What assets are needed to launch a new champagne brand?

What assets are most valuable when launching a new champagne brand?

A large number of people have contacted me recently to express interest in creating their own private champagne brand. Not all of these enquiries will lead to the successful completion of a project, but that’s perfectly normal because of the diverse nature of the people concerned and of their visions of what they want to achieve and why.

To assist anyone who is interested, in principle, in creating a private champagne brand here are a few key assets you will need and which you should consider before you go any further.

They relate specifically to champagne but I believe they apply to the creation and launch of just about any new product, the only exception being the creation of a product that does not have a commercial purpose and is meant,instead, for personal enjoyment – which, incidentally, is a perfectly legitimate and viable approach.

Here’s my list – not necessarily in order of importance

Off The Beaten Track In Champagne-Part 1

Tasting-glasses300Champagne – just the sound of the world has a sort of magical attraction conjuring up, as it does, images of celebration, luxury and indulgence. It’s not surprising therefore that hundreds of thousands of visitors make their way to the Champagne vineyards every year.

With all these people visiting you might think that it’s hard to get away from the crowds, but believe it or not there are nearly 5,000 champagne makers in total and plenty of opportunities to get off the beaten track and discover the people, the places and of course the wines that make Champagne so special. It’s in these little backwaters amongst the small brands who names you may have never heard of that you’ll find the true diversity of champagne that will change your perception of champagne for ever.

Dressed In Lights in Champagne

Habits de Lumiere225December may not be the time of year that first springs to your mind for a visit to Champagne, but in fact there are several good reasons to do just that.

Apart from the obvious attractions of champagne tasting there’s a Christmas market in Reims which is a really stylish city – at least the centre of it – with lots of bars, restaurants and shops to wonder around and spend time in.

However for me the big attraction is the Habits de Lumières festival in the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay. The closest translation I can think of for this is Dressed In Lights and indeed the many champagne houses up and down the famous avenue are decked in lights creating a sort of Christmas Wonderland for adults in this most elegant of streets.

The festival has been going some 10 years now and under the guidance of a very dynamic local Tourist Office the celebrations are really impressive now.

First off is a spectacular parade up and down the avenue. This year the theme is PEARL and it kicks off at 19.15 on Friday 13th although I’d advise you to get there no later than 18.30

Every time I have been the costumes and the creativity of the actors taking part seems to get better and better and what with the musicians, the light show, the street artists of all types and the general ambiance, it’s a fabulous spectacle crowned with a superb firework display at the end

If that wasn’t enough, most of the champagne houses such as Moët & Chandon, Perrier-Jouët and many others open up to serve champagne and food till the early hours so it really is an event to put in your diary. Plus there are lots of other activities throughout the weekend

You can find more details and see some terrific pictures on the official web site here

Mediaeval Fêtes Johaniques in Reims

FetesJohaniques2013225Reims was really lively last weekend.

The 1st & 2nd June marked the Fêtes Johaniques: a mediaeval pageant to celebrate the city's connections with Joan of Arc, or Jeanne d'Arc to give her her french name.

It's one of the largest historical festivals in France and it was a lot of fun, plus, at long last, the sun was out.

Take a look at the video below and you'll see what it was all about.



The End Of A Reims Institution

Le-Boulingrin-for-MMICIf you’ve ever been to Reims and not eaten in Le Boulingrin, you’ve missed out on a treat, and now the bistro is closed, but all is not lost as you’ll discover in this article.

Boulingrin is the name given to a small area of the city (a quartier as they would call it here) about 5 minutes’ walk or so out of the centre near where the fruit wholesale market hall stands.

The hall itself is a listed building and is quite a landmark. It was re-opened last September after many years standing empty and a major refurbishment. You can see the improvement from the The-Old-Market-For-MMICbefore and after pictures below.

When you’re next in Reims the market  is well worth a visit to buy wonderful cheeses, cold meats and other indulgences.

 I’ve never really discovered where the name Boulingrin comes from but the story I like best is that it is a corruption of the English ‘bowling green’, a name given to the area back in the first World War by English speaking soldiers billeted here who used the area for recreation.



Anyway, I digress. Back to the food and drink.

The bistro Boulingrin was a favourite amongst tourist and locals alike. It was here that many prominent figures in the champagne industry would have their business lunches and no doubt swap notes and work out their strategy.

It wasn’t so much the excellence of the food that accounted for the success of Le Boulingrin, but rather the atmosphere and décor.

It was a typical French bistro: a long brass counter near the entrance, lots of 1920s and 1930s style fittings, some huge paintings and lots of tables packed into little cubicle-type dining areas and it was always lively.

New-Boulingrin-for-MMICUnfortunately it closed a few weeks ago – landlord and restaurant owner unable to agree on the terms of a new lease (groan)- but the good news is that it is opening again in a similar style of building, just 20 metres away across the street (hurrah).

With a bit of luck we’ll hardly notice the difference and you’ll have another, or a first, chance to visit Le Boulingrin.