If God created woman, as is claimed in the title of the classic French film starring Brigitte Bardot and directed by Roger Vadim, champagne, for its part, created Zero Pesticides. The remarkable milestone for which I will remember 2018 as far as the world of wine is concerned is this: you don’t need to be organic or even biodynamic to be zero pesticide. At least that’s what Champagne Henri Giraud has proved. Being the smallest of the champagne houses, its name possibly doesn’t ring a bell. As Robert Parker wrote a few years ago: “This may be the finest champagne house virtually no one has ever heard of.” Since then, word of mouth has been working steadily away. Just like the Romanée Conti estate or the wines of Egon Muller, its MV and ARGONNE vintages (around €400 a bottle) are now sought after the world over – Asia swallows up a substantial share of its production. And its commitment in the form of the #ExperienceHenriGiraud and Zero Pesticide is making it the darling of a young clientele, the 20-30 year age group.
As I mention in the new VitaBella Luxury & Lifestyle report entitled “Be committed! A new intelligence at the very heart of labels” to be released in January 2019, commitment – whether for a champagne house, a brand of cosmetics or anything else – is very much in fashion these days. It is a fundamental element which luxury brands need to incorporate or risk being dropped by new consumers. In the world of wine, champagne seems to have got the message before many others given the recent mention of #1stCarbonNeutralChampagne appearing in Drappier House publicity. In the luxury world, commitment is a strong trend and January 2019 will see the launch of a new, very ‘Cosm-Ethic’ skin care label in the My Clarins range as well as British fashion designer, Stella McCartney and her commitment to sustainable development, Dior and its support for feminist awareness (We Should all be Feminists) and Mac – an Estée Lauder Group label – fighting for the Transgender cause. These are just a few examples out of so many…
This commitment (a very ‘consumer centric’ approach) is a response to an abundantly clear demand from the “third type of consumer”. Luxury is going through a key moment and needs to find new drivers of desirability, including innovation. As well as co-creation and personalisation which they love, new consumers are highly sensitive to messages carried by brands on topics as diverse as: 1) Respecting other humans and nature 2) Saving resources 3) Passing on to future generations. At a time when transparency is becoming more important than ethics, the wine world needs to take a fresh look at its communication through this new prism. In plain language: in 2019 you need to be committed!
(You can reach Guillaume Jourdan via LinkedIn)