For more than 250 years, Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon have been leading producers of champagne, while the sparkling wines of Chandon have long been favorites of discerning drinkers. The powerhouse behind these three brands in the U.S. is Anne-Sophie Stock, the labels’ vice president of core bubbles. Stock oversees all marketing and business efforts for the brands, such as where they’re distributed, how to attract new customers and how to create perfect drinking experiences. Two examples of the latter are this month’s Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in New Jersey and The Après Lounge at the Montage Deer Valley in Utah.
Stock says the trio of bubblies saw exponential growth during the pandemic: “It was a gloomy period, and people wanted an escape. Champagne provided that.” In a recent interview with Business Traveler, Stock discussed how the brands have changed since they were founded, their newest customers, and her ideal way to enjoy a perfect glass of sparkling wine.
How have Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon evolved since their inception?
Unlike other wines, our champagne is consistent in its taste and has been throughout the centuries. In Champagne, the weather isn’t great. It rains and there’s frost. Since we can’t rely on grapes from any given year, champagne is created with a blend of grapes from different years and has reserve wine as part of the blend. Of course, small adjustments have been made over the years to accommodate consumers’ tastes, such as the number of residual sugars added, but the blends never change.
Champagne is a centuries-old drink. How do you manage to stay current?
In addition to maintaining quality wine, we are committed to innovation. Chandon had the vision to redefine luxury sparkling wine beginning with its founding in Argentina in 1959. Given this pioneering spirit, it’s no surprise that Chandon was the brand to launch the portfolio’s first ready-to-drink aperitif with Chandon Garden Spritz.
For our champagne brands, we are at the start of two milestones. Veuve Clicquot celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2022, and Moët & Chandon is looking to its 280th anniversary in 2023. Our goal is to tell our brands’ stories in a way that draws connection from the past as we look to the future.
For its anniversary, Veuve Clicquot partnered with ten female artists to create pieces inspired by Madame Clicquot, the female trailblazer who made Veuve Clicquot what it is today. We brought that exhibit to life on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
Moët & Chandon is also an important piece of culture. We are the official champagne of the NBA and have been the celebratory drink of choice in locker rooms at NBA Finals for years. We’ve also been fortunate to partner with incredible artists and designers over the years, like Virgil Abloh, Yoon Ahn of Ambush, and most recently British contemporary artist Es Devlin. We brought her illuminated rotating sculpture Your Voices to Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza during the holiday season.
Your brands have also made a push to be more sustainable in recent years.
Moët & Chandon is a leader in sustainability, not only with practices at the house but also in the Champagne region in general. Our Natura Nostra program promotes the ecological transition toward greater biodiversity in Champagne and the protection of local flora and fauna. We are also pursuing strong agroecological initiatives in favor of living soils. As part of our 250th anniversary, Veuve Clicquot launched our Eco Yellow program, and at Chandon, we are committed to sustainable farming practices.
Who are your customers today?
Really anyone who is over 21. During the pandemic, 40 percent of the consumers of champagne were new. They used to drink prosecco and are now looking to champagne. They’re younger, in their 20s and 30s. They don’t want to drink large quantities but want to drink the best quality.
What’s your advice for enjoying the perfect glass of bubbly?
It starts with having the perfect bottle ready to be popped. It should spend about half a day in the fridge, ideally at 46 degrees. Contrary to popular belief, a flute or coupe is not the best glass for enjoying. You’ll want to use a white-wine glass or tulip-shaped glass, which allows the wine to breathe. And never fill a glass more than halfway—just keep the bottle close by and you won’t have to worry about not having enough.
What are the best foods to pair with sparkling wines?
I love burgers with my Veuve Clicquot, fries with my Chandon, and sushi or fried chicken with Moët & Chandon. Forget the caviar and other fancy foods. Champagne is a fun drink and should be paired with fun foods. Also, drink it throughout the meal, not before or after. It enhances the flavors of any dish, especially fatty foods.
National Rosé Day is June 10. Tell us about your portfolio of rosés.
Our wineries have an incredible selection, from our nonvintages and vintages to offerings like Chandon’s Étoile Rosé or Moët Ice Impérial Rosé and Veuve Clicquot Rich Rosé, which are designed to be served over ice with fresh ingredients—perfect for the season. When the weather gets warm, I love to pair a bottle of rosé with fried chicken (a pairing that many don’t know is incredible) and head outside with family or friends for a day in the sun. Whether looking for a bottle to bring to a picnic or enjoy on National Rosé Day, our brands will have the perfect pour.
In your opinion, what are the top mistakes people make when it comes to drinking champagnes and sparkling wines?
Sometimes people can give themselves too many rules when really there is no right or wrong way or time to enjoy. While champagne is wonderful for those celebratory moments like anniversaries or promotions, it can also be enjoyed for smaller moments or even on a random Tuesday—just because.