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PLB adds six Champagne houses to its portfolio

Published:  20 May, 2012

PLB has added six family Champagne houses to its portfolio in order to cater to all channels of the market.

PLB has added six family Champagne houses to its portfolio in order to cater to all channels of the market.


Under the label Grandes Familles Champenoises, the firm has added Cattier, Dampierre, Edouard Brun, Legras & Haas, Lamotte and Malard, all of which have Premiers and Grands Crus Champagnes. The Champagnes range in retail price from £20 to £100.


Speaking exclusiuvely to Harpers, PLB's managing director Peter Darbyshire said there had been a "gap" in the portfolio. "We didn't have a Champagne that we could offer all the channels we currently service," he said. Despite a long relationship with Jacquart, Darbyshire said it needed to strengthen its position in the on-trade.


The idea of putting six houses together is to offer a range of styles at the top end of the market.


Adam Wyartt, PLB's head of strategy and innovation, said that these are "houses of incredibly different sizes - some have cavernous cellars, some don't".


Darbyshire said that for sommeliers and independents, the range offers something different. "They don't want just the Grandes Marques, if you can offer them Premiers or Grands Crus from the family vineyards.


Darbyshire said that "coincidentally" the move echoed the fashion for grower Champagnes, adding that it had already begun work when this trend emerged.


Wyartt said the range allowed PLB to "try to take to market an appreciation and understanding of the typicity of different villages" in the Champagne region.


Wyartt added that since other family growers had heard of PLB's move they were trying to get involved. But, said Wyartt, "it's a closed shop now", adding that it believes the current offering caters for all the demands of the UK market.


Darbyshire said the alliance of Champagne families with the family-owned PLB firm was "very fitting", adding that the six houses together attain a "certain critical mass".


Wyartt said PLB's family ownership allowed it to "plough our own furrow without having to answer to shareholders or venture capitalists".