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National Champagne Week aiming to improve Champagne's approachability

Published:  22 September, 2016

National Champagne Week returns for the fourth time next month, aiming to bring the ever popular French fizz to a new audience.

National Champagne Week returns for the sixth time next month, aiming to bring the ever popular French fizz to a new audience.

The weeklong series of events is run by high-end hospitality group Searcys, which owns four Champagne bars in London and one in Birmingham.

It was started six years ago by the group in order to make Champagne more approachable - and to show that Champagne can "do more than just brut".

"Champagne can be drunk anywhere any time," Joel Claustre, Champagne expert at Searcys, insists.

"We also want to show off the range of styles, from dry to super dry to sweet."

Claustre has seen a rise in demand of the low in sugar, extra dry style, nicknamed "skinny Champagne" and also demi-sec (half dry).

"Blanc de Blancs, which is Champagne made purely from Chardonnay, is also becoming more popular. There's more demand because people know Chardonnay and they know what to expect."

Claustre's aim is to make Champagne as approachable as Prosecco - and believes this can be achieved despite the differences between the two.

Although Champagne is still more widely drunk in the UK than English sparkling wine, Claustre doesn't underestimate the positive impact English winemakers are having on the sparkling wine category as a whole.

He said: "The English are making great sparkling wine, which is made in the same traditional method as Champagne. English wine hasn't impacted on sales of Champagne in the UK, not yet, because people know about Champagne.

"But it's promoting the sparkling category in a good way. Winemakers in Champagne are completely embracing that other areas are making similar products."

The UK has been integral to Champagne's success internationally.

British consumers' love of the brut style helped to popularise Champagne on the world stage and they are staying true to their love of the drink - consuming the most Champagne outside of France.

On average, we drink 40 million bottles a year - twice as much as the US.

Searcys is due to launch more English sparkling wines in their bars over the coming months.

National Champagne Week runs from October 1 to 7 across London, Birmingham and Bath.