Champagne enjoyment of the highest level
BY SABINE FUSS
(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 1 2019)
Nicolas Feuillatte conveys with incomparable playfulness the lightness of being that is inherent to its champagne as well as the basic philosophy that true luxury is all about emotion and pleasure. The enchantingly elegant design and playful elements – such as the new augmented reality app that allows the owner of a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte to also visually enter its world – do the rest in order to give the noble beverage a very special place in which people can enjoy this pleasure with all their senses.
When Henri Macquart founded the Centre Vinicole de la Champagne at the end of the seventies, he had the vision of uniting the growers of Champagne in a trade union to ensure the sale of grapes through joint storage and mutual support. In 1986, Nicolas Feuillatte and the Centre Vinicole joined forces with the goal of establishing the Nicolas Feuillatte brand worldwide. Today, more than 4,500 growers belong to the largest growers’ collective of Champagne, which opens up countless possibilities to them. The different compositions of the soils also add to the variety of nuances that make these champagnes so unique. The close relationship between the growers and the Centre Vinicole also promotes the common and sustainable development of viticulture, modernisation of vineyards, of soil analyses and of technical training. Christophe Juarez has been Managing Director of the Centre Vinicole de la Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte since 2017 and told us about the specifics of his work.
Before joining Nicolas Feuillatte, you worked for Cartier and Chanel in the fragrance industry, among others. To what extent was this different from your current field of work?
In the French creative environment, designers are the key to success, but they are not the only factor. It takes a lot of technical know-how and partners who have the ability to turn their creations creations into reality. The same goes for champagne, of course. A crucial factor, however, is the ability to set up your own distribution networks, which is a very difficult task for a wine producer. Another key difference is the development timeframe. Wines in particular are largely related to nature, and each new concept or each composition requires much more time to implement. The price for entering this market doesn’t lie in financial resources, but in patience; the patience to achieve a return on investment in the long term.
What experiences from these two areas have helped you the most and why?
The international environment is essential when you are at the wheel of a luxury goods company. Another important factor is the 30 years of intensive travel experience I have gained through my career. There is always something to learn from other cultures. Don’t forget that we don’t just sell consumer goods. Wines, fragrances and fashion are luxury items. Competition is high and complex, and market share is essential in various distribution networks.
You subsequently moved into the wine and champagne industry. How did this come about?
Champagne is the perfect combination of branding and marketing management on the one hand, and of growing region and winemaking tradition on the other.
What fascinates you most about this area?
The men and women are so deeply involved in their work. They all share the same passion for their product and that’s exactly what I love!
What do you think distinguishes the Nicolas Feuillatte brand from others?
Nicolas Feuillatte is the only brand that addressed a very strategic point from the start: “Create a kind of champagne that the market and consumers demand”.
You have released a limited edition in time for spring. Where does your inspiration for new varieties come from?
We were in Japan last year and we visited the Chinzanso garden with its blossoming cherry trees. There, we decided that this would be a fantastic topic suitable for Valentine’s Day, spring, Mother’s Day and, more generally, for all romantic experiences.
Please describe the entire development process of a new product.
In order to be able to market a new product correctly, you need to know how consumer trends develop and how to serve them. This is especially important for luxury goods, for which the core goal changes from generation to generation. Wines are especially sensitive to new trends and lifestyles. For this reason, Nicolas Feuillatte works in collaboration with people from the worlds of gastronomy and enjoyment such as barkeepers, mixologists or wine experts.
How would you describe the typical champagne drinker?
I think everyone has experienced the special pleasure of champagne once in their lives. Hardly any other drink embodies lifestyle and art de vivre worldwide as much as champagne. And we want Nicolas Feuillatte to become a pleasure that creates magic moments for everyone.
How and where do you prefer to enjoy champagne?
Saturday lunchtime with my wife. That is the perfect moment for me!
Which future projects of Nicolas Feuillatte can we look forward to?
We are particularly looking forward to the introduction of our new wine, Terroir Premier Cru, a tribute to our hardworking wine growers. A champagne that symbolises the French art de vivre and good taste. We will also reopen the newly designed Nicolas Feuillatte visitor centre located in the heart of the vineyards belonging to the world cultural heritage.
Christophe Juarez has been Managing Director of the Centre Vinicole de la Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte since 2017. He previously held various positions at Chanel, Cartier and L’Oréal. Product development in the luxury segment in various markets has always been his focus.
Picture credit © Masaaki Komori/Unsplash