Paillard accuses Bollinger of copying his ‘unique’ bottle

Bruno Paillard has accused Bollinger of copying the shape of his ‘unique’ bottle in a press release sent to UK journalists and magazines this afternoon (3rd August). At the start of the release entitled: “When Bollinger copies Bruno Paillard” it says: ‘Even when introduced as an innovation, an irresistible urge to make it rhyme with imitation takes us when we discover the new Bollinger bottle…

And between a picture of the two bottles it continues: ‘See for yourself to which extent it appropriates the exclusive bottle designed in 1984 by Bruno Paillard for the wines bearing his name.’

There is then a quite lengthy quote as follows from Paillard detailing his reaction. “I am deeply shocked that a house – who by the way advertises an ‘ethic’ charter and whose direction I regularly meet every month at the Union des Maisons de Champagne board never has the courtesy to discuss this subject – allow themselves to copy an existing model. At this stage we only have superimposed pictures of their bottle on ours and recorded they were rigorously identical. We will of course ask an expertise on their bottle, and if it turns out they are the exact same model, we will have to start a judicial process, our bottle being registered in many countries.

“I designed this bottle almost 30 years ago, not only to distinguish our House, but also to increase the exchange surface between the wine and the lees, increasing this way the complexity of our wines. This antique shape may remind of a small magnum, but it is not its goal.”

Posing the question to himself as to whether imitation is the sincerest form of flattery Paillard ends by saying: “Maybe, but in such case one can also consider it a servile copy. Which does not make me feel flattered but attacked to tell the truth.”

Bollinger’s offices in Aÿ are currently closed for a pre-harvest break but a spokesman issued the following statement: “We do not wish to comment directly on claims made last week regarding the redesigned shape of our bottle. However, as explained at the initial launch in May, we would like to underline the fact that this redesign drew inspiration from the collection of bottles in our cellars which date back to the mid-19th century.”