Champagne Bureau now allows itself to mix in with all the other Sparkling Wines at The London Wine Fair

29th January 2018

civc at the london wine fair

Though I greatly appreciate and admire Champagne and have fallen in love many times with certain labels and the countless beauty spots from the region, I have always said it is just another wine and to be specific, a sparkling wine. Though this might not be what the Comité Champagne saw themselves as, which would be the reason for not so much representation for them on our website, they did not want to have their Champagne mixed in with all the other ‘sparkling wines‘ – “We can not share Champagne updates with you as you also show Prosecco, English Fizz etc… ” – Though you go in to the local supermarket I would say and usually the bubbly is all in one section?

Anyway, now it looks like the yearly Comité Champagne tasting, which when I was first invited back in 2015 took place at Whitehall’s Banqueting House and more recently at Westminster’s One Great George Street, will now install itself with the London Wine Fair that will take place in May. Françoise Peretti is stated to have said that the change of location is more a decision towards maximising crowds attending (though people attending on the day will be for varied wine reasons, not target to Champagne) and nothing to do with reduced spending / efforts. The show appears to be heading to a new style of audience and be embracing a lot more current ways to communicate the values of Champagne ie live streaming on the day – This can only be a good thing.

Comité Champagne tasting March 2015 – Whitehall’s Banqueting House

It was only last year that the annual tasting was put on at very last minute following a ‘U turn’ decision which had seen it being abandoned – The industry was not happy and for whatever reason it was put back on, the crowds were not as vast and complaints were made towards the standard of venue such as strong food / coffee smells interfering with wine professionals tasting the wines on show.

Comité Champagne tasting 2016 – Westminster’s One Great George Street

Personally I enjoy the Comite Champagne annual tastings, a chance to see all the big suppliers in one room, a place to speak to many wine makers and grab good quality content and photographs to promote the Champagne on show and to share with our own audiences – We do not sell wines at Glass of Bubbly as many will know, we just want to promote them. London Wine Fair still remains the biggest wine event in the UK and one which I attend with always positive anticipation (though never with enough time on my hands to go through all the wines I have ticked off). Maybe the Comité Champagne positioning themselves in the London Wine Fair is a good idea…

Personally I feel a dedicated show with a dedicated target audience works much better and especially for the exhibitors who are looking to gain the best press exposure and the best contacts for future sales. A prime and prestigious location for Champagne tastings also goes hand in hand and previous years saw some wonderful settings for their yearly tasting, though Olympia is a fine location in-deed (just not always the easiest to get to by underground) – Will the Comité Champagne tasting 2018 be slightly diluted this year? We were recently approached with the idea to combine our tasting with another wine tasting and though very pleased to know that we are seen to merit such an approach from another organisation, it was politely declined with understanding due to us not wanting to come away from being known as a Champagne & Sparkling Wine trade and press tasting only – Our next tasting bytheway is on April 30th at Le Meridien Piccadilly Hotel.

Christopher Walkey

Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.