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Letters: Jacquart responds to Fallowfield

Published:  18 January, 2007

I was somewhat confused by Giles Fallowfield's Fizz Fights' article in Harpers (25 November). Allow me to put the record straight concerning Jacquart's strategy.

Since I joined Jacquart & Associs Distribution in mid-2003, my strategy has been to explain to our shareholders and our team that one cannot seriously develop a Champagne brand strategy in the UK without a clear partnership with the off-trade (multiples, chains or independents) and a strong presence in the on-trade and catering business. This is why we produce two different cuve ranges, each adapted in style to the type of consumer in the retail and on-trade channels where the wines are bought. It is also for this reason that we are now working with PLB as Jacquart's agent. PLB has a strong presence in all distribution segments. Also, may I say that I have never commented on the strategy of retailers [like Tesco] getting rid of some lines'.

Alliance Champagne produces 7.5 million to 8 million bottles a year, dedicated by its shareholders to the distribution business that includes the Jacquart brand and the Ritz licence and BOBs. I am also in charge of the sales strategy of these volumes - volumes that increase year on year along with the acreage development of the shareholders. I can confirm that our strategy has never been to decrease our production of BOBs and reserved brands, provided that our production costs are in line with the market requirements.

Since we produce 100% of the wines we sell, it makes sense that our customers (national wholesalers or chains of supermarkets, specialists, liquor stores or restaurants) ask us to supply them with Champagnes of consistent quality, which offer the best possible price-to-quality ratio for their entry-level brands.

Regarding price points of these entry-level products, we all know that retailers are free to determine the positioning of products they sell - even to sell at a loss - and that producers cannot interfere in the definition of retail prices in the United Kingdom, unlike the situation that still exists more or less in France.

It is always interesting to read Harpers' comments and those of the journalists who write for the magazine. I look forward to reading Harpers with as much interest in 2006.

Yours sincerely,

Jean-Marc Pottiez

MD, Jacquart & Associs Distribution

Leading Thinkers

I was fascinated to read the Leading Thinkers Seminar' article (Harpers, 25 November) and in particular by its conclusion that the best hope for the long-term health of the wine industry lies in getting UK consumers excited by wine'. I couldn't agree more! The wine industry gets broken down into three sectors: the consumers, the influencers and the trade. I, along with many other wine educators, classify myself as one of the influencers. I'm out there running my business, The Wine Event, striving to educate, inform and, yes, excite consumers all the time. Excited consumers do trade up, do try new varieties, new countries and new styles, and don't buy exclusively on price points or discounts. We wine educators are supporting and developing that very focused and specific segment upon which the long-term health of the wine industry apparently depends. So how about some support for us? Let's hear it for the wine educators!


Julian Lobley