A while ago now we embarked on a project that seemed a little bit daft, but we did it anyway. How do you help increase the profile of one your Champagne agencies? You build a bike, obviously… Here’s the story of the Lallier Bike and what we plan to do with it next:

A chap from Scarborough hops on to a plane and gets off at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris. By the time he’s next there, he will have committed to building a bike that looks like a bottle of Champagne.

There may well be a slight bending of the truth in my retelling of that story, but in all fairness, I wasn’t there. Deb was though and here’s what she wrote about it in the Spring/Summer edition of Boutinot In One:

This starts in May 2016 in Champagne Lallier, Aÿ. Lunch with customers (Steve, Graham & David) overlooking the Côte des Blancs.

 We drank Francis Tribault’s Grand Cru Ouvrage – his ‘great work’ – and discussed the challenge that small family Champagne houses have with small budgets against the big boys with big bucks for consumer advertising and sponsorship. But amongst the plethora of ‘stuff’ how do you get Lallier noticed.

 Talk turned to buying a bike and badging it as Lallier. Serendipity… David [Chambers] was an amateur bike builder in his spare time (between running a successful 4* hotel) and offered to build a bike – bespoke, unique, his ‘great work’.”

So not in the shape of a Champagne bottle then? Thanks Deb.

We’re 2½ years on from that champagne-filled trip, this top-spec bike is now a reality, and she’s a beauty! Check her out here.

So now what? The bike has already featured in a number of shop windows up and down the country but there’s more we can do. As Deb wrote in that same article: “We can pretend to have a smart PR & marketing plan for the bike – we haven’t.” Not yet anyway, but we’re working on that!

This is a project that is all about quality: quality as a result of the hard work of passionate craftsmen. Unlike most Champagne Houses, Francis Tribault and his wife Isabelle are both owners and winemakers. As Cellar Master and Estate Manager, Francis himself has a hand in every aspect of production at Lallier, from vineyard to bottling. Everything Francis and Isabelle do is about producing Champagne of the highest quality, and boy is that evident when you crack open a bottle and take a sip! This is not detached mass-produced, rapper-endorsed plonk. Instead, Champagne Lallier is humble and human, it’s family-owned, family-made and bloomin’ good wine!

Which brings us back to the bike: the humblest form of transport, other than bare-foot walking, but nobody really does that… It might have started out as a “stupid idea” around the dinner table, but now it’s here and we want you to share it with us. So, if carbon fibre tubing and Shimano groupsets get your juices flowing, or if you just want an excuse to feature some fantastic wines for your customers, please get in touch and we’ll see what we can do!

As for David, boarding his plane back to the UK after the trip, he now had a project he might not have anticipated having taken on just a few days earlier and it was all rather exciting. 9 months and countless hours of hard work later, did he regret it? Not at all. He’d taken a dream and turned it into something he was proud of – after all, it’s what craftsmen do.