Q. You joined Krug as CEO during the financial turmoil in 2008. What was the first thing you wanted to change?
A. My first wish was to change how we communicate about Krug. It is much simpler to talk about why we exist than what we do. While what we do is more on the technical side, the reason we exist tells a memorable story that's also very inspiring.
Q. Luxury Champagne labels have been collaborating with artists, fashion and industrial designers. What criteria do you have for collaborators with Krug?
A. Our approach to Champagne creation is a perfect parallel to a music director putting together a group of musicians for a great performance. That has inspired our decision to collaborate with musicians. We invite world-famous musicians to come to the maison and taste all our Champagnes. After the tastings, they look for the right music to pair with [the Champagnes]. This pairing will enhance the tasting experience for anyone using the Krug ID, a six-digit number on the back label of any Krug bottle, on the Krug app or at Krug.com.
Q. How do you see Krug positioning itself in emerging markets such as China?
A. We go very slowly. We start seeding without expecting much for the time being. We are a discrete and very elegant maison, and this will not change. Given time, more people from emerging markets will be interested in understated luxury, then we will be the best option and for sure we will be there [when the time comes].
Q. How important is heritage to the Krug brand?
A. It is extremely important. Our maison responds perfectly well to the vision and dream of the founder, Joseph Krug. It is a privilege to see how 170 years later, what we do responds perfectly to his original vision - the sixth generation of the founding family is still with us.
Our founder had a vision to create the very best Champagne every year, regardless of the climate variations. His dream was to give the full music of Champagne every time in the glass. We continue to create the richest expression of Champagnes every year, including Krug Grande Cuvée, which does not exist elsewhere. The better we know our history, the better we will write the future of the house.
Q. What has been the most effective strategy you've implemented with Krug?
A. Reconnecting with our roots to understand very well why we exist - knowing [that] allows the house to find always ways of renewing itself. We created a window in the digital world for every bottle of Krug. The launch of Krug ID and the Krug app has been a very effective initiative. Opening up to the digital world and understanding that we live in the era of information, and also that communication is about telling stories, has been the most effective strategy.
Q. What is your definition of luxury?
A. Luxury is a mille feuille of details, and this is what Krug is about - attention and passion to details for pleasure beyond perfection. Luxury is a great source of pleasure. All these reasons are at the origin of why luxury is about innovating and creating. We cannot innovate in our Champagnes, as we need 20 years to craft every bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée, including at least eight years resting in our cellars, but we can innovate in what is around the Champagne itself, and this is what we do.
Q. What is the key to retaining Krug's level of luxury?
A. We are committed to increasing our levels of exigency and discipline, and we will continue to enrich our non-compromise philosophy. Our volumes are restricted due to the complexity of the savoir faire, and we will not change this. The volume of Krug can fit in three tanks, and our cellar master has 400 wines from which to choose what he will need to create the Champagnes of the year.