This year’s Poppy Appeal to help raise funds for the Royal British Legion and those in the Armed Forces in the need of support has even more significance than normal as it marks the 100 year centenary from when the Legion was first founded. To help mark the occasion, and to raise money, The Royal British Legion has teamed up with Eminent Wines and Champagne Jacober to blend three limited edition Champagnes that are being released to the trade and to the public. Here’s how you can get involved in the centenary and supporting the new Champagnes.
Ben France, head of corporate partnerships at The Royal British Legion explains how it is working with Eminent Wines and Champagne Jacober to mark its 100-year Remembrance celebrations.
Tell us about how you are looking to work with the wine industry to help promote your 100 year anniversary?
In two key ways:
1 Toast The Royal British Legion: Eminent Wines and the Royal British Legion invites individuals in the wine trade to raise a toast to the Royal British Legion and celebrate freedom and peace with the act of Remembrance.
2 Consider buying and listing the RBL range: The RBL has created three Champagnes in partnership with Eminent Wines. Ten percent from every sale will go to the charity, which celebrates its centenary in 2021 and provides life-long support to the Armed Forces community. In the run up to the annual Remembrance, and the special service of 100 years on October 12 2021, we are looking for UK partners to champion, stock, list, or buy via the Eminent Wines website to support this great cause.
Can you explain some of the work that the Royal British Legion does and your plans for the centenary?
The RBL is the UK’s largest charity dedicated to supporting the Armed Forces community, past and present, and their families and monies raised from sales of the Champagne will go towards continuing its support of:
People from all generations have had to face new hardships as a result of Covid-19. During the pandemic, calls to access food parcels have increased dramatically, as people need help to feed themselves and their families. We are also here to support those who are isolated from their family, who are feeling lonely, facing homelessness, or in financial crisis. We often support people who never imagined they would have to ask for charity support.
The Poppy Appeal will begin on October 28 2021 with a special service of 100 years remembrance on October 12 at Westminster Abbey.
The RBL is the UK’s largest charity dedicated to supporting the needs of the Armed Forces community, past, and present, and their families.
Due to the pandemic and Covid-19 restrictions, Eminent Wines and the Royal British Legion soft-launched the limited range of the RBL 100 Champagne Range on 15 May 2021 – the date 100 years ago The Royal British Legion formed.
What are you doing to mark the link up with Eminent Wines and the release of your own Champagnes?
A number of celebrities were sent a bottle of the RBL 100 Champagne They kindly posted a video clip on their social media platform to raise a glass to toast the Royal British Legion centenary. You can see a clip here of Stephen Fry, Elaine Paige, and Lesley Joseph: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17955656278436327/
You are also giving members of the wine trade a chance to take part and win your new Champagnes?
We would also like to welcome members of the wine trade to film their toast to the RBL, or send their RBL image and story and post to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using #RBL100 #champagnejacober to raise a glass to toast the RBL to @eminentwines @royalbritishlegion.
You are also offering a prize as well?
The best story or image will win a trio of the RBL 100 Champagnes Reveille (Brut), Champs de Fleurs (Rosé) and Centurion (Blanc de Blanc).
Can you tell us more about the Champagne range and how you went about bringing it together?
The grapes for the RBL 100 Celebration range come from Champagne Jacober and from their vines on the southern Grand Cru and Premier Cru hillsides of Épernay . Jerome Jacober, founder and chief executive of Eminent Wines, was part of the selection and blending proces and has selected wines that have been aged for 24 months in its authentic 18th-century cellars and as he says are the result of a “quiet” fermentation” to produce “fine, delicate, celebratory bubbles”.
The trio of champagne was chosen as each name resonates with the values of the Royal British Legion:
- Reveille (Brut): A name inspired by the music which follows The Last Post and Two Minute Silence at Remembrance services. It was awarded a Silver medal in the 2021 Decanter Wine Awards.
- Champs de Fleurs (Rosé) : Translates from French to ‘fields of flowers’, in reference to the fields of poppies that flourished on the Western Front following the First World War, which lead to the red poppy becoming a symbol of Remembrance and hope for a peaceful future.
- Centurion (Blanc de Blanc): A name to celebrate the 100 years of the Royal British Legion.
The label has also been designed to ensure and reflect the spirit of the Remembrance and the values of freedom and peace using an image of wild poppies.
Why did you choose to work with Eminent Wines and Champagne Jacober?
The relationship started in 2020 when they were involved in supporting our Poppy Ball in London and our discussions have gone on from there. Jerome Jacober says he was keen to personally keen to do what they could to help those who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and help with our fundraising efforts.
During the pandemic, charities have had to be ever more creative and innovative in the way they raise funds. The money raised from our RBL 100 Champagne sales will help us continue to provide life-long support to the Armed Forces community. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Eminent Wines and are grateful for their support. What better way to raise a toast to the Royal British Legion during our centenary year than with a bottle of our delicious champagne.
Where are you looking to sell the Champagnes in the UK?
The three bespoke cuvées of Champagne Jacober are available to purchase via the website at https://www.eminentwines.com/rbl with 10% from the sale price of every bottle sold going to the Royal British Legion – so if you buy all three then £10 will go to the charity. The RBL online poppy shop will also be listing the Champagnes. But if any retailers, restaurants or merchants want to find out more how they can help then they can contact Maria Walter, customer service at Eminent Wines, at email@example.com.
What are the prices of the The RBL 100 Champagne Range bottle range?
- Reveille (Brut) £45 per bottle
- Champs de Fleurs (Rosé) £55 per bottle
- Centurion (Blanc de Blanc) £55 per bottle
- Large formats of Centurion
- Magnum: £125.00 per magnum
- Double Magnums £285.00 per double magnum
Eminent Wines considered each Champagne’s blend and price point to ensure the quality is at a parable price point, affordable, and comparable with other mainstream Champagnes. Eminent Wines will also be holding a Champagne tasting for the press and trade in October in central London – date and venue will be announced shortly.
Did you think of making an English sparkling wine?
In choosing Champagne, we looked at the history of the Royal British Legion and wanted to pay tribute to the historic relationship between France and the United Kingdom which dates back to well before 1914-1918 and the creation of the Royal British Legion.
One of the founders and later president of The Royal British Legion, Field Marshal Douglas Haig, spent the most important part of his career as Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in France. His unwavering support for France included forcing the Germans into a war of attrition that made German attacks on French territory much more difficult.
Douglas Haig also took unimaginable risks during the Battle of Amiens by combining infantry and air force on a single flank of attack, which resulted in saving his French allies.
At the end of the war, he remained in France, notably at the beginning of the reconstruction of Dunkirk, where he supervised the “demining” operations conducted in the north of the country by several hundred or even thousands of British deminers. In recognition of his dedication, Field Marshal Douglas Haig was awarded the French Legion of Honour on February 24 1916. He was president of the Royal British Legion from its inception until his death in 1928.
Like Sir Winston Churchill, Field Marshal Douglas Haig was a great lover of champagne.
What else are you doing to celebrate 100 years?
Eminent Wines and the Royal British Legion held an inaugural tasting of the Champagnes at a special event on Armed Forces Day on June 262021. Veterans attended the event (image attached) including Wirral veteran Dave Wakelam, who joined the Army at 16 and served in Borneo. He said of the day: “We loved sampling the Champagne, it tastes fantastic, but the fact that it is raising money for our armed forces community is brilliant and I hope people get hold of a bottle to support the RBL and raise a toast to our veterans.”
Eminent Wines will also be sending a bottle of Champagne to key supporters of the Royal British Legion who have dedicated their time and resources to promoting and supporting the Royal British Legion.
For example, one recipient, Vera Parnaby, aged 81, is known affectionately as Mrs Poppy who has been a dedicated and committed poppy seller for more than seven decades and has raised well in excess of £1m for the Poppy Appeal. In 2013 she received the chairman’s medal for her years of service. It has now part of her family’s heritage too and she says her great grandson “now comes out to help”.
- You can find our more about Eminent Wines’ range here
- You can find our more about the Royal British Legion and the work it does here.