Champagne or sparkling wine, is it worth the extra £10?

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Champagne is a sparkling wine produced by a traditional method (Known as “Method Champenoise”) in the Champagne region around Reims and Épernay in north-eastern France. The word is derived from the Latin campagna, meaning countryside, a name given to this area of France since the Middle Ages. Although other French wine-producing regions claim to have made sparkling wine earlier, this was the first place to produce it in any significant quality or quantity.

The primary aim of this seminar is to act as a suitable means to educate the audience on the subject of Champagne, while also identifying cost effective alternatives available to the consumer in the United Kingdom.  

The seminar intends to provide a comprehensible definition of Champagne as a product by examining a number of sources and consolidating the information into one succinct description.  The seminar should then analyse the Champagne market both from a national and international perspective with reference to consumer trends, market leaders and consumer demographics.

Following this, the seminar shall construct a benchmarking criterion using reputable Champagne available to the UK consumer.  Reviews of the product shall be consulted in an effort to get a greater insight into its properties and characteristics, and it shall also be sampled to assist effective description.  From this criterion, three widely available sparkling wines will be assessed and awarded points accordingly.  A model Champagne alternative shall be identified and the decision justified followed by a conclusion and opportunity for audience questions.


In order to compile and deliver an effective seminar the most important factor to consider is the planning aspect.  If suitable planning is carried out early and time to be spent on the piece is structured accordingly, it reduces last minute pressures and ensures that the content is the best that it can be.  It also ensures that the copious amounts of research commonly associated with seminars and presentations can be spread across a manageable period to limit the possibility of ‘information overload’.

Before preparing an action plan it is necessary to first decide upon the content of the seminar.  What follows is a breakdown of what will be included in the presentation, subject by subject with a synopsis of what is anticipated each topic will comprise.

  • Champagne – A Definition.

This may include an identification of current reputable wine critics and their personal definitions of champagne as well as the standard dictionary definition.  The different views will be consolidated to form one simple description.

  • Market Analysis.

This section may include statistical data including consumer types, trends and demographics.  The primary aim of this section is to set the scene of the Champagne industry.  It should have UK specific data as well as an International perspective.  It should identify the most popular Champagne in the UK as well as who buys it and when they buy it.  This section should not be overloaded with blinding statistics.  It should include a summary of key information, rather than over supply irrelevant facts.

  • Benchmarking Criteria.

This section will examine a popular and reputable Champagne available to the UK market and use this to build a benchmarking criterion.  The views of reputable wine critics shall also be consulted in an effort to limit the possibility of personal opinions of products get in the way of impartial rating.

  • Analysis of Sparkling Wines.

This section will examine a range (three to four) of commonly available sparkling wines sold in the UK using the aforementioned criterion and scored point accordingly.  If possible, a panel shall be elected of both wine and ‘non-wine’ drinkers to discourage subjective analysis.  Electing a model Champagne alternative and justifying the decision will conclude this section.

  • Conclusion.

This section will conclude on the findings of the presentation.  It will also attempt to gauge the level of learning achieved.  It will consist of a summary of the piece of work, as well as questions to the audience to ascertain if anything has actually been learned.  It will in addition discuss the inherently subjective nature of the results, and recommend that the audience try the wines personally in order to obtain an accurate description.

  • Audience Questions

This section will act as an opportunity for the audience ask any questions regarding the content of the presentation, or anything which they feel has not been covered sufficiently.

  • Supplementary Reading.

This will come in the form of a handout that will be distributed to the audience after the seminar.  It may contain additional information which there was not time for in the main presentation, or may contain information which might be of interest to the audience should they wish to sample wines in their own homes.

With this information in mind, it becomes much easier to structure a formal action plan by which to structure the research, compilation and rehearsal of the presentation.

One more important factor not to be forgotten is the integration of visual into the presentation.  A number of options are available

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The most suitable visual aid to be employed to accompany the presentation would be the computerised presentation in an attempt to enliven the seminar and encourage the audience to listen attentively.

The following is a structured action plan which will be adhered to as closely as possible in the weeks leading to the seminar:-


The term Champagne can mean many different things to many different people.  In an attempt to gauge the audiences’ preconceptions of the subject, it would be most appropriate to start with a question:

What’s the first thing ...

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