To start Sip Champagnes we had to create a new supply chain. So, as you can imagine, our approach is a world away from the average wine merchant or supermarket.
The typical Champagne selection process
Big wine warehouses and retailers have both large overheads and a huge demand to cater for. As such, they simply cannot afford to be selective with their Champagne vintages or even producers for that matter – as there are only a clutch of big Maisons who make Champagne in the volume they require. Their Champagne choices are, therefore, largely governed by ROI.
The state of play in Champagne
Having spent twenty years visiting the villages of Champagne and getting to know the many farmers and growers personally, we grew dispirited with the fact that a handful of large Maisons bought up the majority of the grapes and grape must (juice) from across the region and there was little outlet for the growers to sell the pure expression of their own vineyard. This isn’t to say there was no outlet and many of these artisan producers retained a portion of the harvest to make their own super small batch artisan Champagne (hundreds or thousands of bottles rather than many millions), but these bottles tended not to find their way beyond the borders of France and almost never to the UK.
Establishing a supply chain
With two decades worth of experience and contacts in the region and over 15,000 tasting notes purely on Champagne, we set about choosing the best cuvées and vintages from a select few villages and began the painstaking process of joining the dots to establish a way to bring these exceptional Champagnes to the UK. This was when Sip Champagnes was born, and our approach has been unwavering ever since. We speak personally with the farmers and growers – the men and women that nurture the soil, harvest the grapes and bottle the wine – we taste the produce personally (our favourite part!) and only then do we select the best examples and bring them to you.