Christofle Introduces Exclusive Champagne & Sabrage Classes

For almost two centuries Christofle has been a leader in the art of silver, and a proponent of innovation and design. From Silver to champagne, Christofle is now taking luxury to a whole new level.

Christofle has recently launched a Champagne website reflecting taste, and their brand’s commitment to excellence which has been acquired through its long and prestigious history.

This website [ChampagneSabrage.com] features Christofle’s newest luxury services which focuses solely on Champagne. Led by President and CEO Nicolas Krafft, these offerings include Champagne tastings, demonstrations, and classes teaching the art of Sabrage.

Three classes are being offered: ranging from the moderately-priced introductions to sabrage to more exclusive in-depth seminars.

Brut – a basic Sabrage training for 12 people (starting at $70 per person);

Grand Cuvée – a personal Sabrage for each person, plus a 20 minute tutorial on Champagne for 4 to 10 people (staring at $150 per person); and

VIP – a 2-hour master class on the history and evolution of Champagne for groups of 6 or 12 that includes a tasting of 5 fine Champagnes ($200 per person). Classes are offered at Christofle store locations only.

SIX BASIC RULES FOR STORING WINE ON YOUR BOAT with comments from The World Executives Sailing Club

This article came about by trial and error, and through the experiences of local and international sailors who enjoy the occasional glass of wine or two at the end of the day.

First, it is important to note that wine is very much an organic product, which can change with time, temperature, light and movement.

Finding “ideal storage conditions” on your boat is challenging, and unless you have these, it is not wise to store your bottles, as you will soon find out.

For the purposes of this article, the wines that I will be referring to are “ready-to-drink”, short-term storage wines with cork closures.

1. TEMPERATURE
The key here is to maintain a constant temperature, with little or no fluctuation. The generally agreed-upon temperature for short-term storage ranges from 45-64ºF (7-18ºC) as long as variations are gradual. Temperatures above 65 ºF (19 ºC) will cause wine to age prematurely and lose its flavour and balance.

Temperature stability is the “holy grail” to storing your wine on your boat

2. LIGHT
Ensure the area is dark. Ultraviolet light can affect the composition of wine, which is one of the reasons why wine is traditionally bottled in coloured glass.
Extra care should be given to Champagne and other sparkling wines; they are more sensitive to light.

Never store your wine in direct sunlight or in a well-lit cabin

3. VENTILATION
Air can easily seep into a wine bottle through the cork enclosure. Highly volatile chemical compounds, and other odors such as: gas, diesel fumes, solvents, cleaning solutions, or aromatic food products such as onions, garlic or strong cheeses can and will significantly affect the characteristics of the wine.

When storing your bottles make sure there are no chemical compounds, or strong odors in the area

4. HUMIDITY
Ensure there is humidity and proper air circulation. Humidity is necessary in order to prevent corks from drying out.

Mold or rot will develop in areas with longstanding moisture, or high humidity conditions. Low humidity can cause the cork to dry out and crack, allowing more air into the bottle.

The ideal humidity level for wine storage is between 50% – 70%

5. MOVEMENT
Wine bottles should never be shaken, bumped, or vibrated. This will greatly increase the rate of chemical breakdown. Avoid storing your bottles where there are frequent vibrations, such as close to dishwashers, air conditioners, and boat engines.

Purists insist that vibrations affect flavour and bouquet

6. STORAGE
Wine should always be stored on its side to keep the cork moist and wet. Storing wine on its side keeps the wine in constant contact with the cork ensuring no air gets into the bottle.

Air is one of the greatest enemies to a good wine

If you do not have the luxury of having a built-in wine cellar on your boat, my suggestion is that you find a location that captures all the above conditions. I have found that most of these can be met by storing your bottles in the bilge. Further to preserve the wine I also suggest to wrap the wines individually in newspaper. This is not attractive but it works!

Members of The World Executives Sailing Club further assisted me with my research. I received an overwhelming response to my question: “Do you have an unique way of storing wine on your boat?” The answers range from comical remarks to technical overviews – Here are some of my favorites:

“my belly 🙂 – Howard Colt”

“I was the skipper of a 106 ft staysail schooner, then called S/Y Mariepierre now Aschanti of Saba. The trick of storing wine on a boat, any boat, is even temperature as close to cellar temp as one can get. Mariepierre had a wonderful wine cellar in the mid-ship bilge area with normal wine racks, no particular trick to that. That wine was meant for the aft’guard, we up forward of the foremast, we had a 50 lit. red wine cask from an Alicante ship chandler. We stored that cask as close to the waterline we could under the fo’c’s’le ladder. We gained access to the wine by siphon it out. This wine was sensitive to everything including air so we made air as scares as possible. Well after a good month at sea only our engineer managed to drink the vinegar. Here in Sweden on more modestly sized sail boats we have a problem with a short season with very low temperatures on both ends, and midnight sun and quite warm during the six weeks surrounding July. When the water temp is quite right we store wine as dry as possible in the bilges, bottles and “wine in the box” with the carton box part removed prior castoff. On late or early season voyages cold weather and cold water we store the wine we consume for the next two – three days wrapped in a sleeping bag or similar. NB one need two good days of even temp for the wine to taste as good as it can. Best of Luck http://www.superyachttimes.com/images/4/2214/pic1.jpg- Göran Svalling”

“I like your priorities Liz!

We lived aboard for four years and travel overland often, here are a few ideas:

The PlatyPreserve, transfer the wine from the bottle to this container for durable, compact, short to medium term storage. http://www.cascadedesigns.com/Platypus/Wine-Preservation/PlatyPreserve/product

Padded pack for two bottles – http://www.bottlewise.com/

And then there is my favorite! A 10L French military issue jerrycan marked “VIN” on the side. These are the cans that the French military used to use to dole out the soldiers daily ration of wine. If you live near your favorite winery this would be perfect! http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21917 – Brian McVickers”

“Liz,
On a boat, it is likely to get hot in the salon and cabins. The coolest place is under the salon flooring (bilge) where it is cooler and near water temp. Place the bottles so they don’t block any water flow thru the bilge and separate them with material that does not break down when wet. If the yacht has other storage areas, be certain that bottles are seriously secured since normally the yacht may rock & roll in various weather conditions -Tim Monsul”

“Excellent question! Before opening, we stored red wine in the icebox of each of our different sailboats over the years. After opening, the wine bottle storage was never a problem because the wine was always finished, and the empty bottle secured appropriately. Many sailors on the great lakes would store their wine or beer in the bilge of the boat. especially during long distance races. Jeremy, where does one store red wine on the corporate aircraft that you sell? – Thomas Harvey”
“Well…. wine in my country is a national sport (Spain), and I would say that wine (good wine that is) does not like being shaken about nor does it like warm temperatures. I would not take GOOD wine to a sail. However, if desperate for wine while sailing, carton box wine (…personally, wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole…) could do the trick. In a transatlantic crossing in 1990, we took 200 bottles or cheap white and rose, newspaper wrapped and stored in carton boxes all over. We drank about two a day and the skipper sold the rest when we arrived (at quite a profit I must say….) – Victor Guasch”

“I had an interesting observation a number of years back regarding wine and passage making on sailing yachts. There might even be some money to be made here if we are clever… I was thinking all wines turned to vinegar because we had those expensive charter wines still on board during our post season passage from the Caribbean to the Med and once we would arrive it, the little that was left (ha!) was no good any more.
Not being able to resist the amazing price on those reds out of Provence at the end of the season I decided to stock up anyway for the return to the Caribbean. Lo and behold, by the time we got back the wine was aged perfectly. The moral: Don’t keep the good vintage wines around too long. But if you want to stock up, buy some of the fresh young ones and roll ’em around for about a month or so. Don’t let your friends see the bottle, just tell them it is something really special you brought back. They will be really impressed! 😉 – Ann E McHorney”

Lastly, make note of these six basic rules next time you stock your boat with wine, and enjoy what you drink because life is too short to drink bad wine!

Liz Palmer
Wine Writer

Pol Roger Re-Names Street After Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill once described Pol Roger’s headquarters in Epernay as “The world’s most drinkable address”. Most recently, in homage to the relationship the former British Prime Minister had with the Champagne house, the municipality and Pol Roger worked out to rename the street where Pol Roger is based after the Statesman.

A spokesperson for the Champagne house in Epernay confirmed the street has been renamed with the new address: 1 Rue Winston Churchill.

“We are thrilled,” said Pol Roger U.K. director James Simpson, “to discover that Pol Roger has now moved house but curiously has remained in the same place.”

Churchill’s relationship with Pol Roger commenced around 1945. Shortly after the liberation of Paris, he received an invitation to attend a luncheon given by the British ambassador to France, and at this event he met the charming Odette Pol Roger, who eventually became a life-long friend.

Shortly after the death of Sir Winston Churchill, in 1965, Pol Roger ordered black-bordered labels to be placed on all their labels. In 1984 they also introduced a prestige cuvée named after him and made it in the robust, mature style he liked.

Most recently, Pol Roger’s white foil Brut Réserve Champagne NV was served at the wedding reception of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace.

A Glass of Wine in the Shower? Study Explores New Occasions When Millennials Drink Wine

“I like wine in the shower….. I like to take a bottle of wine to share with friends when we go hiking…. I drink wine while reading my books to relax……When is there an occasion to not drink wine? If I could find a wine that went well with my Cheerio’s in the morning then I would even have it for breakfast!”

These are just a few quotes from Millennials describing new occasions to drink wine. As Millennials have been credited with driving much of the wine consumption growth in the US over the past several years, it is useful for wine marketers to examine the types of occasions in which this generation drinks wine. Therefore a study of 467 Millennials was launched by the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. The results support a recent finding from Wine Opinions showing that nearly 60% of US consumers now drink wine without meals.

The Importance of Wine Occasion

From a wine marketing perspective, “wine occasion,” can be defined as the place and time in which the wine is consumed. Historically, the literature suggests that the main occasions for wine were as a beverage with meals and for religious reasons. Though still used for both of these purposes today, there is less emphasis on the religious component and more on wine in other contexts. Indeed some researchers have found that segmenting by occasion is more relevant for wine positioning and promotion that demographic based segmentation.

Common Wine Occasions

There are a variety of wine occasions in the research literature, so for the purposes of this study, the 6 most common occasions were used (with meals at home, formal restaurant, casual restaurant, and without meals for special occasions, to relax after work, and at a bar). In addition, 9 other occasions which had been cited in previous Millennial research were added (see Figure 1). The 467 Millennials (64 % female; 36% male; 90% from California; 56% core and 44% marginal drinkers) completed an online survey asking them to rate how often they consumed wine in the 15 occasions.

Figure 1: Frequency of Millennial Wine Consumption by Occasion
1 = never; 2 = Rarely; 3= Sometimes; 4 = Often; 5 = Almost Always

The results (Figure 1) show that the two most common situations are Special Occasions and Meals at Formal Restaurants. These are considered traditional wine consuming occasions for all generations and do not reflect any specific differences for Millennials. However, from here the data change with Meals at Friend’s House and Socializing with Friends coming in at third and fourth. These reflect Millennial values of collaboration and work/life balance. It also illustrates that Millennials view wine as more of a social lubricant than perhaps previous generations, and this may be part of the reason they are consuming wine in increased quantity. Another higher scoring occasion, Wine While Cooking, may reflect the increased number of TV cooking shows which have been linked to the growth of wine in the US. The fact that drinking wine At a Bar scored lower may have to do with Millennials reporting, in interviews, that wine at bars is too expensive.

New Occasions Identified by Millennials

The survey included an open-ended question asking Millennials to type in other occasions in which they consume wine. A total of 192 occasions were listed, including the 4 situations described in the quotes in the first paragraph of this article. When analyzed using a thematic coding process, 9 new occasion categories were identified. Table 1 lists these in order of frequency mentioned, with Wine Tastings scoring highest. This is most likely because many California Millennials often plan a wine tasting event or outing as a form of entertainment and a way to socialize. The second highest identified theme was Family Get Togethers, which supports the premise that many Millennials were introduced to wine by their parents. What is especially interesting about these occasions is they do NOT center on meals, but instead are primarily social settings to drink wine.

Table 1: New Occasions Identified By Millennials


• Wine Tastings

• Family Get Togethers

• Special Events (graduation, weddings, etc.)

• Friend’s Night

• Parties

• Theme Nights (movies, games, etc.)

• Wine Education (class, seminar, etc.)

• Date Nights/Romance

• On Vacation

Preferred Style of Wine By Occasion Category

Millennials were also asked to identify their preferred style of wine in meal and non-meal occasions. Figure 2 illustrates the results by frequency, and highlights the fact the sparkling wine and/or Champagne is used frequently by Millennials in non-meal occasions. It also shows the preference for dry red wines in both situations. The types of wine least consumed in both meal and non-meal occasions are dessert wine and wine mixed as a cocktail. Interestingly sweet white (semi-dry riesling, muscat, etc.) and sweeter reds (fruity malbec, zinfandel, etc.) scored higher in non-meal occasions, perhaps explaining some of the rise in popularity of these varietals. If they are consumed without food, then a fruitier, slightly sweeter style is more approachable.

Figure 2: Millennial Preferred Wine Type by Meal and Non-Meal Occasions (Frequency)

Implications for Wine Marketers

In summary this study provides some useful tips for wine marketers. Since the two highest scoring wine situations for Millennials are Special Occasions and with Meals at a Formal Restaurant – the same as previous generations – this suggests that it is still possible to reach multiple generation segments with the same or similar promotions and advertising.

At the same time, the study highlights the fact that Millennials see wine as a beverage to enhance social occasions, such as Meals at Friend’s House and Socializing with Friends. Furthermore, Millennials have expanded the number and types of wine drinking occasions by adding Wine Tastings, Family Get Togethers, Friends Night, Theme Nights and other social situations. These types of occasions are less formal, and show wine holding a more integral part in the American culture than previously recognized. It is possible that through Millennials wine is becoming more a part of everyday life in the US. This is a new aspect that wine marketers can emphasize in advertising and promotions, as well as encourage via social networking media on the Internet. Furthermore, by linking into these motivations of socialization, relaxation, and fun regarding wine, marketers will be able to relate better to Millennial desires.

Liz Thach, MW

Champagne Harvest Is Set for August 20th – Earliest in 189 Years

France’s 2011 Champagne harvest is set to be the earliest in 189 years according to Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne “CIVC”. The CIVC expects picking to begin on August 20th due to an unusually warm April this year.

The local weather reports have also recorded that April and May have been exceptionally sunny with temperatures five degrees above normal, and with one of the driest springs in over half a century.

Will this year’s harvest be exceptional? Time will tell!