by Cynthia Sin-Yi Cheng
October 1, 2005
External Relations Manager
In a past life, Pascale Rousseau was an art historian who traveled around Europe guiding art and architecture tours. Today, she is the public face of maison Krug at their Reims headquarters. One can hardly imagine being better received and shown around this most luxuriant of champagne houses. Pascale is a seamless extension of the charm behind Krug.
You seem to have found the perfect fit for your love of aesthetics and your enthusiasm for sharing the art of living with others. What was the path that brought you to where you are today?
While my family did not have a high standard of living, my parents would nonetheless open a bottle of champagne at least twice a month, if not every Sunday. I grew up with the feeling that of course all events in life — whether large or small — had to be celebrated with champagne. But above all, champagne at home was — and still is — synonymous with spending a pleasant and relaxed moment with those you love, celebrating simply the "moment" as a unique one.
Years later, once I had become a tour guide, I found that I wanted to share the beautiful things in life with people. It seemed an almost natural continuation to join a champagne house. It was not Krug, though, and I still remember how we were all dreaming of that name. Fifteen years later I was living in Provence when a friend called to say that the house of Krug was recruiting an external relations manager. Some people believe they have a guardian angel. I feel I have at least a lucky star!
Could you share with us an occasion, other than a celebratory one, when you would choose to serve champagne?
Imagine a Monday evening (Tuesday would work too!): your day at work was terrible. Back home you feel you are a hero simply because you survived! This is the right time to enjoy a nice half bottle of Krug. Your Monday night immediately becomes a Friday.
From your point of view, how do you feel Champagne has evolved over the recent decades?
There have been years of democratization throughout the 70s, years of "gimmick" tendencies in the 80s — when consumers would be happy to get free candles or glasses with their bottle of champagne. This was followed by years of strong ambition in the 90s when everyone thought there would be a lack of champagne to celebrate the new millennium. Today, quality and a certain sobriety now seem to pervade the trends in the 2000s among a majority of market-players.
What are you referring to by the democratization of champagne in the 70s?
It was certainly along those years that more and more French families started to abandon their traditional aperitifs before the mid-day Sunday dinner. Historically the choices were port, whisky, Cinzano, or a martini. In the 70s, the more bourgeois families started to simply say, "Let’s have champagne!" and would open a bottle to serve as an aperitif rather than as something that was just for birthdays, Christmas, and other special occasions. Soon, keeping a bottle “just in case" in the bottom of the fridge became a sign of refinement. And it still is!