Champagne for everyone! How The Ivy is making Champagne more accessible over Christmas

The Ivy has been an institution in London's dining scene for over a century. A hallmark of glamour, sophistication and luxury, we can't think of anywhere better to sip a glass of Champagne this Christmas. So how does an establishment boasting a range of the world's best fizz ensure they're really capitalising on sparkling sales at peak trading?

Well, it's all about accessibility and quality. When customers are purchasing an experience rather than a product, having a quality Champagne by the glass (like Champagne Palmer) can really set the tone for a memorable meal.

We caught up with The Ivy's assistant bar manager, Ian Sheldrake, to find out why they chose Champagne as their house pour, and how they encourage their customers to indulge in a glass over the festive season. 

1. How do you make Champagne more accessible to your customers?

We find that having a by-the-glass list alongside our main Champagne list makes it a lot more accessible. 

2. Why does Champagne Palmer work so well as The Ivy's house Champagne?

It's got an extra level of complexity due to the 4-years lees ageing, that really makes it stand out against other Champagnes. There's a whole extra layer to those toasty, brioche flavours, which makes it more special and go really well with food.

3. What are your tips for encouraging customers to buy a glass of Champagne?

My main tip would be to offer it as soon as they sit down (before they've even seen the menu!). It's the easiest way to encourage people to start the meal with a glass of Champagne, and turns the whole experience into a celebration.

4. Do Champagne sales change in the run up to Christmas?

Well, they definitely go up. People want to be drinking Champagne at Christmas, it's a celebration!

5. What would you choose from your menu to go with a glass of Palmer?

The fish and chips on our menu works well - it's a classic pairing, and really helps dispel the myth that Champagne is only for 'fancy food'. For something a bit more unusual, I'd recommend the nori-dusted popcorn rock shrimp.

Champagne Palmer Brut Reserve - The Ivy's House Champagne 

Palmer's secret ingredient is time. Unlike many other Champagnes in the non-vintage Brut category, the Brut Reserve remains in contact with lees for at least four years, in addition to a high proportion of reserve wines, giving it a delicious, brioche-y flavour and amazing complexity.

Export Manager Arthur Camut says, "Champagne Palmer is appreciated all over the world for its excellence and elegance. Sourced primarily from the most prestigious Premiers and Grands Crus terroirs of the Montagne de Reims, our cuvees are regularly distinguished in major international wine competitions and endorsed by Champagne experts, which gives them the seal of approval for appearing on prestigious wine lists such as that of The Ivy. We are really pleased to be The Ivy's house pour, meaning more people can experience the excellence and elegance of Champagne Palmer."

Want more tips on Christmas drinking?

We asked our resident sommelier what customers really want in the festive season.

Having spent childhood summers trekking through Italian vineyards, Elisa’s love of wine started at a young age. After a few stints working in pubs across the UK, she realised she could try far more samples working in a wine company, and landed at Bibendum two years ago. Now, she spends her days looking after digital marketing: writing, posting on social media, and everything in between.

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