This week we were fortunate enough to travel with a handful of top customers to Berru to visit our wine supplier, Jacques Picard. As we travelled through the Pas de Calais and into Champagne, the weather cleared and the sun came out in unusual fashion.

We met José Lievens, the chief winemaker, in his vineyard Le Champ Renard for an apéritif of non-vintage brut réserve. José is just as charming and passionate about his vineyards as he is his wines, talking articulately about the meticulous detail that goes into growing vines that deliver such quality in his end products. Following sundowners in the chilly campagne, the team headed to dinner at nearby Chateau de Sacy; a smart yet laid back boutique hotel and restaurant with views of Reims, Champagne’s capital city. A three-course meal accompanied by Champagne with each plat was served to the delight of everybody as José answered our many questions about the world of sparkling wine.

The following day was spent at the winery learning the different processes that are undergone to achieve a bottle of Jacques Picard. The team tasted through the many different base wines that are ultimately blended before being bottled for second fermentation.

Finally the group sat down to lunch where a feast of seafood and charcuterie was served with of course more Champagne and also some still Coteaux Champenois to round off the meal.

We all returned to the UK with full stomachs but also as more educated and more confident ambassadors for Champagne Jacques Picard. We are incredibly grateful to José for his time and his  generous hospitality as we are also for our customers who joined us.