Independents opt for own-label Champagne over the big brands

27 July, 2007

The low price of branded Champagne in supermarkets and multiple chains is leading to a boost in sales of own-label Champagne at independent wine merchants.

Although many independents also stock Grande Marques, those that spoke to OLN said they suggest customers buy their "house" Champagnes because they think they represent better value for money.

Gary Jenner of St Martin Vintners in Brighton stocks two independent Champagne lines

- Louis Massing and Charles Mignon Premier Cru

- alongside Grande Marque Champagnes, but he says he is more likely to suggest his own-label Champagne over branded ones.

He said: "We do get a lot of people come in and say

they want Veuve

Clicquot or Mo ët, but it's very hard for us to be able to push those wines knowing

they are a higher price than the chains and the supermarkets, so we as an independent go down the exclusive own -brand

route for our house Champagne.

"Brands push their point of sale and advertise in glossy magazines, but at the end of the day we would prefer to sell the product on the quality of what's in the bottle not on how much they spend on marketing."

Scatchards in Hoole, Cheshire, stopped selling Laurent -Perrier rosé when Sainsbury's began to list it.

"I knew we would n 't be able to compete on price," said owner Samantha Jackson who believes her house Champagnes represent the best value for £25.

"If someone desperately wants a bottle of branded Champagne, of course we'll sell it, but we do sell far more of our house Champagne, partly because it's cheaper and partly because we

tell people

that for the quality

they may as well go for something that's not a big name," she added.

Matthew Brookbank, manager of World of Wines in Henfield, West Sussex, said that in a recent blind taste test the company's house Champagne, Thienot Brut, scored as highly as better -known brands.

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