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Vin de Napkin - Champagne

Alice Feiring had a nice article in the Wall Street Journal magazine over the weekend. This isn’t a surprise as just about everything she writes is nicely wrought, researched and presented in her unmistakable voice.

The article paints a grim picture for Champagne in the short-term, certainly.

However, as Alice points out, the problem with Champagne sales in the U.S. isn’t necessarily an economic issue, it’s a marketing issue.  Champagne is burned into the retina of U.S. consumers minds eye as an infrequent special occasion wine and an uber-luxury.  Not a good combination, particularly when an off-dry Prosecco can be had for $15.  Marketing isn’t an issue that will be solved in more flush economic times.



Posted in, The Week in Wine. Permalink | Comments (6) |


On 09/15, Francesco Vigorito wrote:

I guess you can say marketing is the problem, but what I think most people don’t realize is the compatibility of champagne with food.  When people see that Champagne or any sparkling wine for that matter are excellent food drinks, then we will see sales rise.

On 09/15, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

I had the great mixed fortune of picking grapes in Champagne in 1995 and many of my naive preconceptions were shattered. Instead of lovely, ripe clean bunches almost everyone was infested with a high degree of blue mould, rot in other words. I objected to my foreman on principle and he insisted, no, no it’s fine, throw it in the bin…seeing masses of such rotten bunches go into the press was extremely disheartening and yet ‘95 has a pretty good reputation…Go figure!

The Champenois are trying to steer us away from “strictly celebration/special event wine” to thinking it can be enjoyed throughout a meal…maybe if you have a specially prepared menu but trying to pair bubbly with standard fare that I enjoy, like lamb or pasta with spicy Italian sausage, would be an expensive farce. 

Spanish Cava IMHO is THE great bargain in the wine world, better and more complex than most any Prosecco. Its price/quality ratio makes Champagne look like a very bad deal in comparison. The short and long term outlook for Champagne is bleak at best. The arrogance and snobbery associated with Champagne is an ongoing nightmare, best exemplified by a visit to Taittinger - where not only did the visitors pay for the privilege, they weren’t even offered a sample! Enough said!

On 09/15, Dylan wrote:

Interesting. And I thought discussions about wine snobs were bad, it seems the prestige and celebratory nature of champagne only adds to the level of snobbery associated with the category.

On 09/15, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

I am heartened to see Mr. Vigorito’s comment regarding sparkling wine as the perfect food wine.  It is light, refreshing and the fruit aromas are an excellent complement with just about any course.  I agree that no one wine goes with everything e.g. spicy pasta, go with Chianti, but with lamb try a sparkling brut rose wine.  I think that you will be surprised.  To test any wine and food combination for compatibility; put the food in your mouth, chew it, but don’t swallow and smell the wine.  This allows the aromas of both to intermingle.  Then swallow the food and sip the wine.  If the aroma blend is pleasing and the food and wine flavors are pleasing then you have a match for your palate.  Sometimes the whole experience is greater than the sum of the parts.  This is a transcendent, but rare experience.  We serve all sparkling wine dinners year round without putting together “special” menus.  Give it a try.  Brut blends are good workhorses and sparkling brut roses work well with anything you would pair with pinot noir.  Have fun and trust your own palate not someone else’s opinion of what you should perceive as being good.

On 09/20, Denise wrote:

There does appear to be a cut off in today’s economics where consumers are willing to pull out their wallets, and with many mid priced sparkling wines that satisfactorily sate the palates of consumers for now that seems to be the trend.

On 01/12, Tarjetas de visita wrote:

Interesting. And I thought discussions about wine snobs were bad, it seems the prestige and celebratory nature of champagne only like this


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