New trend: live champagne tastings

Nov 9, 2020 • 3 mins
Team Grappers

You've certainly already noticed it: for some time now, the Champagne Houses and their ambassadors have gone digital. They are offering more and more live online tastings, also referred to as e-tastings: open to the general public on social media platforms or to private groups via video-conferencing software.

The trend has certainly become more widespread in 2020, but it could well become a long-term thing. These online events enable us to maintain a link with the outside world, to create conversations with Champagne Lovers in a context where travelling is not so easy. Accessible to all, all you need is a smartphone, a tablet or a computer to take part.

To help you, and allow us to better understand this phenomenon, Grappers spoke to Jonathan Boulangeat, the ambassador for Rare Champagne in New York.

Can you tell us a bit about your work?

Originally, my job primarily consisted of presenting the Champagne House to wine stores and the hotel and restaurant trade. Since the lockdown, I have had to rethink my way of working and come up with new solutions. Organising online tastings was the first of these solutions and I started these in March 2020. This new way of working has its advantages. Distance is no longer an issue, everyone connects from home, whether in the United States or elsewhere in the world. I really wanted to stay in touch with consumers and be able to continue to transmit my passion for French Art de Vivre, even if it is via Zoom!

What was the initial feedback like?

The initial feedback was very positive. To be even more innovative, these live experiences feature a Rare Brut or Rosé champagne as well as a high-end food pairing according to the time of year: Iberian ham from Cinco Jotas, caviar or smoked salmon from Petrossian, chocolate from La Maison du Chocolat or even foie gras from D'Artagnan. Each participant receives a bottle of Rare Champagne with the pairing selected for the tasting session.

Each live e-tasting lasts an hour on average and we are developing new concepts that allow the participants to “travel” a little bit more by involving Michelin-starred chefs or holding the e-tastings in exclusive venues. It has been such a success that the operation has been repeated every week since its launch.

What do you like the most about these live online tasting events?

The excitement of the participants. It really is quite moving to be online with people from all over the world who are also at home, coming together to share a unique Champagne tasting experience. There is a real sense of intimacy when you see people in their own homes, it creates a real closeness, and the conversations are all the more interesting for it. I think that it has allowed many people to escape from their everyday lives as they almost feel as if they are in a restaurant.

Do you have a particular memory from these events?

I've got loads! In particular, I can think of a nice couple from Connecticut who did several live shows with me: they were both dressed up as if they were going to a dinner party: tuxedo and evening dress. It was a nice way of socializing during the lockdown. Many other concepts are in the works, but I can't tell you everything just yet!

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Jonathan. It seems that champagne brings us together no matter where we are!

What about you? Have you ever attended a live tasting? Tell us about your experience in the comments section.