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Nicolas Feuillatte Revamps Approach In Increasingly Competitive Champagne Market

December 5, 2016

Nicolas Feuillatte, imported by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, is currently the fourth-largest Champagne brand in the U.S. market at 68,000 cases, having expanded by nearly 75% since 2010, according to Impact Databank. Like all bubbly brands, Feuillatte is currently gearing up for the crucial holiday selling season in what has been another strong year for Champagne. The category’s U.S. volume grew 6% in the year-to-date through September. Longer-term, the company is determined to position its namesake label as a modern lifestyle brand that transcends Champagne’s traditional seasonal and celebratory cycles and thrives year-round in a multitude of occasions.

“To us, the major point is not to base our strategy on past trends, but rather to anticipate and influence new trends,” says Feuillatte managing director Julie Campos. “Nicolas Feuillatte is the largest grower Champagne brand and the youngest of all the major Champagne houses. Our goal is to leverage that youth and vibrancy by breaking from the traditional role of Champagne as being for special celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries, which make Champagne consumption both very occasional and seasonal.”

Toward that end, Feuillatte’s recently launched global campaign, “Enchanter la Vie,” seeks to promote a new definition of luxury that aligns with the Millennial generation’s penchant for collecting interesting experiences rather than tangible possessions and overt status symbols. The new positioning includes tailored brand experiences along with digital and social activities.

Feuillatte is also attacking at the point-of-sale with initiatives including an on-premise push called Champagne Gourmand, in which restaurants and wine bars offer a glass of Nicolas Feuillatte paired with three small appetizers (or three small desserts) presented on a branded porcelain plate. So far, a number of accounts across New York, Miami and Los Angeles are taking part. “In the on-premise, we’re facing very aggressive pricing (from competitors), especially for by-the-glass. We don’t want to be involved in this vicious cycle, which is harmful for both Nicolas Feuillatte and the category overall,” Campos says. “We prefer to develop qualitative offers targeting new types of consumption, embodied by the Champagne Gourmand.”

For the off-premise, Feuillatte recently developed a new sleeved bottle design for its Brut Rosé ($53), which Campos believes will help drive sales during the spring and summer months, and for the holiday season the brand’s core Brut Reserve NV ($36) is being packaged in a limited-edition gold sleeve bottle and tin. “We’ve also created some regional offers,” Campos adds. “We recently launched a gift box for the New York market, dedicated to the city itself, which has been so important for Nicolas Feuillatte. It’s where the adventure began for the brand 40 years ago.” —Adam Polonski and Daniel Marsteller

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