Champagne,  Interviews

Carrying on the Legacy. Exclusive Interview: Vitalie Taittinger CEO, Taittinger Champagne

Taittinger, the renowned family-run champagne house is under new leadership. Now guiding the maison into the future is Vitalie Taittinger.

There is much more to this champagne family than meets the eye. There is a great exuberance and spirit that is evident in everything they do. A sparkle and energy, a powerful passion for the fine wine and all that is encompasses, including joy in the art of living and enjoying simple pleasures, of creativity, good food, time shared with loved ones, a respect and reverence for tradition while embracing today and moving with grace into the future. Each precious drop of their champagne carries the essence of their dedication, passion, personal stories and legacy. This is very evident in our introduction to Vitalie and feeling her energy, love for champagne, the family business – its future is definitely bright!

EAT LOVE SAVOR® Editor in Chief Angela Tunner had the great pleasure of chatting with Vitalie Tattinger – we share with you that conversation.

VITALIE TAITTINGER

What was it like to be raised in the Taittinger wine family, one so steeped in Wine heritage and history? How did this inform you and your direction in life?

My parents never wanted to influence us in a way or another. My father was of course working at Taittinger but we were not running in the cellars, in the vineyards…just sometimes during the harvest, we were going to the press houses and tasted the juice, so good!!… but that’s it! So, I grew up thinking only about what I wanted to do, I studied art, I started working by myself…I just realized that Taittinger could be my life when my father fought to rebuy the company after it has been sold in 2005. It was a huge battle and when he finally managed with the help of the Credit Agricole du Nord Est to take back the company in the family, I have been very impressed by the power of his faith, his courage.

The repurchase of your family business from the US private investment firm that bought it was an incredible display of the sensitivity to the importance of the champagne house and demonstrates great value and unity of the industry and its preservation. After studying art and writing your book, what led you back to the family business and sparked that passion and purpose for you? 

​When my father succeeded, I thought that if he had done that it was to keep this history, his history in family. At that time none of us were involved in the business and I decided to ask him if there was any chance for me to learn working with him at the Champagne House. At the beginning it was not so obvious for him, not really the background expected for that, but I insisted a lot!

Finally he accepted to have me work for the Champagne house but as a consultant. For me it was a good beginning! When I arrived the first day in the headquarter, I understood that I would stay for a while!!! I felt at once as if it was natural, obvious… So I worked, and worked…The marketing director, Dominique Garréta, was very strong and smart. Everything was interesting to me and I learnt a lot with her. We started to rebuild the image of Taittinger, expressing this new page of the company in every tools. I became the face of the brand and two years after, my father finally decided to make me enter definitely as an employee! Victory!!

Your family has a strong sensibility to honor traditions, keep up standards and move into the modern age. How do you foresee Taittinger moving into the future?

​​We will continue to consider that everything has to stay alive! We always try to improve at all the stages : vineyards, elaboration of the wines, team management, marketing of course, communication!!! World is changing and we want to be part of keeping our values and sensitivity! We are never sleeping on this beautiful patrimony which is of course a great asset, but not the guarantee of everything! I think that in a way, the fact that we had to rebuy our company, our roots, is very important in the way we feel today. We are conscient that everything can disappear if we are not moving ourselves everyday; The three of us, my father, my brother Clovis and I are hundred percent committed and passionate.We will continue to build strongly, always improving the quality of our cuvées. What will be the projects of the future years? Many!!! We put all the bases but now we have to optimize everything, to push the value of each asset of the company. I will not reveal everything, continuing on the same way written by my father, my brother and I, and the rest of the team of couse, we have many things to achieve!!

The house has been expanding into other regions; what are your plans and expectations for your plantings in the UK?

​​Planting in the area of Kent, we are expecting to create great wines and improve our vision of sparkling! This represents a fantastic opportunity to rejuvenate our vision, to discover new flavours, new approaches…. and the fact that we are building this adventure with our British friends and importer, the Hatch Mansfield team and Patrick McGrath, is an additional pleasure!

We love the quote from your father “we cultivate wine, not egos at Taittinger”, we see a great reverence for duty blended with spirit of family pride but also with a healthy dose of creativity and modernity. How does this and your personal interest in artistic creation and the value of openness and inquisitiveness factor into your plans for the future of Taittinger champagne? 

​I think that we lead the future being strongly what we are! We can’t avoid being ourselves but we never forget that we are not the project! We are here to serve the wine, to do our best for this magical champagne house, to deserve the trust of the 250 people who are working here! So, no fear, no ego, but a serious amount of work.

What are some of the maison’s ambitions in the coming years under your leadership? What sort of mark on its legacy overall do you hope to make?

​I think that as I said before we will continue the way we started with my father and improve everything. At this stage doing that and keeping this company in family to be able to pass it on one day to our children would be great. Of course, growing up we will cross some opportunities… I know that we will be able to take some, the good ones!

How does your artistic and poetic approach to life inform how you will run Taittinger?

You will probably be more able than I to observe that… I am convinced that this is part of what I am, which drives all the way I see in life… this is more a “between the lines” approach.

Champagne is a beverage linked to celebration, but also one suitable for the celebration of life itself, a more special and meaningful life and for pairing in everyday situations; how do you see champagne interwoven with life today?

​​I see Champagne as a magical product! It has two faces : one which is linked to the fact that it is a symbol of all that is positive in life: celebration, love, happiness …it has even the power to turn a bad mood into a good one…this means that it can be enjoyed at every moment linked to personal emotions! The second and very important face is that Champagne is an extraordinary wine. It can be used in every situation of everyday. In fact, it can be paired to any moment in your life !

For more information about Taittinger Champagne, visit

https://www.taittinger.com


About Vitalie Taittinger

Vitalie Taittinger, daughter of Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, was born in Reims in 1979, where she still lives today. She graduated from the Emile Cohl School of Art in Lyon after spending 4 years (from 1997 to 2001) studying the various applied art techniques used in illustration and graphic design. 

As soon as she graduated, she wrote a monograph dedicated to the surrealist painter Alfred Courmes in collaboration with Gilles Bernard. This was published by ‘Le Cherche Midi’ in 2004. The book has a preface written by the philosopher Michel Onfray. 

Keeping up with the entrepreneurship spirit which has always characterised her family, Vitalie Taittinger created her own company in 2002 and developed numerous projects in the world of wine and gastronomy. 

She greatly admired her father’s brave decision to regain ownership of the Taittinger Champagne House and, wishing to support him in this new family adventure, joined the business in 2007. 

After 8 years working at the heart of the communication and marketing department, she was appointed at the Head of this department in 2015. Her mission is to develop and strengthen the brand’s image and reputation. Vitalie also acts as an ambassador for Taittinger champagne around the world, as well as an inspiration for the Champagne House. 

As part of her ongoing commitment at Taittinger, Vitalie took over the presidency in 2017 of the Regional Contemporary Art Fund Champagne Ardenne as well as the presidency of the ‘Platform’ association (reuniting 23 Regional Funds for Contemporary Art) in 2018. 

She divides her time between a busy professional life and a lovely family of 4 children. 

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