Named Champagne Educator of the Year 2012 by Harpers magazine Jayne Powell (aka Champagne Jayne, @champagnejayne) is an in-demand corporate speaker who runs a global consultancy aimed at bringing a better understanding of champagne to anyone who wants to get closer to this romantic drink.
Winner of the Gourmand 2011 Best French Wine Book (Australia) Award for her book “Champagnes – Behind The Bubbles”, Jayne regularly hosts champagne ‘edutainment’ nights for clients around the world – including many Australian Top 100 companies such as Ernst & Young, IBM, Qantas and Westpac.
A fluent speaker in French, Jayne is considered a friend to family members of many champagne houses in France and a great ambassador for champagne internationally.
Her palette remains a ‘free agent’, unrestricted by any brand allegiance and her mission in life is to make this icon of luxury accessible to all. Jayne is a regular commentator on Australian TV and was recently awarded “Dame Chevalier de L’Ordre des Coteaux” for her services to the global champagne industry. She has presented at The Champagne Summit (London), Gourmand World CookBook Fair (Paris) and at the Sydney International Food and Melbourne Food & Wine Festivals (Australia).
So, just who is Champagne Jayne?
Nicknamed “The Champagne Socialist” by the UK’s Financial Times, Sydney-based international award winning champagne educator/ author and media personality Jayne Powell is the blogger behind CHAMPAGNEJAYNE (@champagnejayne). One woman whirlwind Jayne splits her time between Australia, France and the UK spreading the good news about the greatest wines on Earth wherever she goes!
What inspired you to start Champagne Jayne?
I fell in love with champagne on my first visit to France on a teenage school exchange programme after watching way too many Bond movies! As soon as I turned 18 I joined The Sunday Times Wine Club and whilst working for an international business magazine publisher started my first champagne networking club for industry colleagues in the mid 1990s. When I emigrated to Australia in 2000 and began studying wine more formally, I was aghast to discover there were few champagne choices available down under and even less education about them. This prompted me to launch my own “edutainment” (education thats entertaining not stuffy) consultancy in 2003, dedicated to bringing a better understanding of champagne to anyone who wants to get closer to this romantic drink and helping corporate clients uncork more business and pleasure. I began writing about champagne for the special events industry in 2005 and launched my blog www.champagnejayne.com in early 2009.
And where do you see it going?
In five years time I plan to be hosting my own television series about champagne, speaking at conferences around the world and regularly taking groups of fellow champagne lovers behind the scenes in Champagne to celebrate once-in-a-lifetime magical champagne discoveries. In the past year I’ve won 3 prestigious international champagne awards and spoken at 3 international conferences, so my dream to democratise champagne is already in progress – Yippee!
Tell us a bit about Champagne Jayne.
Whether you are looking to celebrate a significant personal milestone, reward key corporate clients, integrate new executives, motivate your team or accelerate brand adoption in your industry, a scintillating champagne jayne presentation will not only inform, entertain and engage your audience, but also be specifically designed to connect them more closely to your brand, thereby increasing their loyalty and longterm value to your business. Our motto is “where business and pleasure meet”.
What does it mean to you?
For me “Champagne” isn’t about being snobby, posh or saving up to celebrate weddings, job promotions or anniversaries. It is the ultimate icebreaker and affordable luxury in life. Champagne wines are light, balanced and wonderfully flavoursome, making them a perfect partner for food – moreover champagne turns any occasion into a celebration and its such a diverse category that there is a perfect champagne for every moment and the perfect moment for every champagne. The history of champagne itself is a torrid tale of sex, politics and religion which absolutely fascinates me and most importantly a glass of champagne always makes me feel like I’m on holiday!
What makes a Champagne Jayne Masterclass so special?
The beauty of a Champagne Jayne Masterclass is its absolute independence, integrity and energy – we’re not a wine club and we don’t act for any particular distributor, retailer or importer so we take the focus off the individual brand or style and help people lean more about the whole Champagne category without feeling pressured to purchase. We also place a huge emphasis on having a lot of fun and our mission is to ensure that afterwards you can comfortably navigate a restaurant wine list or off-licence champagne shelf with joy not trepidation.
For #FBC12 we have created a special “spritzer session” featuring 3 different styles of champagne to give attendees an overview of the champagne category and a small taste of its fascinating history. On Friday 28th September, as a precursor to the 3rd anniversary of Global Champagne Day on October 28th, Champagne Jayne will be showcasing Moet Brut Imperial, Lanson Gold 2002 and Tarlant rose brut zero.
What are you most looking forward to about #FBC12?
Since launching my consultancy in 2003 I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with world class chefs and major food and wine festivals where I’ve edutained Australia’s top bloggers and the media, as well as conducting corporate masterclasses for Top 100 companies. At FBC12 I’m really looking forward to connecting with local food bloggers to help make champagne more accessible here in its European heartland.
Do you have a blog?
Yes I blog on champagne education, eat and drink and trends and tastes at www.champagnejayne.com
Who is your favourite food/beverage blogger?
On the food front I’m quite entertained by the Irish lass who is obsessed with bacon and blogs at www.eatlikeagirl.com. On the wine front I love the words of Jancis Robinson who blogs at www.purplepages.com but for real insight into the Champagne region I can’t go past the authentic musings of Richard Geoffoy, Chef de Caves at Champagne Dom Perignon for more than 20 years who blogs at www.makingdomperignon.com.
What effect are food bloggers having on the country’s food & beverage scene?
Since more than 90% of buying decisions now start with online research or peer recommendations, the explosion of food bloggers has helped consumers become much more informed about what’s on offer in the dining scene and at the same helped small restaurants/ bars of quality (who usually lack budget or time for marketing) to punch above their weight – this is a win-win situation for local restaurants/bars and their customers.
What’s your favourite new ‘trend’ on the British food scene at the moment?
I’m totally loving the idea of pop-up dining experiences where an enthusiastic foodie team takes over a temporary space to deliver a unique food and wine matching experience all marketed via social media. Naturally I’m also a big fan of the trend towards new champagne bars across London which feature examples of regional grower champagnes rather than just the usual big champagne brands. Some of them even offer food matched flights – diversity is one of the most exciting things about champagne which most consumers are blissfully unaware of.