Wine drinkers worldwide will know Famille Perrin as the producers of world-renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which has been produced on the family’s Beaucastel estate since 1909. Château de Beaucastel is in it’s fifth generation as a business run by Famille Perrin, who are also part of PFV, an international association of the world’s finest wine-producing families. With heritage like that, you might not think a move to wine on tap was in the offing, but, says Andrew Bayley, the General Manager of the Famille Perrin UK, in the wine trade heritage and innovation go hand in hand…
Famille Perrin is a family business in the true sense of the word. It’s not only family owned, but family run. “In a corporate environment decisions are made on a short term basis,” says Bayley, “because they are only thinking about what happens in the next quarter or at the end of that particular fiscal year. But in a family business like Famille Perrin, they’re thinking about their children and their grandchildren. So they are truly planning for the future. If they don’t see results of something for 40 years, then that’s ok. They are thinking about the benefit to the next generation.”
This completely different approach is the reason that these families, loaded with history and heritage, always have an eye on the future. Famille Perrin were pioneers in organic farming as early as the 1950s, and in the 1970s began paving the way for the biodynamic revolution in wine making. “In terms of innovation, they are always one step ahead,” says Bayley, “And that’s why they didn’t need any persuasion to move towards wine on tap.”
The family is best known throughout the world for its flagship wine, Château de Beaucastel, which is one of the top Châteauneufs in the world. But they are unique in terms of the size, complexity and depth of their portfolio. “Perhaps the greatest strength of our proposition is that we have quality everyday wines from £7 a bottle, all the way up to super-premium wines at £400 a bottle,” says Bayley. “And because of this we export worldwide and are always aware of our consumer, and consumer trends.” It was their knowledge of the American market – their biggest customers – that alerted them to the trend for wine on tap.
“We became very much aware of the movement to wine in kegs in the US, and realised that it was an area that was only going to grow,” says Bayley. “We support it wholeheartedly because it’s a great way to deliver wine in the best condition possible to the consumer. As a winegrower that’s your ultimate goal: to deliver perfect wine.” And so, they are partnering with lovewineontap.com to supply their wine in kegs to the UK market for the first time. “While the trend is still evolving here, the wines we’re providing are quality everyday drinking wines, above-house quality. The kind customers are looking for,” he says.
This will include Côtes du Rhône Blanc Réserve, Côtes du Rhône Rouge Réserve and the La Vieille Ferme Rosé; chosen for their drinkability and suitability. “La Vieille Ferme has been part our offering for 50 years – it’s one of our most widely distributed ranges – and the Rosé has been hugely successful in the last few years due to the increase in consumption of blush wines,” he says. “And our heart lies very much in the south of the Rhône, so the Côtes du Rhône is a key wine for us, and very much embodies our brand values of quality and blending skills.”
In the south of France – where adverse weather, extremes in temperature and frosts at new and unusual times of year are all becoming more common – a major factor already affecting wine growers is global warming. For Famille Perrin it’s here that they must look to solve new problems, and where their penchant for innovation will come in handy once again. And while their main consideration for wine on tap was quality, Bayley adds, “as a side-effect the positive environmental impact due to reduction of bottles and transportation costs is certainly part of the story. It’s a another great benefit of the format.”
Find out how to order Famille Perrin wines on tap here