Tasting Fees in Champagne?

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Troy Stark
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Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#1 Post by Troy Stark » February 12th, 2019, 6:18 am

We are currently in the process of setting up visits in Champagne for a trip we are taking in March. We were focusing mostly on growers, but are not opposed to visiting some of the NMs we enjoy.

On that note, we just received an email from an NM that is closed to the public where we requested a visit and were told they are happy to receive us but that there is a fee for the tasting. Is this typical in Champagne? Happy to pay the fee, but would rather buy wine instead and paying a fee will cut into the purchases we might make. Do most places credit the tasting fee if you buy some wine or no? I suppose if paying a fee there is less obligation to buy wines at the end, no?

Any information you can share would be very helpful. Thanks in advance!
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#2 Post by Troy Stark » February 13th, 2019, 6:33 am

Bueller? Bueller? :D
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#3 Post by Corey N. » February 13th, 2019, 7:16 am

We just got back from Reims. We tasted at Taittinger and Krug -- no fees. However, the tastings were set up beforehand. I know Taittinger does charge if you go on one of the tours offered online.

I should add that their caves are incredible -- originally dug out by the Romans in the third century.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#4 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » February 13th, 2019, 7:48 am

I've been to 20-25 different houses and never encountered fees. Almost all of the visits were arranged prior to heading to Champagne.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#5 Post by Troy Stark » February 13th, 2019, 9:09 am

Corey N. wrote:
February 13th, 2019, 7:16 am
We just got back from Reims. We tasted at Taittinger and Krug -- no fees. However, the tastings were set up beforehand. I know Taittinger does charge if you go on one of the tours offered online.

I should add that their caves are incredible -- originally dug out by the Romans in the third century.
How did you manage the tasting at Krug? Did you have a connection or just send them an email? I'm guessing there was an expectation of a purchase following the tasting? Were the cellar door prices reasonable? Thanks!
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#6 Post by Troy Stark » February 13th, 2019, 9:11 am

R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
February 13th, 2019, 7:48 am
I've been to 20-25 different houses and never encountered fees. Almost all of the visits were arranged prior to heading to Champagne.
Thank you for the feedback. I was surprised this NM proposed a fee. I guess since they are generally not open to the public, they want to cover their costs, but we were expecting to buy wine so [shrug.gif]
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#7 Post by Corey N. » February 13th, 2019, 9:15 am

Troy Stark wrote:
February 13th, 2019, 9:09 am
Corey N. wrote:
February 13th, 2019, 7:16 am
We just got back from Reims. We tasted at Taittinger and Krug -- no fees. However, the tastings were set up beforehand. I know Taittinger does charge if you go on one of the tours offered online.

I should add that their caves are incredible -- originally dug out by the Romans in the third century.
How did you manage the tasting at Krug? Did you have a connection or just send them an email? I'm guessing there was an expectation of a purchase following the tasting? Were the cellar door prices reasonable? Thanks!
A friend e-mailed them and I think had a connection send an e-mail as well. It almost certainly helped that we were coing off season. There was no wine or anything else to purchase at the end of the tour. We had 2 guides (this was unusual -- normally it's 1 person) spend over two hours with the 3 of us. Very fun experience. They opened the 166th before the tour, then the 160th and 2004 vintage at the end. Good stuff.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#8 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » February 13th, 2019, 9:29 am

Troy Stark wrote:
February 13th, 2019, 9:09 am
I'm guessing there was an expectation of a purchase following the tasting? Were the cellar door prices reasonable? Thanks!
There are no expectations to purchase anything.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#9 Post by Russell Faulkner » February 13th, 2019, 4:46 pm

From memory, Launois and Milan charge a fee. But at Launois it includes entry to the museum and Milan was waived with purchases.

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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#10 Post by alan weinberg » February 15th, 2019, 9:58 pm

Dom charges a lot. Ployez-Jacquemart was free.

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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#11 Post by jordan whitehead » February 16th, 2019, 2:41 am

Ruinart $70 I believe
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#12 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » February 16th, 2019, 9:48 am

I had no clue that various houses, including DP and Ruinart, charged fees.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#13 Post by Troy Stark » February 18th, 2019, 8:18 pm

And now a grower who wants 75 euros for a visit... I blame Trump.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#14 Post by Andrew Kotowski » February 19th, 2019, 2:05 pm

Corey N. wrote:
February 13th, 2019, 7:16 am
We just got back from Reims. We tasted at Taittinger and Krug -- no fees.
Did you pay a guide? When we went to Taittinger, there was a fee associated with the tour and baseline tasting, which was rolled into the cost of the guide. Bumping up to the higher-end wines resulted in an incremental cost.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#15 Post by Corey N. » February 19th, 2019, 2:32 pm

Andrew Kotowski wrote:
February 19th, 2019, 2:05 pm
Did you pay a guide? When we went to Taittinger, there was a fee associated with the tour and baseline tasting, which was rolled into the cost of the guide. Bumping up to the higher-end wines resulted in an incremental cost.
No guide. It was graciously arranged by someone ITB. We didn't pay a nickel at Taittinger or Krug. And Taittinger gave us a gift bag -- I received a bottle of Champagne and cuff links (as did the other gent); my SO received a silk scarf.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#16 Post by AndrewH » September 15th, 2019, 3:02 pm

Corey N. wrote:
February 19th, 2019, 2:32 pm
Andrew Kotowski wrote:
February 19th, 2019, 2:05 pm
Did you pay a guide? When we went to Taittinger, there was a fee associated with the tour and baseline tasting, which was rolled into the cost of the guide. Bumping up to the higher-end wines resulted in an incremental cost.
No guide. It was graciously arranged by someone ITB. We didn't pay a nickel at Taittinger or Krug. And Taittinger gave us a gift bag -- I received a bottle of Champagne and cuff links (as did the other gent); my SO received a silk scarf.
Ah, okay, so if an ITB connection sets you up . . .

Are there ways (anyone) to avoid the tour component and just get tastings? I'm up for one (or perhaps two) tours, but don't see the need to see basically the same thing multiple times.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#17 Post by Troy Stark » September 15th, 2019, 6:32 pm

We just emailed a bunch of producers in the villages we wanted to visit. If there is a fee, they will respond as such in their first email reply. If there is no mention of a tasting fee, there will not be one.

We were able to fill our schedule with producers that did not charge a fee and ended up having to ship back a case* of wine from a wine shipper that also handled the VAT refund for us (which ended up covering the shipping/customs).

*A 12 Bottle US Case. Note that in Champagne, a "case" = 6 bottles.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#18 Post by Howard Cooper » September 19th, 2019, 5:13 am

We were charged a fee last year for tours and tastings at Taittinger and Ruinart.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#19 Post by M. Taylor » September 24th, 2019, 9:49 pm

We were there in April. Paid at all — Tattinger (did the higher end to get the Comtes —worth it), Ployez Jacquemart (noticed above others got it free, dang it) and one other small production I am forgetting.

Interesting part is we also were in Bordeaux, and went to Palmer, Ducru Beaucaillou and Chevallier, none of which charged anything. At Beaucaillou, by the way, we had the futures then tasted earlier vintages of the same wines. Really great.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#20 Post by K. Tr@n » September 24th, 2019, 9:50 pm

We paid at Taittinger as well. Lanson, Ruinart, Pommery also charged for tasting and tour.
Which champagne house is free for the public?
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#21 Post by K. Tr@n » September 24th, 2019, 9:52 pm

M. Taylor wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 9:49 pm
We were there in April. Paid at all — Tattinger (did the higher end to get the Comtes —worth it), Ployez Jacquemart (noticed above others got it free, dang it) and one other small production I am forgetting.

Interesting part is we also were in Bordeaux, and went to Palmer, Ducru Beaucaillou and Chevallier, none of which charged anything. At Beaucaillou, by the way, we had the futures then tasted earlier vintages of the same wines. Really great.
How far ahead of time did you request for a visit at Palmer and Ducru? I tried 3 months and they said they were busy.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#22 Post by Troy Stark » September 25th, 2019, 5:03 am

K. Tr@n wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 9:50 pm
Which champagne house is free for the public?
Most RMs won't charge.

Anecdotal evidence seems to be that NMs won't charge if arranged via trade connections, but may if you reach out on your own.
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Re: Tasting Fees in Champagne?

#23 Post by M. Taylor » September 25th, 2019, 5:59 pm

K. Tr@n wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 9:52 pm
M. Taylor wrote:
September 24th, 2019, 9:49 pm
We were there in April. Paid at all — Tattinger (did the higher end to get the Comtes —worth it), Ployez Jacquemart (noticed above others got it free, dang it) and one other small production I am forgetting.

Interesting part is we also were in Bordeaux, and went to Palmer, Ducru Beaucaillou and Chevallier, none of which charged anything. At Beaucaillou, by the way, we had the futures then tasted earlier vintages of the same wines. Really great.
How far ahead of time did you request for a visit at Palmer and Ducru? I tried 3 months and they said they were busy.
It was less than that, but it was arranged by a friend who has good connections in Bordeaux
M a r k

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