The U.S. Becomes Champagne’s Top Export Market

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 29: Bottles of champagne are seen on display at a Costco store December 29, 2008 in South San Francisco, California. As the economy continues to falter, sales of sparkling wine and champagne are down this year compared to a 4 percent surge from last year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Champagne category is bubbling over in the U.S. market, driven by a dynamic premiumization trend. With per-case value up 20% to over €300 ($334) last year, the U.S. overtook the U.K. as Champagne’s top export market by value in 2015. Champagne shipments to the U.S. leapt 28% to €515 million ($573m) for the year, surpassing the U.K.’s total of €512 million ($570m), which itself represented a 7% bump. U.S. depletions, at 1.4 million cases last year, remain shy of their 2007 total of 1.6 million cases, but shipment value has surged by nearly 60% since 2010, according to Impact Databank. A slide in the euro—whose value against the dollar is down by about 20% over the past two years—has helped to stoke growth.

From 2010-2014, Champagne’s value on a per-case basis rose a respectable 10% in the U.S., adding around $25. But in 2015 alone, it more than doubled that incremental growth, tacking on about $55 in value to the average case of Champagne. Price hikes and a stronger emphasis on higher-end bubblies are both contributing to the dramatic rise in value.

Piper-Heidsieck, which transitioned from the Rémy Cointreau USA portfolio to Terlato Wines last July, is employing both of those tactics. Piper is extending with a Rare Rosé this year, which will be priced at a premium to prestige cuvée Rare Brut, becoming the brand’s highest-priced offering. While looking to increase its high-end sales, Piper has also taken price hikes on its core Brut non-vintage. “Previously you’d sometimes see the Brut as low as $29.99 on the shelf. Over the holidays last year the average was above $39.99, which is a nice move in the right direction,” says Terlato CEO Bill Terlato.

The third-largest Champagne in the U.S. market, Pernod Ricard’s Perrier-Jouët, is seeing strong results for its prestige cuvée Belle Epoque, which sells above $150 a bottle. “The on-premise is back on a healthy trend and it’s a key driver for our portfolio,” says Aygline Pechdo, brand director for Champagnes at Pernod Ricard USA.

Meanwhile, market leader Moët Hennessy USA continues to enjoy impressive progress with the dynamic duo of Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon, which dominate the category with a combined 60% share. Portfoliomate Dom Perignon is also among the top five Champagnes in the U.S. in volume terms—totaling nearly 60,000 cases annually—despite a retail price above $160 a bottle.

Fourth-ranked player Nicolas Feuillatte tells SND it’s focused on expanding Champagne into new consumption occasions. “We’ll be launching new advertising and social media campaigns this year which support our vision for the future of Champagne as more modern and accessible,” says Feuillatte’s Americas export manager Olivier Zorel. —Daniel Marsteller

U.S. – Top Six Champagne Brands
(thousands of nine-liter cases)
Depletions Percent Change3
Rank Brand Importer 2013 2014 2015 2013-2014 2014-2015
1 Veuve Clicquot Moet Hennessy USA (LVMH) 383 415 453 8.3% 9.3%
2 Moet & Chandon1 Moet Hennessy USA (LVMH) 354 369 382 4.1% 3.6%
3 Perrier-Jouet Pernod Ricard USA 71 71 80 -0.3% 11.8%
4 Nicolas Feuillatte Ste. Michelle Wine Estates 67 68 68 1.5% 0.0%
5 Dom Perignon Moet Hennessy USA (LVMH) 56 59 58 5.2% -1.7%
6 Piper Heidsieck Terlato Wines International 51 45 42 -11.4% -7.0%
Total Top Six2 983 1,027 1,083 4.5% 5.4%
1 excludes Dom Perignon
2 addition of columns may not agree due to rounding
3 based on unrounded dataSource: IMPACT DATABANK

Source: Shanken News

 

Liz Palmer

liz-palmer.com

@Champagnehouses

@LizPalmer_

Interview with: Elizabeth Grant-Douglas, Director of Winemaking at La Crema Winery – Sonoma, California [Women in Wine Business]

elizabeth-grant-douglasThis week, I spotlight Elizabeth Grant-Douglas, Director of Winemaking at La Crema Winery – Sonoma, California.

About La Crema Winery

La Crema was founded in 1979 as La Crema Viñera or “Best of the Vine.”

It’s a Jackson Family winery and is located outside of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California. For over 35 years, the family-owned winery focused exclusively on cool-climate coastal appellations. La Crema is currently leading the way on sustainable agriculture, with early certification as a sustainable winegrower, and being named and recognized as “The Green Company of the Year” by the beverage industry.

About Elizabeth Grant-Douglas

Elizabeth’s interest in winemaking grew out of an early passion when she gained her initial experience alongside her parents, who were hobby winemakers, in the basement of their Niagara Falls home.

Now Director of Winemaking at La Crema, Elizabeth’s unique training in cool-climate oenology has given her the patience and practice required to produce award-winning Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir varietals.

Initially studying Economics at the University of Waterloo, Elizabeth shifted her career studies to Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture program.

“Brock had just announced  the program I was finishing my Economics degree”

“I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather do—I still can’t!”

Liz Palmer: 
You joined La Crema as an enologist in 2001, became Winemaker in 2010, and promoted to Director of Winemaking in 2013 – what have the highlights been during your tenure?

Elizabeth Grant-Douglas:
Watching the evolution of the brand from 2010 to now, and adding new vineyards in Oregon. The wines have also become more interesting and more complex – very exciting! I’ve been with La Crema for fifteen years and it never gets dull.

Liz Palmer:  
How closely do you work with the vineyard manager and team?

Elizabeth Grant-Douglas:
I manage five teams with a total of eight.  I work with the teams from pruning to harvest by checking the quality of the grapes and tasting the blends – they all provide me with their feedback.

Liz Palmer:
La Crema Winery has integrated some environmentally-sustainable practices. Can you tell me about this?

Elizabeth Grant-Douglas:
We are very dedicated to sustainability. This is a family business and we look what is best for next generation, in the long term.  We try to be as sustainable as possible in every phase of production—not only in the vineyard, but in the winery. We have analyzed all our procedures, and we’re working to be 100 percent sustainable.

Liz Palmer: 
Are you finding any challenges related to climate change and global warming?

Elizabeth Grant-Douglas:
We are looking at this.  There is no consistency – early rain – rain during bloom – there is no pattern.

Liz Palmer: 
What are your winemaking goals in the next year or two?

Elizabeth Grant-Douglas:
This year we are looking to reveal our first “sparkling wine” from Oregon – I’m really excited about this! It will be brut and I’m really looking forward to it.

Liz Palmer:
I’d like to ask you about the evolving role of women in the wine world. Historically, women have encountered resistance and prejudice when they enter the wine industry?

I’ve had no issues – my generation have been very fortunate as the trail blazers have paved the way.

I work with a lot of other female winemakers – we work well together.

Liz Palmer:
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?

Elizabeth Grant-Douglas:
Barbara Banke, the Chairman & Proprietor of Jackson Family Wines – she supports sustainability and has created a company for families.

Liz Palmer:
How do you maintain a work/life balance?

Elizabeth Grant-Douglas:
During the harvest – I make sure I have family dinners with my son and and husband. I take my son with me on weekends into the vineyards – he actually likes grapes!

Liz Palmer:
What is your advice for other young women entrepreneurs?

Elizabeth Grant-Douglas:
Travel as much as possible earlier on in your career.  Be fearless – look to find something that excites you!

www.LaCrema.com

 

The First Annual La Champenoise (the Celebration of Champagne) Takes place this Weekend in Reims, France

Unknown-1The first annual La Champenoise (the Celebration of Champagne) takes place this weekend, June 25 and 26 in beautiful, historical Reims, France.

There will be over 70 champagne houses and growers, along with 10 local gastronomy providers, who will be introducing their wines and products to locals, tourists, and wine professionals.

La Champenoise takes place in mythical Halles du Marché du Boulingrin. It’s also known for its architectural and historical presence, and has recently been restored.

Founders, Matthias Collard , Franck Moussié and Benjamin Carteret combined their experience in event organizing, tourism and Champagne and decided a few years ago that Reims needed a festival similar to the wine festivals held in Burgundy and Bordeaux.

“All the major French wine regions have their celebration, sometimes even at an international level… Champagne is the most festive and friendly wine there is, and we wish to celebrate it with this event that unites all the players involved in its production, whether it is trading houses, cooperatives or independent winemakers,” explains Franck one of the founding entrepreneurs of the project.

La Champenoise

Les Halles du Boulingrin

50 rue de Mars

51100 Reims

http://fetechampenoise.com

 

Entrance for Saturday June 25, 7pm-1am: €15

Entrance for Sunday June 26, 11am-8pm: €15

2 day pass: €25

Champagne physicist Gérard Liger-Belair’s recent observations revealed in the Journal of Food Engineering

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Gérard Liger-Belair a physics professor at the University of Reims and expert in effervescence and oenology released his latest report entitled:

“Unveiling self-organized two-dimensional (2D) convective cells in champagne glasses”

Fabien Beaumont, Gérard Liger-Belair , Guillaume Polidori –
Laboratoire de Thermomécanique (GRESPI), UFR Sciences 13237697_10209713954748660_6688242121628904899_nExactes et Naturelles, Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, BP 1039, 51687, Reims Cedex 2, France

Journal of Food Engineering

Volume 188, Pages 58–65

‘’’Our work around swirling movements which agitate the champagne in the flute (and their action on the exhaust of flavourings) continues.

In collaboration with our colleagues and friends of the grespi, we just released a new series of observations in the journal of food engineering, which makes the link between the number of vortices on the surface and the intensity of the effervescence in the glass.”

An Abstract of the Report

“Under standard tasting conditions, homogeneous stirring of champagne under the action of rising bubbles confers an advantage compared with a situation where the liquid phase would be at rest. Convection helps renewal of the immediate subsurface layers with champagne from the bulk, thus facilitating the evaporation of volatile organic compounds, and therefore better revealing the champagne “bouquet”. Here, spontaneous and self-organized two-dimensional convective cells were evidenced (at the air/champagne interface) in a laser-etched coupe poured with champagne, through laser tomography. Various regimes were evidenced, from a highly unstable 8-cells regime, to a very stable 4-cells regime. Moreover, by blowing air bubbles through a nozzle positioned at the bottom of a goblet poured with water, and by using Particle Image Velocimetry, similar 2D convective cells were also evidenced at the air/water interface, thus pointing out the crucial role of ascending bubbles behind the formation of self-organized 2D convection cells.”

“Amazing networks of convective cells revealed through laser tomography at the surface of champagne glasses.”

Highlights and Findings:

  • The stirring of champagne glasses under the action of rising bubbles increases the perception of aromas.
  • Self-organized 2D convective cells were observed in champagne glasses through laser tomography.
  • Identical convection cells were evidenced in a model experiment, with a bubbly flow blown in a water goblet.
  • Various regimes were evidenced, from a highly unstable 8-cells regime, to a very stable 4-cells regime.

LCBO ANNOUNCES NEW PRESIDENT AND CEO

16224517454_2329417aa3_zLCBO’s Chair Edward Waitzer announced this week the appointment of Dr. George Soleas PhD to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of the LCBO.

“Dr. Soleas has successfully led many aspects of LCBO’s operations and built strong working relationships with suppliers and other key stakeholders.  At a time when LCBO faces significant opportunities and challenges, he brings in-depth knowledge of the sector and organization, and a proven record of innovation, teamwork and public service,” says Waitzer.

George joined the LCBO as Director of Quality Assurance in 1997. Under his leadership the department was transformed into a state-of-the-art, profitable and internationally-endorsed laboratory facility.  This success led to the expansion of his portfolio in 2008 to include Logistics, where he implemented a series of changes to improve the efficiency and safety of Specialty Services and LCBO retail distribution centres.  This included championing the development of LCBO’s patent-pending automatic palletizer technology, which has won many domestic and international awards. In 2013, he was promoted to Executive Vice President, assuming responsibility for Information Technology, Store Development & Real Estate, and Resource Protection.

“LCBO is entering a more competitive marketplace and needs someone with both experience and passion to continue to fulfil its mandate as a profitable, customer-focused and socially responsible retailer.  Given the depth of his involvement in the beverage alcohol industry, both inside and outside the LCBO, George is well positioned to guide the organization as it continues to evolve to meet the needs of the marketplace and serve its customers,” Waitzer added.

“I am confident that, with George’s distinguished expertise and intimate knowledge of the beverage alcohol sector, the LCBO will remain an innovative retailer that continues to demonstrate its ability to keep pace and lead changes in the retailing landscape in the province, across Canada and internationally.  Under George’s leadership and vision, the LCBO will undoubtedly grow its business in a responsible manner, providing the knowledgeable and helpful experience that customers have come to expect while contributing revenues that help fund important social services Ontarians rely on like health care and education.” Honourable Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister of Finance

“George is known throughout the supplier and agent community as being a true partner. In Quality Assurance, Logistics and as EVP, he has significantly improved operational efficiency while ensuring a fair process for all. This professionalism earned him the Drinks Ontario Partnership Award in 2008. In his various roles with the LCBO he has earned a well-deserved reputation for working collaboratively to take advantage of opportunities and resolve issues quickly to improve the customer experience. With the changing landscape in the beverage alcohol industry, we look forward to continuing to work with George and the LCBO team.” Chris Churchill, President Drinks Ontario