Charline Drappier, Frank Capra’s spiritual daughter

Sep 14, 2020 • 2 mins

Following her business and literary training, Charline Drappier has been responsible for business development in the U.S. for the last 2 years. She has now left New York and returned to the Côte des Bar. This dramatic change of scene has not curbed her enthusiasm in the least and she now divides her time between trips abroad and her Urville base.

If the Cistercian monks from Clairvaux Abbey, who occupied the Maison d’Urville in times gone by, had met Charline Drappier in the building’s magnificent 12th-century vaulted cellars, no doubt their belief in the family, as one and indivisible, would have been strengthened. Unless, of course, they had decided, on the spur of the moment, to toss their habit aside and throw themselves at her feet. At 30 years of age, the chief executive director of the maison d’Urville combines the energy of youth with a kind nature that seems to be part of the family’s DNA, passed down from grandfather André, to her parents Sylvie and Michel, and then to the three children, Charline, Hugo and Antoine.

Spending an afternoon in Urville reminds you of the humanist fables of Frank Capra in “Mr Deeds Goes to Town”, the 1936 romantic comedy starring Gary Cooper in which humanity, generosity, and a love of nature and family, prompt the ill-intentioned characters to reflect upon their own shortcomings. Charline was raised on the principles of this type of humanism, which some may find naive, but which simply consist of remaining sensitive in a world where the other is seen as a competitor, or even a stranger, who threatens our values.

“We’re a small champagne house with 55 ha owned vineyards and 50 ha from contractual growers”, Charline explains, “midway between the world of champagne growers, which is where we come from, and that of big producers with their codes of prestige, luxury and artistic partnerships that have created champagne’s reputation around the world. We try, within our modest means, to have a foot in both these worlds”.
Charline Drappier

The ways in which they transmit their image of reliability and quality - Drappier is one of the first champagne houses to have launched a brut nature that is sulphite-free and environmentally-friendly (no carbon footprint and 75% self-sufficient in electricity thanks to solar panels and the use of a heat pump) – do not involve advertising or marketing campaigns, but rather stepping up the number of tastings with customers. 

“We don’t entrust our message to communication specialists”, Charline smiles, “we don’t have the means. My father himself designed our new bottle and I helped him to design the label. Our wines have a strong personality, linked to the predominance of the Pinot Noir, and a story to tell. They come from a particular location and are produced by a family with a long history of winemaking and a clear idea of the wine they represent. This is what sets us apart and what we try to convey”.