Champagne Announces 2016 Harvest Dates

 

The Champagne region has announced the start dates for the 2016 harvest.  Commencing today (September 12) through to September 26h there will be over 120,000 pickers, porters, loaders and press operators descend on the vineyards of Champagne for the harvest – the moment every winegrower has been waiting for.

Each harvest is different in terms of grape ripeness, potential alcohol levels and natural acidity – so picking the right moment to harvest is essential.

A ripening observation network for the accurate timing of harvests.

Twice a week, just as the grapes start to change colour (véraison), samples are taken from some 450 control plots spread throughout the Champagne area. The selected clusters are then checked for rate of colour change; average weight; estimated sugar and total acidity content; also for any incidence of grey rot.

The results are transmitted the same day via internet, so allowing the Comité Champagne to establish reference values for each parcel of vines, together with mean average values (potential alcohol levels and natural acidity) for each department and grape variety.

A data summary is then notified to the technical officers concerned, starting with the regional heads of the AVC (Association Viticole Champenoise). This enables them to attend the pre-harvest meeting with a very clear idea of when picking should start in their respective communes.

It is the pulp that contains the organoleptic compounds and elements required for effervescence (sugar, acidity, etc); and only pulp alone can deliver the desired clear, pale juice, bearing in mind that 3/4 of Champagne wines are made from black grapes. Pulp extraction is specifically designed to avoid colouring or staining the musts when pressing black-skinned grapes.

Hence the need for manual picking, selecting whole, undamaged clusters that must remain that way right up to the point of pressing itself. The clusters are transported to the press house in purpose-made bins with drainage holes that allow any juice to escape, so preventing the berries from macerating in their own juice.

Manual picking remains the tradition in Champagne – the requirement for whole, undamaged grapes is the same today as it was in the 18th Century.

Pickers have roughly a three-week window in which to work – beyond that point the grapes will be past their best. Just to complicate matters, all Champagne grapes reach their peak of ripeness at about the same time.

Some 120,000 pickers work in teams (‘hordons’ in French) of four per hectare, of which nearly 100,000 are given bed and board by the Winegrowers and Champagne Houses.

Harvesting employs:

  • Pickers
  • Porters (of grape bins)
  • Loaders (of bins)
  • Loaders of bins onto trailers
  • Loading bay handlers
  • Drivers
  • Forklift truck operators
  • Press operators
  • Fermenting room operators
  • And Cooks

Maximum yield per hectare

Yield regulation

  • The harvest base yield fixed by the INAO is 10,400 kg/ha, revisable upwards or downwards depending on the quality and quantity of the yield but capped at 15,500 kg/ha for AOC production.
  • The rationale for capping yields lies in the high-density planting system in Champagne, with vines planted very close together (8,000 per hectare) to improve ripening and therefore quality. Limited juice extraction – just 102 litres of must per 160 kg of grapes – is a key part of this policy and brings the final yield to 66 hectolitres per hectare.

The full list of dates can be viewed here www.champagne.fr

Which Airline has the Best Wine? The Results.

Global Traveler, the only AAM-audited magazine for business and luxury travelers, has released their results of its 12th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Competition.

The competition, held May 10, took place at INNSIDE New York Nomad. I was one of the judges who participated in the blind tasting of airlines’ white, red and sparkling wines. Before the tasting, I cleared my mind of bad experiences of on-board wines tasted at 30,000 – 40,000. The other judges hailed from the industry, including sommeliers, wine shop owners and winemakers.

The Process:

Airlines are required to submit five different wines — two red wines, two white wines and one sparkling wine/Champagne — to be eligible for the Best Overall International Business Class Wines on the Wing award or the Best Overall International First Class Wines on the Wing. This year, the overall winner in both categories was Singapore Airlines.

The Results:

In the white wine category, Best International Business Class White Wine was Paulo Laureano Reserva 2014, Alentejo, Portugal, submitted by TAP Portugal. For first class, the winner was Emirates with François Villard Condrieu de Poncins 2014.

The best business-class Champagne was Singapore Airlines’ Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV. The best first-class Champagne was a tie between British Airways’ Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle Grande Cuvée, NV; and Singapore Airlines’ Dom Pérignon 2006.

When it came to red wine, American Airlines reigned supreme in the business-class and first-class category with Monte Zovo Amarone della Valpolicella 2012, Italy, and Domaine de la Présidente, Cairanna 2013, Côtes du Rhône, France, respectively.

For the eighth 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 swept the North American category, taking Best North American Wines on the Wing, and the awards for white, red and sparkling wines.

For the sixth year, Global Traveler awarded the Best Alliance Wines on the Wing. The participating airlines were divided by their airline alliance. The overall points for each airline were tallied and averaged to determine the alliance with the highest total. Congratulations to Star Alliance.

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. Singapore Airlines
  2. Delta Air Lines
  3. All Nippon Airways
  4. Brussels Airlines
  5. Emirates

 

BEST INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS WINES ON THE WING

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. All Nippon Airways
  3. American Airlines
  4. British Airways
  5. Emirates

 

BEST CHAMPAGNE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Delta Air Lines
  3. Emirates
  4. Aer Lingus
  5. All Nippon Airways

 

BEST CHAMPAGNE INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS

  1. British Airways/Singapore Airlines (TIE)
  2. All Nippon Airways
  3. Emirates
  4. American Airlines

 

BEST WHITE WINE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS

  1. TAP Portugal
  2. Fiji Airways
  3. All Nippon Airways
  4. Delta Air Lines
  5. Singapore Airlines

 

BEST WHITE WINE INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS

  1. Emirates
  2. American Airlines
  3. All Nippon Airways
  4. British Airways
  5. Singapore Airlines

 

BEST RED WINE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS

  1. American Airlines
  2. TAP Portugal
  3. Brussels Airlines
  4. Air Canada
  5. Singapore Airlines

 

BEST RED WINE INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS

  1. American Airlines
  2. All Nippon Airways
  3. Emirates
  4. British Airways
  5. Singapore Airlines

 

 

MOËT LAUNCHES ONE-HOUR CHAMPAGNE DELIVERY IN LONDON UK

Unknown-5Moët & Chandon has launched its one-hour delivery service of its “on the rocks” Ice Imperial Champagne in London only – sorry guys and gals!

Londoners can now have a chilled bottle of Moët Ice Impérial or Moët Ice Impérial Rosé delivered to their doorstep within the hour accompanied by two glasses filled with ice.

Intended to “ignite spontaneous celebration this summer”,  you can book the service online choosing the hour and day.

The first rosé Champagne produced with the intention of being served over ice, Moët & Chandon’s Ice Impérial Rosé NV was launched earlier this year to partner with its Ice Impérial Blanc NV, launched in few years ago.

The service costs £80 for a bottle of Moët Ice Impérial and two acrylic white glasses with ice, or £85 for a bottle of Moët Ice Impérial Rosé.

The service is available in select London postcodes (E1, E14, SE1, W1, SW1, WC2, WC1, EC1, EC2, EC3, EC4) from 12pm to 8pm Sunday to Monday, until 1 September.

visit: uk.moet.com

 

 

 

 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_

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