Opening a vintage wine without finishing the bottle: it is now possible with a Bag-in-Box of 75 centilitres. A small revolution in the world of wine at the instigation of the start-up Charles & César.
Jean Guyon, decorator and owner of Domaines Rollan de By, likes to break codes. At Vinexpo in 2002, he stood out by covering his entire stand with three-liter Bacchus boxes. In a format previously reserved for standard wines, his five vintages were presented in bag-in-boxes, each one embellished with a design by the fashion designer Escada. He was right twenty years too early.
When the young wine merchants Charles and César Larraqué asked him to launch a new formula, a chic cubi for great wines in 75 centiliter format, he did not hesitate. An attractive concept.
“After a trip or a day of work, when you come home, you sometimes feel like having a good glass of wine. Nothing like it to relax. But you hesitate to open a bottle, because you are not sure to finish it before the content oxidizes,” says Jean Guyon.
After working in the family business Larraqué Vins International, brothers Charles and César Larraqué wanted to shake up the establishment in Bordeaux and created the start-up Charles & César on March 17, 2020.
A new UFO soon on the shelves of supermarkets
“We want to make quality wines more accessible. This is why we have named this new range Les Grands Vins au Verre“, explains Charles Larraqué. Presented in a Bag-in-Box, the wine can be kept for three to four weeks. The price of this new format is equivalent to that of a glass bottle, although it represents an additional cost.
Three owners of great Bordeaux wines have embarked on the adventure : Château Rollan de By (Médoc, €16.95), Château Fonréaud (Listrac-Médoc, €14.95), Château Ferrand (Pomerol, €18.95). “If this breakthrough innovation is successful, we could later offer a Pessac-Léognan white and a Saint-Emilion,” says Charles.
Bag-in-Boxes often lack elegance. Here, it’s class! The wine is presented in an elegant upright box, the same height as a bottle, beveled at the top so consumers don’t confuse it with a traditional box. More practical than aesthetic, the BiB’s short Vitop tap is located on the back side.
Auchan, Carrefour, Cora, Match and some Edouard Leclerc are keen to introduce this new UFO on their shelves from March 2022, according to the Bordeaux-based power duo. “We are also targeting high-end restaurants, because they want to be able to expand their offer by the glass. Airline companies are also interested in the reduced weight of the box,” says César Larraqué.
Talking heads with a history of success
It is true that the two brothers are not at their first attempt in this field. In 2021, they launched the Bag-in-Box Duo containing two 1.5 liter bags of two different wines. The Duo, called “Ready to Serve,” offers two references: one cubitainer with a gourmet Bordeaux Supérieur and a robust Médoc ; another with an aromatic white Bordeaux and a refreshing Bordeaux Rosé. So there is something for everyone. Everyone is happy ! Everyone stays friends !
“The clientele is aging, the 50/65 year olds are the main buyers. We bury more wine drinkers than we baptize future recruits,” says Charles. Young people are more into Coca-Cola, beer and spirits than wine. It’s no use showing them châteaux and wineries. You have to reach out to them in the fashion, sports and music worlds. We have planned five events with the agency Otrement Event, including a concert with Grand Corps Malade.”
Desperados is a good example of marketing. The tequila-flavored lager has conquered the youth.
On a similar model, but with the label “luxury”, the two brothers have launched the brand B(ord)EAUX PARLEURS, red, white and rosé Bordeaux wines dedicated to young hipsters. On social networks, and especially Instagram, we see young chic relaxed, a glass in hand, in a party, on a sunny terrace or by the pool. The bottle is on sale for €5.5!
“We have landed with 320,000 bottles in 2021, sold in France, Belgium and Luxembourg. We are aiming for 500,000 bottles in 2022.” The startup is proud to show a global turnover of 3 M€ in 2021 (forecasted 5 M€ in 2022), 2/3 of which are realized thanks to their own brands (Bag-in-Box Duo and BEAUX PARLEURS) and 1/3 with partnerships with Bordeaux châteaux.
Just like Michel & Augustin, who knew how to play with the codes and become successful, we can imagine that Charles & César could be as famous as the troublemakers of the cookie tomorrow.
Featured photo : © Rollan de By
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