High Tea at The Orangery Restaurant – Kensington Palace

High Tea at The Orangery Restaurant – Kensington Palace – Liz Palmer

This traditional afternoon tea is surrounded by over 300 years of royal history.

A few weeks ago, I spent the afternoon with my daughter and daughter-in-law devouring a lovely selection of finger sandwiches, tea cakes, scones, jam and clotted cream.  We chose the ever-popular Earl Grey Blue Flower tea and a flute of champagne to sip while overlooking the manicured gardens at Kensington Palace.

We all had a taste of what it’s like to be a royal!  Great experience and highly recommend it.

The History of Afternoon Tea

Prior to the introduction of high tea into Britain, the English had two main meals: breakfast and dinner. By the middle of the 18th century, dinner for the upper and middle classes had shifted from noon to an evening meal served at a fashionably late hour. This did not suit the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Stanhope (1783-1857). She seemed to suffer from ‘a sinking feeling’ at about four o’clock in the afternoon. At first, the Duchess had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few bread stuffs but then began inviting friends to join her at five o’clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets and, of course, tea. The summer practice proved so popular that the Duchess continued it when she returned to London and high tea was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.

Champagne Sales 2018: Record High of €4.9 billion

Total volume of Champagne shipments declined by 1.8% in 2018 to 301.9 million bottles, with a total turnover reaching €4.9 billion – 0.3% higher than in 2017.

As reported by the Comité Champagne at Prowein today, exports of Champagne are on an upward trajectory, rising by 0.6% in volume and 1.8% in revenue.

In Champagne’s more traditional markets of France and the UK, which together account for 60% of total sales, volumes dropped by around 4% each, while by value turnover slipped by around 2% in both markets.

The UK market, which remains the largest export market by volume, imported 26.7m bottles in 2018, a decline of 3.6%, while value reached €406.2m, a drop of 2.2% – making it the second biggest export market by value after the USA.

However, demand is most dynamic beyond the European Union. The USA, which remains the biggest export market by value and second biggest by volume, saw exports rise by 2.7% to 23.7 million bottles. To Japan, exports increased by 5.5% to 13.6 million bottles, while exports to the “Chinese triangle” (mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) increased by 9.1% to 4.7 million bottles.

Following very significant growth over the past decade (+134%), Australia saw imports of Champagne dip slightly, by 1.8%, to 8.4m bottles, which was attributed to a “less favourable exchange rate”.

Other countries are emerging stronger for Champagne, including Canada which increased its imports by 4.8% to 2.3 million bottles, Mexico by 4.3% to 1.7m bottles, and South Africa, where sales topped the million-bottle mark for the very first time, recording growth of 38.4% by volume and by 43.4% by value – the highest increase of any market on both counts.

“The 2018 results validate the value creation strategy of the Champagne region, based on a continual pursuit of exceptional quality and rigorous environmental targets,” the Comité Champagne said. “From an agronomic point of view, 2018 was an unprecedented year with a bumper harvest of outstanding quality, boding extremely well for the future Champagne cuvées.”

Champagne shipments* over the past 10 years:

2018: 301.9m

2017: 307.3m

2016: 306.1m

2015: 313m

2014: 307m

2013: 305m

2012: 309m

2011: 323m

2010: 319m

2009: 293m

Source:  Drinks Business and Just Drinks

The 2018 Cellars in the Sky Awards

The Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky 2018 Awards, which recognize the best business and first-class wines served by airlines worldwide for 2018, were presented on Monday, February 18 at The Langham, London, by Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge.

Qantas was the evening’s biggest winner, taking the coveted Gold Medal for Best Overall Cellar, as well as the top spots in the Best First-Class White, Best First Class Sparkling (jointly with Air France and Cathay Pacific), Best First-Class Cellar, Best-Presented First-Class Wine List, and Best Business Class Fortified / Dessert Wine categories.

Cathay Pacific won two Gold Medals for Best First Class Sparkling (jointly with Air France and Qantas) and Best Business Class Red, while Malaysia Airlines took the top spot in the Best First-Class Red category, ANA won the award for Best First Class Fortified / Dessert Wine, and Qatar Airways took the top spot in the Best Business Class Sparkling category.
Oneworld was named Best Airline Alliance, while one of its member carriers British Airways took the Gold Medal for Best Business Class Cellar.

And a special note to US low-cost carrier Jetblue, which won a Gold Medal in the Cellars in the Sky competition for the first time, taking the top spot in the Best Business Class White category.

Business Traveller contacted airlines in summer 2018, and 33 entered.
Blind tastings of 240 bottles took place at London’s Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, in December, with the four judges independently scoring the wines over the course of two days.

Participating airlines were: Aegean, Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, Aircalin, Air Canada, Air France, Air Italy, Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, American Airlines, All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cathay Dragon, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, EVA Air, Finnair, Garuda Indonesia, Iberia, Icelandair, Japan Airlines, Jet Blue, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, and Virgin Atlantic.

LIST OF WINNERS AND SHORTLISTED AIRLINES

FIRST CLASS
BEST FIRST-CLASS RED

• Gold Medal: Malaysia Airlines – Joseph Drouhin Côte de Beaune 2015, Burgundy, France

• Silver Medal: American Airlines – Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2016, Sonoma County, US

• Bronze Medal (joint): ANA – Château Léoville Barton 2012, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France; Qatar Airways – Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 2009, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France

BEST FIRST-CLASS WHITE

• Gold Medal: Qantas – Penfolds Reserve Bin 15A Chardonnay 2015, Adelaide Hills, Australia

• Silver Medal: Qantas – Flametree SRS Wallcliffe Chardonnay 2016, Margaret River, Australia

• Bronze Medal (joint): Cathay Dragon – Lamblin and Fils Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaumes, 2016, France; Malaysia Airlines – Palliser Estate Chardonnay 2016, Martinborough, New Zealand

BEST FIRST-CLASS SPARKLING

• Gold Medal (joint): Air France, Cathay Pacific, Qantas –Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006, Franc

• Silver Medal (joint): ANA, Qatar Airways – Champagne Krug 2004, France; Singapore Airlines – Dom Pérignon 2006, Champagne, France

• Bronze Medal: Oman Air –Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal, Brut, 2009, France

BEST FIRST-CLASS FORTIFIED/DESSERT WINE

• Gold Medal: ANA – Barbeito Madeira Malvasia 20 year old, Portugal

• Silver Medal: Cathay Pacific – Warre’s Otima Single Year Tawny Colheita Port 2006, Portugal

• Bronze Medal: Qantas – Morris of Rutherglen Wines Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat, Australia

BEST-PRESENTED FIRST-CLASS WINE LIST

• Gold Medal: Qantas
• Highly Commended: ANA

BEST FIRST-CLASS CELLAR

• Gold Medal: Qantas
• Silver Medal: ANA
• Bronze Medal: Cathay Pacific

BUSINESS CLASS
BEST BUSINESS CLASS RED

• Gold Medal: Cathay Pacific – Elderton Shiraz 2015, Barossa Valley, Australia

• Silver Medal: Air New Zealand – Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2014, Central Otago, New Zealand

• Bronze Medal: Air Italy – Olianas Perdixi 2016, Gergei, Sardinia, Italy

BEST BUSINESS CLASS WHITE

• Gold Medal: Jetblue – Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 2015, California, US

• Silver Medal: Aer Lingus – De Bortoli La Bohème Act One Riesling, 2016, Yarra Valley, Australia

• Bronze Medal: Oman Air – Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Montagu 2016, France

BEST BUSINESS CLASS SPARKLING

• Gold Medal: Qatar Airways – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs 2006, France

• Silver Medal: EVA Air – Delamotte Blanc de Blancs 2007, Champagne, France

• Bronze Medal: Malaysia Airlines – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs 2007, France

BEST BUSINESS CLASS FORTIFIED/ DESSERT WINE

• Gold Medal: Qantas – Baileys of Glenrowan Founder Series Classic Muscat, Victoria, Australia

• Silver Medal: Air New Zealand – Forrest Botrytised Riesling 2016, Wairau Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand

• Bronze Medal (joint): Oman Air – Château Guiraud 1er Grand Cru Classé
en 1855, 2014, Sauternes-Barsac, France; Aeroflot – Grahams 10-Year-Old Tawny Port, NV, Porto Duro, Portugal

BEST BUSINESS CLASS CELLAR

• Gold Medal: British Airways
• Silver Medal: Qatar Airways
• Bronze Medal: Jetblue

BEST-PRESENTED BUSINESS CLASS WINE LIST

• Gold Medal: EVA Air

OVERALL AWARDS
BEST AIRLINE ALLIANCE

• Oneworld

BEST OVERALL CELLAR

• Gold Medal: Qantas
• Silver Medal: Cathay Pacific
• Bronze Medal: ANA, Qatar Airways
• Highly Commended: American Airlines

Champagne exports overtake domestic consumption in 2018

Estimated figures for total shipments during 2018 show that more Champagne was consumed in foreign markets than France for the first time in over 50 years.

The two presidents of the Comité Champagne, Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillère announced last week that declining shipments in mature European markets – especially France – and growth in countries such as Australia, US and Japan, had affected the balance of global Champagne consumption.

Most notably, it had tipped the scales in favour of exports, with, from this year, more Champagne shipped to countries outside the domestic market than were sent to the trade in France.

Because, according to Barillère, France had consumed more Champagne than the rest of the world combined since the middle of the last century, this recent development was a major milestone.

“Exports have overtaken France for the first time,” he said, before adding, “Well, since the early part of last century – when Champagne was mostly exported, and not consumed very widely in France,” he stated.

“It was in the 1920s that the French market for Champagne developed, and grew and grew, and from the start of the 60s France became the largest market in the world for Champagne,” he continued.

This prompted Toubart to add, “So, it is the first time in the modern history of Champagne that exports have been bigger than France.”

Domestic sales for Champagne have also been on an almost steady decline since a peak in 2007, when France consumed as much as 188m bottles of the fizz, compared to 150m by the rest of the world. Driving the growth in exports for Champagne have been markets outside Europe, in particular, the US, Japan and Australia, although increasing sales in a range of smaller emerging markets have also contributed.

Indeed, it is an evolution that proves the increasingly global nature of Champagne consumption, making, as reported last year, Champagne sales “more balanced” than ever before, with 30 markets now consuming over 0.5m bottles annually.

Looking ahead, Barillère expects the spread of Champagne consumption to become even more evenly split between the major areas of the world.

“We saw last year that exports of Champagne to Europe were overtaken by those to ‘the rest of the world’, and now we see that total exports are now bigger than the French market,” he began.

“If this trend continues, then in 10-20 year’s Champagne will be one-third France, one-third Europe, and one-third the rest of the world, or it could be higher], depending on where there is wealth development,” he added.

Toubart said that markets outside Europe were growing because the houses had redirected their marketing investments from France to US and Asian markets.

“The French market is decreasing, and so Champagne houses have invested a lot of money in new countries,” he commented.

Barillère explained, “The maisons have focused their marketing activities on countries where there is growth in GDP, and population development, and where the level of wine consumption is growing – it’s why, for example, we have invested in the US.”

The French market for Champagne has been declining for two main reasons.

Firstly, the sales of grower Champagnes direct to consumers in France has diminished, and secondly, the number of promotions on entry-level Champagnes in French supermarkets have fallen, in line with a reputed fatigue among domestic consumers for the retail technique.

While Champagne is seeing shipments decline for inexpensive Champagne in mature markets, the premium branded sector is doing well, both in Europe, but, as noted above, particularly in the US, Japan and Australia.

As a result, Barillère said that turnover for Champagne in 2018 was “stable”, and may even have increased to a level slightly above last year, which was a new record for Champagne.

In other words, the region may have lost more than 5m bottles in shipments for 2018, but the past year could represent the largest ever turnover for Champagne, with the higher revenue accounted for by sales of more branded bottles, and an increased demand for pricier cuvées, especially from consumers in countries outside Europe.

Source: Drinks Business

Canadian Rapper Drake launches Champagne range called “Mod Sélection”

Canadian rapper Drake has expanded his drinks empire, once again teaming up with American drinks entrepreneur Brent Hocking to launch a Champagne range called Mod Sélection.

Described as “the purest expression of balance and terroir produced in champagne today,” the House of Mod Sélection dates back to 1892 and has produced Champagne for over five generations in the Vallée de la Marne.

According to Mod Sélection: “The house practices minimal interventional throughout harvest, press, and production, ensuring the purest display of balance and terroir in every cuvée. Only grapes demonstrating optimal levels of sugar, acidity, and maturity are selected for press.

“The most delicate extraction and juice selection, meticulous settling, natural clarification, and rigorous control of fermentations are carried out with exacting precision to preserve the balance, purity and finesse unique to Mod Sélection house style and production.”

In the bottles in Mod Sélection range include Mod Réserve Champagne (US$300) and a Mod Rosé Champagne (US$400) that are available to pre-order now in 750ml bottles, with magnums and jeroboams in the works. The metallic brown bottle is adorned with handcrafted delicate flowers, and each individual bottle is unique in its design details.

In a promotional video to announce the launch, Drake said: “The product is great, the presentation is great, and hopefully the representation is great as well. We’ll enjoy this run. It should be a long one and a strong one. I think the full package is there.”

Drake and Hocking first worked together back in 2016 when they launched Virginia Black Whiskey. Last year, they offered an IPO for the whiskey, hoping to raise $30 million to fund domestic and international expansion, sales and marketing, and working capital.

Website:

Social
#BLESSTHISHOUSE
@MODSELECTIONCHAMPAGNE

Source: Drinks Business