What could be more Los Angeles than a glass of bubbly? Whether it is the prickle of Barefoot pink moscato or the creamy friction of Dom Perignon, wine with bubbles is the drink of the fabulist and the arriviste. L A in spades. Jeridan Frye is a U S brand ambassador for Ruinart Champagne which is a ‘maison’ within the famed LVMH champagne portfolio along with Moet, Krug and others. We talk about the phenomenon of ‘lifestyle’ that fuels the success of a classic brand like Ruinart. What is it? How does one attain to a champagne ‘lifestyle’? The people at LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey) know well and each of their champagne brands generate a unique frisson in associations with art, cuisine, travel and collectibility. In total: luxury. Jeridan is a communicator and she tends toward the subject of the extreme quality of Ruinart and its history. Since it is literally the first house of champagne, formed in 1729, there is a good story to tell. Since the wine is made from grapes of nearly unsurpassed quality and is masterfully crafted, Jeridan brings good news to her audiences of distributors, collectors, restaurant staff, colleagues and consumers. Then they get to drink Ruinart. But what about ‘lifestyle’? This week the Frieze Art Festival arrives in Los Angeles. This is where Ruinart will be seen in the hands of festival-goers. Some will qualify as ‘influencers’ and post like mad. Ruinart has sponsored an artist to execute a Ruinart-themed project. Attendees gazing at each other over flutes of champagne will see the like-minded. The bubbles stimulate emotion and celebration so it’s said. Jeridan is part of a team of marketers and logisticians who make the brand tick and make sure that it is seen in the right places. As you can hear in our talk, she loves her work. Not a bad gig.
At a certain point in the interview, speaking about blanc de blanc champagne, Jeriden refers to champagne ‘houses’ or ‘producers’ as opposed to champagne ‘growers’. To explain the distinction, Ruinart or Moet is a ‘house’. ‘Growers’ are small-scale grape farmers that in the past generation or two, by and large, have come to making champagne with their own grapes under their own name after traditionally selling their grapes to the larger ‘houses’ (such as Ruinart). Being a champagne ‘house’, in turn, means that you tend not to own the vineyards to meet your large production needs and that you must depend on usually many different farmers for the necessary grapes.