Fabrice Rosset has been president of Deutz since 1996. A judoka full of energy, drive, and aplomb, he repositioned Deutz among the very best Champagne houses, with its Brut and Rosé champagnes having received gold and silver awards at London’s prestigious International Wine Challenge. He also masterminded Amour de Deutz, a relatively new prestige cuvée that has become one of the most acclaimed blanc de blancs champagnes. He explains how the success of Deutz all boils down to one thing: striving for quality without accepting complacency.

What was the situation of Deutz when you arrived? What changes did you implement?

Our main shareholder, Louis Roederer, needed a white knight to express the dormant potential of this beautiful Champagne house. Since its foundation in 1838, the history of Deutz has proved glorious. Vicissitudes of life have created some ups and downs, but the house maintained a great image. After careful evaluation, we reinforced the idea of having something in our hands that promised a bright future.

It took quite a lot of investment to restore the technical equipment to ensure excellent productivity. We invested over 20 million in automated riddling machines, new bottling chains, and enhanced storage facilities. This may sound industrial, but it is an advantage because we have advanced in the regularity and consistency in our work. The word consistency is a leitmotif at Deutz; consistency in the philosophy of vine growing and winemaking to produce high quality, sustainably. But consistency does not mean having your head in the sand with respect to technological advancements of any kind.

Consistency is a leitmotif at Deutz; consistency in the philosophy of vine growing and winemaking to produce high quality, sustainably.

There was also a scarcity of distribution channels that had to be reorganized.

What is the Deutz style today and what can we find in your wines?

You find the same passion and thread that had existed for decades, and a quality that has been steadily increasing. Forgive me if I sound pretentious by stressing that we consistently rank among the top six producers of champagne for the quality and consistency of our wines.

The style of Deutz is based on an idea of vinosity, which is not dominating, together with elegance, without the wine becoming too light. There is a recurrent complexity in our champagnes, which is already noticeable in our Brut Classic­–a collection of 35-40 different wines from different terroirs and all three grape varieties (chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot meunier)–up to our prestige cuvées William Deutz, which is rich and complex, but always elegant.

The style of Deutz is based on an idea of vinosity, which is not dominating, together with elegance, without the wine becoming too light.

Amour de Deutz, our newest prestige cuvée, carries almost a subliminal aspect of chardonnay with a certain idea of power but retaining always the elegance and delicacy so typical of blanc de blancs champagnes.

Why did you add a second prestige cuvée when you already had William Deutz?

The genesis of Amour de Deutz finds its origins in my personal admiration for our Vintage Blanc de Blancs. I was a big fan of William Deutz, but given the great quality and richness of our chardonnay supplies, why not seek the ultimate expression of this beautiful variety? The decision was based on the intrinsic quality of our supplies of chardonnay rather than marketing, going beyond this idea that houses should have only one prestige cuvée. Around 80% of our vineyard is located within a radius of 30 km around Aÿ, with 60 grape suppliers passionate about their work, just as we are. Eighty percent of our grape supplies come from grands and premiers crus. So, this incredible raw material plus our know-how in making great blanc de blancs led us to isolate part of these supplies in chardonnay to make Amour de Deutz.

Since your arrival, Deutz has quadrupled its sales volumes. What is the secret of this success?

We focused on quality, and sales volumes followed. There are few houses that have accomplished this in such a relatively short amount of time, and we attribute it to our strive for quality without accepting complacency.

Today Deutz is recognized as one of the finest Champagne houses. What do you envision for the future?

As long as quality or style is never affected, why not increase volumes? There are emerging countries where the culture of wine is rising. The only limiting factor would be in the grape supplies. For the rest, I have the talents of my team and I think that there are channels of distribution that will be happy to have a brand like Deutz.

Are you also looking to increase the price of your champagnes?

The sale price is an element that positions the brand, but I do not think that it is the main element to describe a quality brand. Of course, we must cover our costs and be able to continue investing in quality, but high price is not our driving factor. I love the expression of value for money even though it is vague and subjective. Value for money is one of the strengths of Deutz; one of the elements that has earned us respect with savvy consumers. In other words, we are not the most expensive, in spite of what I mentioned about the great crus that we use and the precision in winemaking, posing emphasis on aging and in using reserve wines. These production costs are relatively high, but we keep our prices reasonable and we have no desire to exaggerate them.

The sale price is an element that positions the brand, but I do not think that it is the main element to describe a quality brand.Value for money is one of the strengths of Deutz.

What does champagne mean to you?

Champagne is an emotion, passion, know-how and finally, it’s a lifestyle.

Champagne is an emotion, passion, know-how and finally, it’s a lifestyle.

What would the world be like without champagne?

It would be a day without sunshine.

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