airways/United Airlines (TIE)
4. United Airlines
5. EL AL Israel Airlines

BEST NORTH AMERICAN WINES ON THE WING
1. American Airlines
2. Delta Air Lines
3. United Airlines
4. JetBlue

BEST NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPAGNE/SPARKLING WINE
1. JetBlue
2. Delta Air Lines/United Airlines (TIE)
3. American Airlines

BEST NORTH AMERICAN RED WINE
1. American Airlines
2. American Airlines
3. Delta Air Lines
4. United Airlines
5. United Airlines

BEST NORTH AMERICAN WHITE WINE
1. American Airlines
2. American Airlines
3. JetBlue
4. United Airlines
5. Delta Airlines

BEST ALLIANCE WINES ON THE WING
1. oneworld
2. SkyTeam
3. Star Alliance

 

Global Traveler: http://www.globaltravelerusa.com/wines-on-the-wing-2018/

2018 Champagne Harvest – A Vintage Year

The Champagne Harvest begins on August 21. The region has had a year

The Champagne Harvest begins on August 21. The region has had a year of extreme weather. Growers and houses saw record winter rainfall, with 345mm from November 2017 to January 2018. This beats the previous high of 338mm which was set in 1965, according to the Comité. A prolonged, cold winter has given way to good weather with flowering early June along with above average temperatures and sunshine hours.

Optimism around the 2018 vintage is high, said the Comité, which has set yields as 10,800kg per hectare.

Yields are set with one eye on the market. There is an assumption that global Champagne sales in 2018 will not grow significantly versus 2017 in volume terms, albeit exports were expected to lead any increase.

In the last 15 years, 2018 will be the fifth vintage. Global warming is also a local reality that Champagne growers and houses have taken into account.

Expecting stable sales in 2018 and a slight growth over the next few years (especially in the export markets, which now account for more than 50% of the total shipments), Champagne growers and houses agreed today to set the available yield at 10,800 kg/ha, the same level as in 2017. This volume fills the needs of the Champagne producers and maintains a balanced overall stock level.

This harvest is expected to be generous in volume and of good quality. It should also make it possible to reconstitute the Champagne reserve, widely used in the last two years.

Weather Hazards Threaten Northern Italy’s 2018 Harvest

Italy is in the grip weather hazards including hail, floods, tornados

Italy is in the grip weather hazards including hail, floods, tornados and strong winds, casting fears on the 2018 vintage in regions like Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romangna and Veneto.

Italy’s farmers’ association, Confederazione Nazionale Coltivatori Diretti (Coldiretti), has already warned that damages could cost the country’s agriculture industry €500 million.

According to Coldiretti, rainfall in June is 124% more compared with the historic average, and the country is experiencing its hottest summer since 1800.

This is the latest damage reported from a major wine country, following reports of fungal disease in Bordeaux threatening a 70% drop in crop, the ongoing wildfires in California and Germany’s earliest harvest on record due to unusual heatwave enveloping Europe.

“Climatic changes seem to have also impacted the Italian vineyards. It seems to be an abnormal Summer here in Italy, the most threatening weather conditions being floods due to excessive rain, hail and crazy wind called “tromba d’aria” in Italian,” Stevie Kim, managing director of Vinitaly International.

The adverse impact on the 2018 harvest in Northern Italy is early to assess but according to Kim, most producers remain cautiously optimistic and affected areas are mainly in parts of Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Tuscany, Marche and Veneto.

“I know the affected areas include some parts of Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Tuscany, Marche and Veneto. I’ve personally heard about damage to the corn fields, so far most producers that I’ve spoken to seem to be cautiously optimistic, however, in general most have concluded that their yield projection is lower. More importantly the Summer has not come to a close just as of yet,” she explained.

Last year, Italy’s grape yields dropped by 30% in some regions due to bizarre weather patterns, due to late spring frosts and drought.

Source Drinks Business

Capturing the Spirit of Cognac

Six members of the Circle of Wine Writers (CWW) traveled to Cognac, France

Six members of the Circle of Wine Writers (CWW) traveled to Cognac, France from April 9th to 12th, 2018 to visit cognac producers from the designated growing areas of Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres and Dordogne.

A special thank you to our member Liz Palmer and the BNIC for organizing this amazing trip. Reports were written (and will be published shortly) by David Copp (UK), David Kermode (UK), Angela Reddin (UK), Jurgen Schmucking (Austria), Charlotte H.M. van Zummeren (Netherlands), and Liz Palmer (Canada), along with photography by Jurgen Schmucking and radio show program by David Kermode.

Along with meeting some wonderful people, we all had some amazing cultural and gastronomic experiences.

BNIC

On our first day, David Boileau, Ambassadeur du Cognac au BNIC gave us a presentation which included an overview of cognac production process, grapes, grades, producing regions, and 2017 export and economic figures.  This all took place at BNIC’s offices which was followed by a detailed tasting.

Six interesting takeaways are:

  1. 8% of cognac produced is exported;
  2. 4 million bottles of Cognac were exported in 2017, resulting in a turnover of €3.15 billion.
  3. Cognac is marketed to over 156 countries;
  4. Cognac’s 10 main markets include: USA, China, Singapore, UK, Germany, France, Latvia, Hong Kong, Holland and South Africa;
  5. Cognac exports have continued to grow in 2017 (three consecutive years);
  6. In terms of style, VS Cognac accounted for half of the Cognac shipments, with volume growth of 8.6%.

BNIC:  http://www.bnic.fr/cognac/_en/intro.aspx