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Title: The establishment of champagne in Britain, 1860-1914
Author: Harding, Robert Graham
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 6010
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis is the first to study the history of champagne in nineteenth-century Britain, a period in which the usage and style of champagne changed fundamentally. From a sweet, lightly effervescent wine drunk on its own or with desserts, it became a fully dry and fully sparkling wine drunk throughout the meal. The central questions I address are why these changes occurred and what role the marketing and branding of champagne played in these changes. This analysis integrates production studies (including marketing and branding) and consumption studies by drawing on the rich vein of contemporary consumption data and the evidence of the day-to-day practice of the London agents of the French champagne houses. The thesis demonstrates that champagne was able to develop uniquely powerful brands that were managed in ways that closely prefigure the marketing practice of modern luxury brand owners. Historiography: Whilst there have been many books on the subject of consumption in the last three decades, very few of these have focused on drinkers and drinking. There have also been many different approaches to consumption studies from sociologists, anthropologists, literary scholars and historians and this work draws on all those traditions. My own interest lies in the changing daily habits of consumption and I have therefore drawn extensively not just on the historical scholarship but also on the writings of modern experts on branding and marketing to understand how consumer choice is currently understood and managed. The commercial importance of food and drink means much work has been done in these areas - not excluding wine. The history of drink in the last three centuries, however, has had relatively little interest until recently. Recent works by John Burnett, Charles Ludington and James Simpson illuminate the general history of wine in Britain but, though there are many general books on champagne, there has only been one history, that published by André Simon in 1905. Simon, agent for a champagne producer, was well placed to understand the trade and his work remains an important source. I have endeavoured to review all these works through the lens of the nineteenth-century British press and the archives of selected champagne producers and their British distributors.
Supervisor: Whyte, William ; de Bellaigue, Christina Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Champagne (Wine) ; Branding ; Wine marketing ; Consumption