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FRENCH champagne producer Comte de Lantage will expand its marketing operations throughout Australia following its success in the WA market.

Comte de Lantage president director general Alain Mandois was in Perth recently to announce the decision.

M. Mandois is a direct descendant of Victor Mandois, who founded the family’s vineyard in the mid 1800s.

Wine importer Lucien Gray was appointed last year as Australia/New Zealand head of marketing and, according to M. Mandois, was a great success.

The company sold $250,000 worth of champagne in WA over the Christmas/New Year period.

M. Mandois said the company began exporting six years ago.

Previously, the brand was only sold in France. Now 80 per cent of sales are outside Europe.

“The French market has become a mass market,” Msr Mandoir said.

“Our priority is on quality, not quantity, and Australia is attractive because it is a quality-driven market.

“Australians are ready to pay a price for something special. However, it is cheaper than big name brands like Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot.

“There is a niche here for lesser known brands.”

M. Mandois said Mr Gray would soon open a Sydney office.

“The Sydney office will control the distribution in Victoria and we will follow up with marketing in Queensland, South Australia and New Zealand,” M. Mandois said.

“WA has been an ideal starting point to test the Australian market.”

M. Mandois said the company would completely renew its range this year.

“The new products will be marketed into WA around June,” he said.

“We will also change our image, which was created six years ago.

“Using the Internet for business will become our major priority.

“We will make the site as interactive as possible so we can link directly with individual customers.

“The site will promote France as a region and offer tasting tips,” he said.

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