Champagne Master Class, Fraser’s


A limited amount of tickets are available to the Perth Champagne Masterclass at a 5% discount – mention The Foodie Hub when paying for your booking to attract the benefit. To book email emma@drysdalecommunications.com.au or call direct on (02) 9555 8891.

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Elisabeth Drysdale is based in Sydney and has been given the responsibility of representing and promoting Champagne in Australia. She runs the Champagne Bureau of Australia through her company, Drysdale Communications. The Foodie Hub asked her a few questions about Champagne, how it is positioned in Australia and the forthcoming National Masterclass held biannually set to be hosted at the beautiful Fraser’s in Kings Park.
Elisabeth Drysdale

In Australia, the Champagne Bureau represents the Comité Champagne (CIVC) and one of its objectives is to raise market awareness of Champagne wines. At what level is awareness now in Australia and to what level does the Bureau want to raise it?

  • Last year, Australia imported 5,406,837 bottles of Champagne, making us the 7th largest market outside of France. There has definitely been growth in the Champagne market over the last decade. I really believe that we are becoming a more educated wine market and increasingly understand the differences between Champagne and sparkling wine. It is important to point out that historically, the Australian market has always been an important one for Champagne. Over the last few decades, we have always been in the top ten markets and enjoyed a steady growth.
  • The Vin de Champagne Award has also helped increase the awareness of Champagne in Australia. The Champagne Bureau in Australia has organised the Vin de Champagne Award since 1973. The Award aims not only to celebrate and encourage the enjoyment of Champagne, but also aims to develop a network of Champagne specialists throughout Australia, who will act as supporters for the promotion of the Champagne appellation.
  • The Champagne Bureau will always be looking for ways to educate consumers and trade on Champagne wines. For us, it is also important to educate students of hospitality and wine, so they have the knowledge when they go to work.

Do you think the East Coast is recognising that the West Coast (of Australia) is becoming more sophisticated and savvy and thus palates are demanding more quality wines such as those that the Champagne region of France offer?

The West Coast has always been an important market for Champagne. We can see this by how many Vin de Champagne Award winners actually come from WA (about 17 in the last 40 years!). WA also has a strong Champagne social group called the friends of Champagne. I think that the fact you are also an important wine producing state (e.g Margaret River) helps, as you have an interest and passion about wine.

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The launch of the Champagne Masterclasses Perth is August 2013. Please detail what the night will offer. Will the class be walked through different wines/champagnes solely or will there be food matching?

The class will be conducted by past WA Vin de Champagne Award winners Lexie Thompson and Steve Leslie. They will take you through around 8-10 Champagne wines of different styles, whilst educating you about the Champagne region and the wines. Champagne wines make a great food match, so there will be ‘bites’ matched to different brackets.

Will the Bureau have regular nights from inception and how often should the Champagne lovers in Perth expect to see them?

We run the National Master classes every two years. However, there are Champagne master classes taken regularly by past Vin de Champagne Award winners in Perth.

What do you see in the future of Champagne based wines?
In Australia particularly, we are seeing a range of different Champagne wines presented on wine lists, which is terrific. As our market is developing, a lot more brands are coming into Australia. Obviously the high Australian dollar has contributed to price competitiveness in the market, which has seen more consumers reach for a bottle of Champagne over domestic sparkling. This has also attracted new consumers and a younger demographic. The impact of the Australian economy should definitely be taken into account. With a mining and resources boom in the last decade coupled with growth from Asia, relatively low unemployment and income growth, economists believe that Australians are more prosperous than ever.

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