02.04.2006: In the biggest export markets of all - Great Britain - the sales of vintage champagnes rose an impressive 7,3 percent. According to the Champagne Information Bureau it is in the wake of record bonusses in the City district of London. The vintage champagnes all in all account for less than three percent of the overall sales, so prestigious and expensive as they are, they remain a nice for aficionados and show-off.
24.04.2006: One of the biggest - and youngest - champagne groups, Vranken Pommery Monopole, has - with the expression of the management - had a "splendid year" with sales advances in 2005 of 10,1 percent. Mainly due to progress of 11 percent (volumes) in the export markets. The group sells almost half (45 percent) of its products outside France.
25.04.2006: The Norwegians drink more noble grapes. The consumption of both cognac and champagne are on the rise in the rich oil country in the far North. The consumption of cognac has risen 20 percent, while the sales of Champagne prestige cuvées has risen 129 percent.
25.04.2006: For the first time in the 15 year old historiy of the Ruinart UK Sommelier of the year, the contest has been won by a female sommelier. The lucky winner is 27-year old Claire Thevenot of the Hotel du Vin et Bistro in Winchester. She is French of origins, just like the two sommeliers that she left with the 2. and 3. position as she climbed to the top herself. The participants of the contest had to blindtaste wines, give advice on how to match wine with food, find errors in a printed card of wines, give advice on choice of cigars. On top of that the participants were asked to pour the contents of a magnum bottle of Ruinart rosé into 16 glasses. Each glass could only be filled once, and should preferably contain the same amount with as little as possible left in the bottle at the end. A magnum is the equivalent of two ordinary bottles, and thus more heavy, which of course increases the difficulty of the task. If you have ever tried to serve champagne, you will be able to appreciate the masterclass of sommeliers who are able to do this and make a straight "A".
28.04.2006: Veuve Clicquot has named their business woman of the year. This years winner is British Vivienne Cox who has climbed all the way to the very top of British Petroleum, according to her own words without ever bumping her head into the - amongst some other women - famous glass ceiling. On the side she is the mother of two small children, leaves office at five o'clock PM, does not work weekends and does not travel more than five days per month. Maybe the most interesting feature of all: She refuses to identify herself with the favourite notion of woman's glossie's: "superwoman". "This notion makes everybody feel insufficient", she says to daily The Independant. She does admit though that she is a very disciplined person indeed. To younger women - and why not make it for all women? - she says: "There are many ways to obtain succes and they do not all have to be linear." I will try to remember that one...
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