Navigating the climate, the competition and the rules to sell organic Champagne across the world
Varying rules on the term organic, rainy springs and the rise of Prosecco are just a few of the challenges facing Champagne Michel Bruno. We asked Guillaume Orban, Commercial Director for Champagne Bruno Michel to tell us more about organic champagne.
We are based south of Epernay in the middle of Champagne and have 12 hectares, half growing Chardonnay and half growing Meunier. We stand out because we are one of the rare Champagne organic wines. Just 1.5% of all wine makers in Champagne are organic because of the difficult climate, including having rainy springs, so it is hard to grow organic grapes here. We only use non-synthetic products to protect ourselves and we have a lot more manual labor to weed our vineyards.
Why is it important for you to come to Vinexpo?
I come to see all my clients in one place, which Vinexpo is great for. I was at Vinexpo Hong Kong last year and I was very happy with the clients I met. Vinexpo also allows me to grow my customer base, especially internationally.
What are some of the challenges and opportunities in the Champagne market?
The organic label helps us a lot with the younger generation, as they are looking to consume wines which are produced in a sustainable way. Ten years ago less than 0.7% of all Champagne was organic, so the trend towards organic has grown a lot in recent times.
The biggest challenge for us is to produce organic wine. But then to export internationally we are faced with a maze of different regulations, as each country has different standards and requirements in order to have the organic label. For example, the United States of America is quite complex and then Korea has a different set of requirements.
Internationally, there is a strong competition from Prosecco wines, which have greatly increased in quality in recent years and have very strong marketing backing.
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Photo: Pauline and Guillaume Orban, Commercial Director, Champagne Bruno Michel (from left to right)