Reims Tourism Office offers free Champagne to promote tourism

Attracting tourists post-Covid is undoubtedly a challenge. The Greater Reims Council has launched a new initiative called “Champagne, to make your summer awesome!” Visitors to the city will be treated to a bottle of grower Champagne. The greeting has an undeniably elegant touch, though there are some strings attached.


A total of 3,000 bottles, sourced from 68 different producers, will be given (one/adult) to those who qualify. The giveaway is said to have cost €50,000.


This initiative was launched July 15 and is subject to certain criteria. To qualify, tourists must spend at least two consecutive nights in the City of Reims, or the surrounding area, and stay in a hotel, guesthouse or gîte. Airbnb does not qualify. Also, during their trip, visitors must eat in a local restaurant and order at least one dish and drink. Fast food outlets are excluded from the list. Finally, in order to qualify, tourists must provide proof that they have paid for one leisure activity, such as renting a kayak, a winery visit, bike hire, or cinema ticket. Once they have paid for these holiday treats, visitors are required to go to the Reims tourist information office to receive their complimentary bottle.

This follows news of poor sales of Champagne during the Covid-19 pandemic. Industry body Comité Champagne said that sales were down 32% for the period January to May compared to the same period in 2019.

Franco Stalteri on Champagne Charlie Burger ….. by Liz Palmer

If you’ve heard of Charlie’s Burgers, the stories have most likely been shrouded in mystery and intrigue. This auspicious, boundary-pushing, word-of-mouth popup-dining destination is the brainchild of Toronto resident Franco Stalteri.

I’m sitting down with Franco to discuss his latest venture “Champagne Charlie Burger” late December. Our meet-up took place at 416 Snack Bar one of his haunts and apparently a lively after-hours chefs’ hangout. The place is dark and sultry with the odd flicker of candle light and comfortable enough to interview and sip a glass or two of champagne without much notice.

Franco is probably one of the most stylish, driven, and savvy guys you’ll ever meet in Toronto and as Vice President, Brand Experiences at Your Brand Integrated Marketing Communications, he’s industry-connected!

LP -Tell me about Champagne Charlie Burger and the concept?

FS -Charlie’s Burgers has been around for over 3 ½ years and I thought it would be good idea to bring Champagne as an added feature to our events.

It’s been a one-year project from sourcing the house/grower, an agent and designing the label.

I found a champagne grower who was intrigued with my dining concept and the thought of combining it with champagne – he was willing to try something new.

LP -You sealed the deal and Champagne Charlie was born!

Franco presents Champagne Charlie Burger Blanc de Blancs Brut NV and strategically pours the champagne into my flute and his – we continue the conversation. I decline to eat as my focus was on the conversation and tasting notes.

LP -I’m very excited to hear …which are in the Champagne region, which classification, and which grower?

I pull out a map of the region.

FS -The village of Oger as he writes on the map. It’s located in the department of Marne, region of Champagne-Ardenne, and in district of Épernay.

Henry de Vaugency is an eighth-generation Champagne grower and family-owned.

All of the grapes are sourced from their own Grand Cru vineyards –They has over 12 hectares of prime 1er Cru vines scattered over ten villages with predominately chardonnay grapes.

The production is onsite, including pressing, bottling, ageing, disgorging and labelling.

LP -Can you tell me some historical facts on this house?

FS -This house started in 1732 and is still family-run, and I believe the cellars date back to the 18th century.

LP -What about Champagne Charlie Burger?

FS -It’s a very good quality Champagne, Grand Cru, Blanc de Blanc, with a blend of 01/02 and 03 vintages. It’s been cellar-aged for five years.

We have used it at some of our events and it’s been quite successful with guests.
Champagne Charlie Burger can be served as an aperitif, with appetizers, dinner or with dessert!
Sales are word-of-mouth and we are now on our 5th shipment.

LP -What are you pricing it at?

FS -A fair market price of $67.00 CDN

LP -So, what’s next for Franco Stalteri?

FS -I’m working on something exciting for February – watch and see!


VISUAL ASPECT: Brilliant colour and golden tints; fine lively bubbles with plenty of finesse.

NOSE: Notes of honey and green apple stand out, followed by complex citrus aromas; nicely mellow overall impression of a pure chardonnay that has aged for several years.

ON THE PALATE: Very fresh, confirming the rich bouquet; lively yet delicate in the attack, followed by a long-lasting finish; good balance between vinosity and elegance.

Champagne Charlie Burger.. A brilliant effort 93/100

Charlie Burger Champagne is available through

Liz Palmer

Winston’s Champagne Bar – A Step Back In Time

Brian Gefter and Michael Satsky, club entrepreneurs, who cater to international clientele, recently opened Winston’s Champagne Bar. This elegant opulent champagne-only bar is located beneath the Gansevoort Park Hotel, New York.

The petite airy space evokes 1940s opulence with black reflective surfaces, Napoleonic wallpaper, bubble chandeliers, a yellow Schumann piano, and A cozy balcony which reached up a circular staircase.

Cocktail music from the 1940’s fills the air while you enjoy your Champagne sipping.

There are over 100 choices from 20 houses. Including the Grande Marque, there is also an emphasis on grower Champagnes, including: Billiot, Egly Ouriet and Jacques Selosse, and the finds by the glass prove to be a great adventure, including Godmé and Agrapart.

Men in dark, conservative attire. Some women in suits, lots with over plunging necklines, others slither about in reptilian-print leggings.

Timeless luxury! It’s for the jet-set crowd that’s already arrived.

Winston’s Champagne Bar
420 Park Avenue South (East 29th Street)
(212) 929-9070
Open daily from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Liz Palmer