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Champagne makers warm to Taittinger as French president

Champagne makers welcomed Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger's comments that he would like to run for French president in next year's elections, but there has been no further word from the man himself.

News of Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger’s candidature for the French presidency was unexpected for most of the Champagne region.

He has so far not commented on his plans, which have been widely reported by French national media since he announced his intention to run for president in an interview with the local l’Union newspaper.

Many in Champagne have wished him well.

‘I had no idea of Taittinger’s intentions and only found out when the announcement was made in l’Union,’ said Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, chef de cave and executive vice-president at Champagne Roederer.

‘Taittinger is well known for his generosity and his commitment to great and beautiful causes,’ he told Decanter.com.

Charles Philipponnat, general manager at the eponymous Champagne house, said, ‘It’s a very cheeky move for which I have a lot of sympathy.

‘Even if his chances are rather slim, I feel that as a business manager he will be able to push through some common sense ideas.’

Michel Loriot, of Champagne Apollonis, threw his full support behind a bid. ‘Taittinger is exactly the type of person the French society has been waiting for,’ he said, adding that Pierre-Emmanuel’s good business sense and lack of entanglement in day-to-day politics would be bonuses.

‘Taittinger has an open and analytical mind, and knows how to make everyone feel important. But most importantly, he is a man of peace.’

L’Union’s article came on the same day that two unions for growers and houses in Champagne (SGV and UMC) gathered to decide on 2016 harvest yields.

A plaque for Champagne’s Unesco world heritage status, achieved in 2015, was also unveiled. Taittinger did not attend either event.

Neither the SGV nor UMC, or the Comité Champagne, wanted to comment on Taittinger’s candidacy for president. He would need 500 signatures of support to run.

Editing by Chris Mercer

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