Meet Champagne Scion Clovis Taittinger, Who Shares About Moving His Family’s Iconic Maison Forward

The managing director of Champagne Taittinger shares upcoming plans including a revamped visitor centre experience and launching a new English sparkling wine label.
by Kenneth SZ Goh

Photo: Champagne Taittinger

Mention champagne, and the image of effervescent bubbles inevitably come to mind. It is even more captivating when you have an internationally recognised last name linked to one of the last remaining major marque champagne houses that is owned and actively managed by the family named on the label.

Speaking to The Peak exclusively over lunch at Peranakan-influenced fine-dining restaurant Pangium recently, Clovis Taittinger, the managing director of the famed champagne brand, shares that the bubbles in champagne are an enthralling element of his favourite memory of the tipple.

Reflecting on his childhood memories of his family’s Sunday lunch tradition, where champagne would make an appearance, the Frenchman shares whimsically: “As a kid, it was a pleasure to look at the bubbles coming up to the glass that seem to represent the infinite energy. Till today, the bubbles fascinate me as they are magical. The bubbles connect me to memories and are a kind of escape.”

The “At the Table of Thibaud IV – Count of Champagne” event by Stellarie. (Photo: Stellarie)

Taittinger was in town for a champagne gala dinner organised by Stellarie, a recently launched members-only luxury lifestyle platform for astutely curated arts and cultural experiences. The dinner, which was held in partnership with Bank of Singapore, also marked the overseas debut of “At the Table of Thibaud IV – Count of Champagne”, Taittinger’s specially created soundscape, which immerses diners back to 13th century France with a mediaeval-inspired banquet at neo-French restaurant Claudine.

The dinner also showcased Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2013 in Asia Pacific for the first time. The prestige cuvee, made entirely from Chardonnay grapes from Grand Cru vineyards in Champagne, is only available when the quality of the harvest is deemed to be worthy of a vintage year. The vibrant bubbly has notes of lemon confit, dried flowers, and chamomile, followed by passionfruit, ginger, and marzipan notes.

Champagne Taittinger

Clovis Taittinger and Harmin Kaur. (Photo: Stellaire)

Stellaire is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Harmin Kaur and Michael Lee. Kaur, an inspiring multi-hyphenate, is a Goldman Sachs private banker-turned-entrepreneur. She founded Women Venture Asia, which fosters an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region. Lee is the founder of brand agency Hustle & Bustle, which is best known for organising events such as Dale Chihuly’s art sculptures that were shown at Gardens by the Bay and Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience.

With Kaur being a champagne connoisseur (she was awarded the Chevalier of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne last year), she has formed a close relationship with many top champagne houses, including Taittinger.

For Taittinger and Kaur, it all started at a private wine event in the Taittinger family chateau a few years ago. Their shared passion for the artistry behind champagne forged a connection, leading them to envision a creative collaboration beyond the conventional ways of celebrating with champagne at parties and clubs.

Harmin says: “We met through a mutual passion for champagne. I have always appreciated the rich heritage and history behind the bottle, and Clovis has a family heritage that is very much alive. Champagne can be linked to art, culture, and history.

The result? A unique event that marries Taittinger’s centuries-old history with Stellarie’s vision of sharing the arts and culture. In true spirit, the dinner weaved the mediaeval history of champagne into a contemporary narrative. This marks Stellaire’s second event. Last September, it debuted its L’Art De Vivre series with a charity gala dinner by renowned French chef Yannick Alléno, whose 14 restaurants have received 15 Michelin stars.

The event also saw a charity auction, which supported the Association Antoine Alléno, a charity set up in memory of his son, Antoine, who was killed in 2021 in a hit-and-run accident in Paris, and Singapore’s Community Chest, offering meaningful contributions to meaningful causes.

From banking to bubbles

Champagne Taittinger

Photo: Stellaire

As the scion of the third-oldest champagne house in the world, Clovis’ entry into the family business was not preordained. “When you’re young, you have different wishes and ambitions,” he shares. However, fate intervened when the family dramatically sold in 2005. Back then, the Taittinger family owned an luxury empire, including French crystal maker Baccarat and Hotel de Crillon in Paris.

Within two years, his father, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, bought back the champagne house from American private equity fund Starwood Group for US$850 million ($1.14 billion). Convinced that a strong family spirit had to be behind Champagne Taittinger, Clovis was roped in to join the family business in 2007. Today, the company is headed by his sister, Vitalie, who has been the company’s president since 2019. Clovis is in charge of the “soft part”, as he calls it, handling marketing and international development.

“It was a way of helping my father — with a mission of eventually taking over (the business). We progressively started to learn more about the business, and the passion grew steadily over the years,” he shares.

What’s bubbling next for Champagne Taittinger?

Champagne Taittinger

Photo: Stellaire

Up next for the champagne house a new digital experience in its visitor centre in Reims that is expected to be completed by June — in time for the landmark Paris Olympics. Last year, Taittinger also launched Philanthropic ArsNova, a charitable foundation that consolidates the brand’s long-standing support for various causes in music, gastronomy and the arts. One of the culinary initiatives is the Champagne Taittinger’s Prestigious Culinary Competition, which spotlights young and up-and-coming chefs.

This story originally published on The Peak Singapore.

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