Based in 1843 in Reims, France, Krug Champagne is likely one of the world’s hottest and fascinating wines. Worth per bottle ranges from $210 for Grande Cuffe, the not-so-vintage label that reintroduces it yearly, to $2,799 for Clos d’Ambonnay, a classic produced from a single piece of Noir grape.
This yr, Krug has appointed a brand new boss, Manuel Reimann, who at 44 is likely one of the youngest bosses within the model’s historical past. He joins the corporate at a time when gross sales are at an all-time excessive, and the home cannot produce sufficient Champagne to fulfill demand. “We ran out of bottles in every single place final yr, which has by no means occurred earlier than,” says Reimann. Though apparent, he factors out, Krug is a small model that produces simply 0.1 % of the world’s Champagne from 200 acres of vineyards—Moet Hennessy, in distinction, owns 15,000 acres. It is also nonetheless run like a household residence: Olivier Krug, the sixth era Krug, is a massively concerned director and co-owner.
With gross sales hovering, Reimann’s largest job in his function is to take care of the standard of Champagne and never make drastic adjustments to a components that already works. However whereas he could also be a newcomer to the Krug, Reman has labored at its mum or dad firm, LVMH, for practically twenty years in varied capacities together with as chief of workers to CEO Moet Chandon. Even earlier than he received into the business, an appreciation of wine—its land, its physique, and its style—was his outdated passion which he pursued by becoming a member of wine golf equipment in Paris.
Reiman not too long ago spoke with lady From Krug’s headquarters in Reims about the way forward for the model, attracting new audiences, and his favourite methods to benefit from the good glass of Champagne.
lady: Krug is already a longtime model. What’s your imaginative and prescient of the corporate as its president?
Manuel Reiman: There could also be a number of Krug followers, however we have to diversify our champagne drinkers. For now, it is principally loved by critical wine lovers, however we need to attraction to individuals who aren’t connoisseurs of wine however admire a pleasant glass of Champagne.
How has Krug modified since its founding in 1843?
The style of champagne has not modified. The toast, spices and marmalade that had been signatures after we had been based in 1843 nonetheless outline our tastes at present. What has modified is the manufacturing course of itself. We nonetheless ferment in oak barrels, though many Champagne makers have switched to utilizing stainless-steel tanks. Nevertheless, we now retailer our reserve wines in stainless-steel, which retains them contemporary for longer. We normally persist with custom however use trendy applied sciences when it is smart.
How does Krug differentiate itself from different luxurious champagnes?
Most of them launch classic champagne solely that expresses the grape manufacturing of a selected yr. Krug has vintages too, however we additionally launch Grand Cuvee – our non-vintage – yearly which is a mix of practically 200 totally different wines produced in numerous years and from totally different grape areas.
The place are your largest markets positioned, and what areas are you seeing progress and improvement?
Japan is, by far, the most important in practically 20 years. About one out of each three bottles of Krug produced in Japan is consumed. It grew to become in style there due to Olivier Krug [the sixth generation of the Krug family and the house’s director] He spent three years in Japan engaged on growing model consciousness.
After Japan, the US is the most important, though we solely have 5 markets: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Texas and South Florida. We have barely scratched the floor within the US, and a part of the reason being as a result of we do not have sufficient bottles to promote.
By way of rising markets, we’re seeing a number of new drinkers in South Korea. Many high-end eating places have opened in Seoul lately, and these locations bear Krug. Germany and Italy are additionally newer markets for us and have gained traction throughout Covid. The duty-free retailers on the airports the place Krug sells the bottles had been closed, so we reallocated them to those international locations, and other people received to know the model.
There was a number of press about champagne shortages through the pandemic. What’s the purpose for the scarcity and the way does Krug take care of it?
Folks have been residence throughout Covid and began taking champagne at residence as an alternative of saving it for a special day in a restaurant. They didn’t spend their discretionary revenue on touring or going to eating places and had a finances to spend on luxurious objects at residence. Champagne matches the pattern.
Krug offers with shortages by attempting to make sure that our distribution is even in numerous markets and throughout eating places and retailers. We additionally require retailers to restrict the amount clients should purchase. What we do not need is anybody shopping for too many bottles to maintain or resell.
You’re a model advocate for being extra than simply ingesting champagne. Are you able to clarify what you imply?
I’m of the opinion that Krug ought to be an expertise, not only a glowing wine. For instance, the Krug household house is positioned within the village of Reims within the Champagne area, and we invite folks to go to it for meals and tastings. The way in which we carry out our tastings is exclusive: we pair every Champagne with a special musical composition. We solicit music from musicians all over the world and ask them to create brief songs for us primarily based on the artistic inspiration they get after they drink champagne. It may be classical, jazz, pop or one thing. We play their compositions whereas guests drink varied champagnes. Chloe Flower, a classical pianist from the USA, is one instance of a musician we now have collaborated with.
We additionally supply non-public excursions of our vineyards and cellars for individuals who plan forward. You may even spend a whole day within the fields appreciating the surroundings, the greenery, the sounds of birds, and being outdoors.
Any ideas for budding champagne collectors?
Know that Champagne can age superbly, however retailer it away from gentle and at cool temperatures. I additionally counsel shopping for champagne from quite a lot of manufacturers, from small growers to well-known manufacturers, as a result of there are such a lot of types, and the gathering ought to all the time have a mix. When you discover a champagne that you just like, purchase as a lot of it as you’ll be able to. The shortage concern is not going wherever, particularly with local weather change and unpredictable harvesting situations. Comply with your style, not any guidelines about what sort of champagne you need to and should not have.
What recommendation are you able to share for having fun with the proper glass of champagne?
Initially, please drink it in flutes. Champagne is a wine and ought to be drunk in a white wine glass. Individuals are beginning to use flutes to see the impact of bubbles rising from backside to prime, however they wish to hearken to a live performance with earplugs – the form of the glass muffles the style.
And by no means look ahead to a particular ingesting event. Pop a bottle anytime, even at a Monday night time dinner at residence. What you have fun is the champagne and the connection you could have with the particular person you drink it with.
This interview has been edited for size and readability.
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