You’re probably thinking that it’s not very smart nor flattering to boast about cheating. I myself am still surprised about it.

So, why did I cheat at an international wine contest?

At the end of the year 2015, Christina, a sommelier friend, urges us to enter our Grande Cuvée 6 ans d’âge into all the big international competitions. My mother and I are always a bit reticent to participate to these sorts of manifestations: too many champagne tastings, a heterogeneous jury and mainly I think, the fear of not receiving the prize we deserve… wrongfully?

However, there was something exciting about the idea of sending our Grande Cuvée 6 ans d’âge to compete with other mythical Grandes Cuvées from Champagne. Christina was confident: our champagne would seduce many. I then start completing the registration form with all the objective criteria such as the assembly, the dosage, the colour…

And then, drama. We are asked to place our champagne in a category of price defining “the value” of our Grande Cuvée. The greatest champagnes are listed as having prices that are over 100 euros. Problem? We sell our Grande Cuvée 6 ans d’âge at a price of 69€ therefore less than 100 euros. Why such a difference in our price? Is it the quality? No. We’ve simply removed most intermediaries. We are engaged and my mother and I work like artisans.

A “Prestigious” special cuvée shouldn’t just be defined by its price; it should be defined by its unique and exceptional personality. I will later go on to tell you about the essential steps that contribute to the success of our champagne. So I decide to lie and tick the box to compete with the champagnes that are 100 euros and over.

A few weeks later, following the jury’s blind tastings, the results are announced. Our champagne has won medals in each competition.

Whilst competing with the most “Prestigious” Grandes Cuvées we won: a silver medal in the IWSC competition (International Wine & Spirits competition), another silver medal for Mundus Vini, and a silver medal and a master at The Drink Business. Needless to say, we were very pleased with the results!

It’s truly a shame to be judged by price! Creating a champagne house is tiring, as we always have to give the best of ourselves to be more creative, more innovative.

My great grand mother, president of the Piper Heidsieck champagne had as a motto “Bien Faire et Laisser Dire” (Do well, let people talk).

And I wanted to tell you about what we meant by “do well”. Next time, I’ll be telling you about our famous Grande Cuvée of 6 years of age and why it is… special.