New Champagne online retailer
A new up-market Champagne internet retailer has opened for business, set up by Brisbane-based Champagne lover and past winner of the Vin de Champagne Award*, David Donald.
The business, David Donald Champagnes (www.ddchampagnes.com.au) focuses on small producers – with an emphasis on members of the Club de Trésors, also known as the Special Club. This is a little-known group of small growers who espouse high quality across their ranges as well as artisanal production methods and sustainable viticulture.
Donald, who previously spent seven years working for another Champagne retail site, Champagne Gallery, says he is staying away from “the usual big brands and supporting the lesser-known and deserving”.
Having always admired the Special Club members’ ethos, he decided to make them the nucleus of his new offering. The problem was that only about half a dozen of the 28 members had their wines available in Australia at the time. So in mid-2014, he spent time in Champagne meeting as many as possible to see if he could make their wines available in Australia. Donald realised that he wouldn’t have a future if he tried to ‘cherry-pick’, but he reasoned that these growers were Special Club members specifically because their wines are excellent across the range, not only at the top. So the offer is not only the Special Club prestige bottlings, but a wider range.
“The site will carry the Special Clubs currently available in Australia, and I will continue to work with their existing importers while starting to bring in the rest of the group myself. What was originally going to be a limited range that I would import has ended up being about 60 products from nine producers…” The site is still a ‘work in progress’, and Donald aims to build up the educational side of it, tagged ‘Know Your Champagne’.
In fact, today the site lists 16 Special Club producers currently available, including Paul Bara, Roland Champion, Gaston Chiquet, Pierre Gimonnet, Henri Goutorbe, Marc Hebrart, J. Lassalle, Launois, and Vazart-Coquart.
*Donald won the professional section of the Vin de Champagne Award in 2006.