Cyril’s grandfather Michel built new cellars during the 1950s and 1960s and developed the domain by creating the first non-vintage cuvée, as well as a demi-sec champagne.
“Times were a lot different from today,” Cyril Janisson, who runs the domain together with his brother Maxence, recounts.
“The domain has undergone immense change with every generation. These first non-vintage cuvées were still vinified in concrete and enamel-lined tanks, which my father later changed when he introduced stainless steel tanks in the 1970s, and then I chose new things again when I arrived. We all have our way, and with every generation the tank sizes became smaller and the press became a different one,” he muses.
Cyril Janisson, eight years older than his brother Maxence, was more interested in the commercial aspects of the wine business when he was young, and left the region to do his commercial studies, spend a year in Burgundy, and travel around. For a long time, Cyril didn’t want to work at his family domain and dreamed of other jobs, but his time spent studying changed his mind.
“I loved the commercial aspect of the business a lot and had the chance to join the wine fairs of the Vignerons Indépendants during my studies, where I was absolutely impressed by the diversity of wines I got to discover from all over France, and put Champagne in context with them; something I might have never discovered without my studies.”
In 1995, his education complete, his vision becomes more precise and he is keen to work at the domain. “When I asked my father whether there was a chance I could join the domain, he said it would be difficult as we only produced 25,000 bottles at that time.” Cyril’s answer is a prompt one, asking his father why they couldn’t scale up their bottle production.
“I remember that my father walked me through our production facilities with a worried face and showed me the biggest problem: my father was still doing all the riddling by hand and we just didn’t have enough space.”
But Cyril had a plan in mind, and that same year they decided to invest in gyropalettes. ” When our first gyropalette arrived it was like magic, comparable to a huge family finally receiving a washing machine,” Cyril remembers. “All of a sudden we were able to riddle a lot more bottles in less time.” Applying the new technical help allowed them to scale up production and meant there was more room for Cyril to join the domain. “Finding this solution was the only way we could work together. My father was 45 years old when I finished my studies, and he didn’t plan to leave the domain any time soon. I was still very young, 21 years of age, and any discussion about taking over the domain at this point was far out of sight.”
Read the full story in CUVÉE Magazine No. 3 | Spéciale Champagne.Order your copy in our shop