The 2005 Prix du Champagne Lanson has been cancelled, the UK’s wine writers were told late last week.
The decision was made just before Christmas but no official announcement has yet been made, according to spokeswoman Deborah Collinson.
‘It’s a great shame, as we’ve lost something exclusively focused on wine and which was judged by wine professionals,’ Tim Atkin MW, winner of last year’s Wine Writer of the Year award said.
Collinson said Marne et Champagne, Lanson’s parent company, plans to relaunch the awards in 2006, but industry insiders question the probability of the awards ever being reincarnated in their current format.
‘I know Lanson is going through some difficulties at the moment,’ says John Radford, a previous Lanson winner, ‘so whether or not they will carry on with the awards next year remains to be seen. It may well be that one of the other Champagne houses will jump at the opportunity.’
Another Lanson winner, Andrew Jefford said, ‘Whether or not the Lansons reappear depends on the financial health and marketing vision of the company. The prize needs someone large in order to finance what must be a fairly major investment.’
Jefford added that if a multinational like Gallo or Constellation took over the awards he would have ‘misgivings’ about entering and ‘providing some sort of tacit endorsement for the further global expansion of the company concerned.’
The UK Circle of Wine Writers, which has been a co-sponsor of the awards since their inception, says it will have no further involvement in light of Marne et Champagne’s failure to inform the Circle of its decision to cancel.
Written by Natasha Hughes