09.06.2005: Seven out of 10 french winegrowers voted no to the European constitution on May 29th this year. In southern cities such as Montpellier, Nimes and Marseilles eight of 10 winegrowers dumped the treaty, says numbers from the opinion poll, that Ipsos has collected for Le Figaro. Especially the small vignerons are nervous that more European integration will result in more rules for their business. A majority of the leading winepersonalities in Bordeaux chose to advocate the yes, writes Decanter.com. But the trend in the winebusiness seem to have followed that of the rest of France: Yes from the richer, upper-class elite and no from the rest.
16.06.2005: Reims has a reputation of wealth because of its champagnehouses. But actually the noble bubbles only contribute with a humble percentage of 3.6 of the total basis of taxation of the city, says mayor Jean-Louis Schneiter to the regional paper, l'Union. Amongst the 10 biggest businesses in Reims are Veuve-Clicquot Ponsardin and the glass factory VMC, each with approximately 500 employees.
20.06.2005: It is increasingly popular to buy wine over the internet. The global sales have now turned 360 million euros. One tenth is French wine, amongst it champagne. Of course the price of a bottle of champagne increases considerably when you mail it. But with a purchase of six or 12 bottles you will still get a much cheaper price, than if you buy the bottle in for instance Scandinavia. A winegrower told me recently that she regularly mails champagne to her native Sweden, and she is able to do it for a competetive price. Not that Systembolaget likes it, but that's life...
20.06.2005: A new type of champagne cork was recently presented at Vinexpo in Bordeaux. The French company, Au Liégeuer, has come up with the idea of replacing the traditional cork with a new type, which they have baptized SpoomFizz. The trick is - according to the inventors - that it is easier to control, whether you want to open the bottles with a quiet sigh or a "pop" that makes the bubbles foam in the style of Tour-de-France. Funny, since it - after quite some years of research - never seemed to be a problem to control with traditional corks either. And I am even in the target group of SpoomFizz. Maybe, when the already sparse forces in my arm decrease even more...
24.06.2005: The competition authorities of the EU has permitted the French group Pernod Ricard to take over the British ditto Allied Domecq, who owns amongst others the champagne brand Mumm. Pernod Ricard however must give up some of its distribution agreements, thus securing continued competition, says the office of competition commissioneer Neelie Kroos. An attempt from the American group Constellation Brands to take over Allied Domecq right in front of Pernod Ricard thus did not succeed.
26.06.2005: Be one of the in-crowd and do like Victoria and David Beckham. Englands gossip-couple number one recently spend 20.000 pounds on a bottle of champagne in the vip-hangout Les Caves du Roy in St Tropez. The bottle - a Methuselah which contains the same as eight normal bottles - arrived appropriately on a silver tray with sparklers while the music was reduced. Priceless publicity for the french bubbles that is. Sunday Mirror has the rest of the story.
27.06.2005: One of the grandes marquesmay change hands. Taittinger has contact with banks such as BNP-Paribas and Rothschild to analyze several offers, reports various media. According to the French newspaper Le Figaro the Belgian billionaire, Albert Frere, who owns one fourth of the Taittinger-group, wants to leave the group. The Taittinger-family is one of the last champagne-families that still heads a business empire. On top of the famous champagne it includes one of the best hotels in Paris too. The Hotel du Crillon on the Place de la Concorde. 38 members of the family will share the estimated value of the group - two billion euros - if a sale is eventually carried out. According to the British daily The Independent the expected sale follows a long internal familyfight between members directly involved in the business, and others, who want to get some money for themselves rather than only passively follow the values of the holdingcompany boom.
29.06.2005: An English wine has won the first prize as the best sparkling wine in the world in the 2005 International Wine and Spirit Competion. An English contest, that comprises wine and spirits from all over the world. The RidgeView Merret Bloomsbury 2002 made it to number one amongst sparkling wines from 55 countries. It originates from Sussex in Southern England, and is blended from the traditional champagnegrapes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pínot Meunier. RidgeView has won dozens of prizes all over the world, even a couple in the home country of champagne, France. The English bubbly has not competed against real champagne, that competes in its own class.