Australians warm to vintage Champagne
By James Atkinson
Australian consumers are leading the world in their embrace of more sophisticated styles of Champagne, the region's producers have told TheShout.
According to the Comité Champagne, while non-vintage Champagne still dominates exports to Australia, exports of vintage Champagne grew by an unprecedented margin last year.
With 233,000 bottles in 2012, exports of vintage Champagne were up by 79 per cent on 2011. They now represent 4.3 per cent of shipments to Australia and $5.7 million in value terms, five per cent of Champagne's total value in this market.
Champagne Gosset president Jean-Pierre Cointreau
Ruinart chef de cave Frederic Panaiotis, a frequent traveller to Australia in his current role and formerly at Veuve Clicquot, told TheShout he believes Australia is now one of the world's most advanced markets for Champagne, thanks to such initiatives as the Vin de Champagne Awards.
"Australian people are very receptive to vintage Champagne, which very few markets understand," he says.
"Since Ruinart is more like a Champagne for wine lovers, it fits the bill perfectly – we see a lot of potential in Australia."
Champagne Gosset president Jean-Pierre Cointreau and international director Philippe Manfredini told TheShout Australia is one of the Gosset brand's key markets, off the back of a successful distribution deal with Sydney-based importers Vintage and Vine.
"For us it's a very good market in that people are not only interested in the entry level Bruts – they are really looking for vintages as well," Manfredini agreed.
Speaking upon the launch of G.H. Mumm's special vintage release, the 2006 Millesime, chef de cave Didier Mariotti recent revealed that Australia had become the brand's number one export market.
L-R: Champagne Cattier commercial director Philippe Bienvenu and president Jean-Jacques Cattier
And Champagne Cattier commercial director Philippe Bienvenu told TheShout Australia has also been Cattier's biggest export market for the last five years.
He attributes this to the success of a long-running exclusive partnership first with retailer Theo's, and now with Coles Liquor, which acquired the Theo's brand in 2002.