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Moet launches pop-up Champagne academy in London

Published:  19 February, 2015

Moët & Chandon is launching a pop-up Champagne school on London's Southbank in order to show consumers how the premium French fizz differs from other sparkling wines.

In recent times Champagne has been ousted from the spotlight by its cheaper Italian cousin Prosecco, which has been seeing meteoric sales increases in the past couple of years in the UK. 

The recent full-year figures for 2014 from parent company LVMH showed its Champagne brands grew in volume by 3.8% from 57.4 million bottles in 2013 to 59.6 million bottles in 2014.

But Champagne brands are still looking for ways to highlight their points of difference. Visitors to the Moet academy will learn about the Champagne making process from vine to glass - from the chalk terroir and the main characteristics of the three grape varieties, to the blending of base wines and second fermentation in bottle.

The 90-minute classes will be led by Maser of Wine duo Susie Barrie and Peter Richards who will take ticket-holders on a "multi-sensory journey" recreating a Champagne vineyard to an in-depth tasting. 

A recent IWSR report for Vinexpo said volumes of sparkling wine consumed in the UK have grown from 8.68 million cases in 2008 to 11.23 million last year, and it's forecast to hit 11.56 million this year. However growth is being driven by Prosecco, while Champagne has declined.

 But in the trade, Champagne is still performing well - on-trade supplier Matthew Clark had its best ever December, with overall wine sales up 3% and Champagne up 7% - although Prosecco was up 43% in the same period.

Naked Wines has also been toasting a rise in Champagne sales - since bringing on ex-Ruinart winemaker JP Moulin, its Champagne sales have grown 13%.

Last month news broke that Champagne shipments grew 1% by volume in 2014, with sales expected to exceed 307 million bottles and hit €4.5 billion. This would equate to the region's second best-ever performance, and the Comité Champagne is attributing the success to the "dynamism of export markets".

The Moët Academy will be open at OXO2 on London's Southbank from April 13-24, 2015.Tickets are priced at £40.