OFFICIAL LUXURY AWARDS NOMINEE INTERVIEW – Category: CHAMPAGNE
CHAMPAGNE JEEPER, FRANCE
INTERVIEW WITH FOUNDER AND CEO NICOLAS DUBOIS
THE BRAND STORY AND HISTORY
What is the story of your brand’s development, its history and inspiration for it being founded?
Even though the roots of Champagne Jeeper date back to the 18th century, the Jeeper story truly began with the Second World War. Here is the story:
It all started with the Goutorbe family who produced high-quality champagne in the town of Damery since the 18th century, right in the heart of the Marne valley.
Armand Goutorbe, the heir to the family business, passed a major milestone in the brand’s history in the 1940’s with the war.
As an intelligence officer for the French Army during the Second World War, the young winemaker was taken prisoner. He stayed strong and did not divulge any military secrets, eventually helping save American and other allied soldiers from certain death.
When he returned to his native Champagne disabled, he received a Jeep Willys from the US Army to enable him to work the vines and give him the chance to get his life and business back on track.
It was in memory of his story and the desire to stand out from the various other Goutorbes in the region that led Armand Goutorbe to rename his champagne “Jeeper” in 1949.
As a real entrepreneur, the “Jeeper Man”, as friendly nicknamed the people of the region, developed his business.
This was the birth of the Jeeper brand: truly excellent champagnes, created in a spirit of audacity, modernity and accessibility.
How has your brand evolved over time and how do you see it evolving in the future?
In 2009, Nicolas and Myriam Dubois, both winemakers and true Champenois, took over the brand and infused it with a powerful new ambition. They wanted to cement its position in the traditional champagne market by creating a new bottle, unique to Jeeper.
The culmination of this hard work came in 2014, with the arrival of Jeeper’s «next generation» champagnes.
On top of that, the Reybier family partnered up with the Dubois family in 2013. Michel Reybier is also owner of the luxury group Michel Reybier Hospitality, including Chateau Cos d’Estournel the famous Saint Estèphe grand cru classé. With his arrival came the opportunity to consolidate the brand and the resources required to step out onto the international stage with a higher-end product.
This brought a new storehouse, a new multi-format line, new bottle labelling, a new aging process, and much more.
With a new partner and the arrival of a new range, champagne Jeeper is now aiming at a more upscale market. Our long term goals are to reach new countries and to be served in more prestigious hotels and restaurants. Thus making sure that Champagne Jeeper will be a solid and long lasting brand.
Please describe the essence of your brand and how your products/services exemplify a deep commitment to quality.
It can all be summarized by one key word, “The Jeeper Taste”. The Jeeper Taste evokes, first and foremost, the original flavor of Jeeper champagne, which is meticulously worked to ensure high quality and refinement, while still being accessible.
What defines this unique flavor? Finely balanced wines, dominated by Chardonnay, with great persistence and no harshness, bitterness or astringency. All our assemblages are made with chardonnay aged in oak barrels. Some of our cuvees are even vinified in barrels.
Each wine is the culmination of a long process: selecting the finest grapes, the art of blending then maturing in vats and barrels for 12 to 24 months to express the Jeeper spirit and give full meaning to the term blending excellence.
The result of this blending ends up in an exclusive bottle protected by luxury packaging. Real guarantee of quality.
COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE
How do you define and measure excellence? What motivates your focus on quality?
Under the watchful eyes of the owners Myriam and Nicolas Dubois, every step of the production process, right up to release, is meticulously monitored and controlled to ensure the highest possible quality.
Jeeper Champagne performs each and every task needed to maintain and grow its vines in-house.
These include planting, replanting, protection, pruning, tying, wire lifting, harvesting, recycling and uprooting the vines.
Following the harvest (by hand, in the traditional Champenois way), the grapes are pressed and monitored to ensure flawless traceability. The grapes are weighed and recorded in a register, enabling us to identify each “marc” for every parcel and every grape variety. Maintaining quality is the highest priority, so all of the grapes are pressed in-house.
We also put all our cuvees through worldwide competitions so they can be rated by experts. Rewards, grades and medals such as the 94 grade given by James Suckling to our Grande Reserve cuvee help us measure excellence as well as keeping us motivated.
Aiming at high quality standard for every step of the champagne making process ensures that the champagne served to our customers around the world will delight them and will be true to the Jeeper Taste.
Why are maintaining standards of excellence important to your brand?
The motto just below the Jeeper logo is “L’Assemblage de l’Excellence” which can be translated by “Blending Excellence”. It is this motto that appears everywhere, whether on the labels, website, marketing materials and so on. At Champagne Jeeper, we want to build a solid and long lasting brand. The best way to do so is by maintaining standards of excellence throughout the whole process to make sure that every drop and bubble of our Champagne is the perfect translation of the “Jeeper Taste”.
What do you do to ensure that the culture of excellence remains strong in your entire organization?
The best way to ensure that the culture of excellence remains strong in the company is by setting up high quality procedures that can be followed by all as well as by training people when they need it.
It is also very important to monitor everything and to make changes whenever necessary to correct mistakes and malfunctions.
What about your processes / systems / how your services are created, feeds your brand’s culture of excellence?
The Jeeper Company oversees the entire process, from the grapes on the vine to the finished bottle on the shelf.
Jeeper’s line of four champagnes uses a disgorging and labelling line with digital compliance checks. These are housed in dedicated buildings, organized according to the ISO, IFS and BRC reference standards, in Faverolles-et-Coëmy, France.
Jeeper is also the third largest company in Champagne in terms of oak barrels capacity. Its champagnes are aged in barrels (1000 barrels of 228-liters) and demi-muids (200 units), which enable it to produce a supple, dynamic champagne. Over the next few years, Jeeper aims to increase its demi-muid capacity and augment its production space, while of course ensuring the highest possible quality for its champagnes. These oak barrels are very important to us as they play a big part in defining the Jeeper Taste.
How do you view the current market for luxury? Why is excellence in such high demand in today’s world?
In today’s world, companies don’t stop at borders anymore. They manufacture and sell products all over the world. With so much demand for some goods, quality often comes second after costs. But consumers have realized that it’s better to enjoy higher quality products some times, rather than low quality products every day.
When it comes to luxury, people expect to buy the best products with every flaw being severely punished. As a result, if you want to be successful in the luxury market, you need to aim at excellence.
What do you wish people knew about your brand?
Champagne Jeeper is quality and luxury driven, but remains accessible.
We are producing quality champagne totally different from other producers – we are offering a differentiation and alternative to traditional champagne.
Champagne Jeeper key points:
- Unique and fantastic storytelling
- Unique and amazing name, easy to pronounce
- Exclusive bottle and luxury packaging
- Jeeper Taste: chardonnay aged in oak barrels. Indeed, all our cuvees are blended with Chardonnay aged in Burgundian oak barrels for a minimum of 2 years. Some of our Cuvees are even vinified in barrels. This is the signature of the house.
What sets your brand apart from others in your category?
Champagne Jeeper is unique in many ways. First of all, the story behind the name Jeeper is unique. But that is not all. It all comes back to the “Jeeper Taste” once again.
The Jeeper Taste is visual, too. This is expressed in the fresh, modern and audacious visual themes used in the brand’s marketing tools, but above all it shines through in the bottles.
These round-bodied bottles (designed by Nicolas Dubois himself) are exclusive and a key part of the brand’s identity. Thanks to the thin neck, the wine-oxygen exchange is limited and the champagne will age better.
With the rounded, elegant shoulder, the wine’s volume is expressed to the full. The labelling is modern and carefully designed, offering a brightly colored label combined with an embossed gold shield. These signal just how distinctive and remarkable Jeeper’s product are.
What would you recommend to new luxury goods brands coming into the marketplace?
When you enter into the luxury market, you need to offer flawless and high quality products. These consumers do not tolerate flaws and only expect the best. It’s not only about the product, it’s about the whole package and the service you can offer. Price remains important, but once they are seduced, they are ready to pay what’s worth it.
To reach Champagne Jeeper, please visit their website http://www.champagne-jeeper.com/