Laurent in the Vilmart cellarOh, gosh is that a hideously, schmaltzy, yuck way of introducing what we are up to over the festive period with Christmas? Sorry, folks, that’s me!! Bit on a wave of excitement here at FineWineWorks with our recent activities with our very own Vilmart champagne. Firstly, we’ve brought in a supremely experienced “Marketing Marvel” in the form of John Burke – a trusted friend, a graduate of all 3 levels of our WSET® Wine Courses with FWW (so he’s really seen us in action with a corkscrew), and coincidentally an amazingly experienced Marketing Consultant with a background history of working with some of the real big guns in the industry.

His past experience was with some of the biggest drinks companies (for example Diageo) where their marketing budgets were absolutely stratospheric! (he conducted the UK research that led to their sponsorship of the McLaren Formula One team with Johnny Walker Black Label). And its come to this….a non-paying position as Chief Marketeer and person “who knows what they are doing” with Fine Wine Works to truly launch, promote, encourage and assist us to endorse the extraordinarily different, “breathtaking” and exciting champagne house of Vilmart & Cie.
We’ve instigated campaigns with all the local media (check out the Riviera Times website and monthly publications, look out for our revealing interview in the Riviera Times and hear me whiffle on about the fab Vilmart champagnes on Monaco’s Riviera Radio). We’ve thrown caution to the wind and are madly offering a “first bottle free” when you order 12 of our gorgeous 92 Parker Points breathtaking “Vilmart Grand Cellier Brut NV” (normal RSP 35€). We have given an in depth interview which appears in this Dec / Jan “Riviera Reporter”. We’ve hooked up (‘scuse the pun) with Dan & Lucy Luger at Nice Rugby Club – watch this space for some rather exciting “co-promotions”, including a very romantic plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day in February (are you seeing hearts, roses and pink Champagne….????)
We are, as ever, proud sponsors of the International Club of the Riviera and wearing my professional ex-actress “hat”, I was deeply content and happy to be asked to join the panel of judges for the International Schools of the Riviera Speech Contest on 13th November. I assumed my stage name of Helen Patrick for the evening, and was, (quelle surprise?), vociferous in my thoughts, feelings and beliefs about the contestants that night. Public speaking, holding an audience and enchanting, informing and illuminating them is no easy feat and I think the final winner and (very) close runner up performed a brilliant feat – well done!
A few people have been asking if I have a secret Mulled Wine Recipe as a Wine Expert and Gerant of FWW – yes, I do! Some of you came to find out for yourselves at the International Club’s “Fusion Christmas Gala” last Saturday on La Croisette, Cannes (see for piccies. If you didn’t join us for a glass – my secret is to stud a whole orange with cloves, then roast it in the oven for 40 mins. Add to a large heavy casserole with a couple of sticks of cinnamon, 2 or 3 star anise, a couple of bottles of red wine, 1/2 litre of orange juice. A triple shot of port, a double of brandy and a single of Cointreau or triple sec and a scoop of sugar to taste (try fair-trade brown sugar for a richer, more caramelised character).
Our Vilmart champagne will also be offered at the ICR’s New Years Eve Event – c’est moi doing the catering so please allow a brief plug!
No surprise, then, as to what we shall be brandishing when invited for a social event over the festive period, and I’m afraid our long suffering friends and family will all (secret present alert*%$//???””£*) be getting a bottle of Vilmart champagne in their Christmas stocking this year 2009. It’s the wine of choice when celebrating anything – and here’s to all of us who have “survived” and indeed enjoyed 2009!

Helen Brotherton