Chateau d’Esclans/ Whispering Angel
2006 to Present
From start up chateau/brand to worldwide rose wine leader to selling majority interest to LVMH
An old chateau was bought in Cote d’Provence from the son of a renowned burgundy wine expert in France. Rather than follow in father’s footsteps, the son, Sacha Lichine decided to launch his own varieties of rose wine and brand them under the Chateau d’Esclans label. He lovingly restored the chateau and hired a top oenologist to assist with creating the very best rose wines. His vision was to create the greatest roses in the world igniting the “Rose Renaissance”.
Prior to this new movement, rose wine was not a global phenomenon. It was mostly only known and consumed by those who lived or visited the Cote d’Azur area in France. It was more of a table wine to be consumed any time of day. With the launch of Chateau d’Esclans, rose wines entered a more rarified category of wines. Our job was first, to position these new rose wine labels as premium brands in France. We chose to host private pink parties in St. Tropez and Monaco to launch the roses with VIP jetset guest lists. Next, we decided to become the official rose wine for Monaco Grand Prix yachts hosting VIP guests including Prince Albert. We continued this partnership for many years. We added socialite yacht events like Denise Rich’s MY/Lady Joy in St. Tropez and her annual Angel Ball in NYC.
Next, we had to educate Americans and others who don’t spend summers in St. Tropez and surrounding areas, that rose wine is actually a fun, fine wine to enjoy in summertime anywhere anytime, not only in the South of France. We did this with special events with very select consumers at events aboard yachts in Miami like aboard Nicolas Cage’s Feadship yacht and The Hamptons offering tasting opportunities.
We worked on opening key accounts in Miami, NYC and The Hamptons to give the rose labels consumer visibility. Whispering Angel became the market leader and household rose wine brand. This name was chosen because it is easy to pronounce and remember versus a French name. It also has a folkloric backstory on how the name came about. Owner, Sacha Lichine would go into his chapel at Chateau d’Esclans after dinner and drinking his rose and sit quietly there. Then he would start hearing the ‘angels whispering’ to him and voila, the cupid angel images were put on the bottles and named after them, Whispering Angel.
After successes in South of France, Miami, NYC & Hamptons, Chateau d’Esclans single-handedly took on the world including Asia, the Middle East and the rest of Europe. Today, Chateau d’Esclan rose wines are distributed and sold worldwide and are the market leaders. Thus, the vision to create a “Rose Renaissance” became a reality worldwide. Today people drink rose wine in almost every market and no longer just in summertime, but year-round.
In 2020, a majority of Chateau d’Esclans was sold to LVMH.
Chateau d’Esclans/Whispering Angel newsletters
1976 to 1999
From Bankruptcy to $300 million to being sold to Walmart
1976 Founded as contemporary American jeanswear brand growing into mega brand licensed worldwide. Fell into bankruptcy due to owner negligence.
1988 Bankrupt Sasson trademark bought by venture capital firm, Trust Company of the West. Gainer brought in by licensing agent to relaunch brand from bankruptcy. Chose to re-launch via worldwide licensing program eliminating risks of inventory and repositioned brand from upstairs department store label to mass and discount label. Updated logo with computer generated graphics and brand identity with new packaging program differentiating men’s women’s, boy’s, girl’s, children’s and infant labeling. Drew upon heritage of brand (oo la la with All American image rather than sex image) utilizing celebrities in advertising updated with family values image. Created generic advertising and promotion campaign for all licensed product categories. Presented advertising and fashion trend stories seasonally to all licensees worldwide for unified global brand and product image. Sold brand corporately to top management at major retail chains.
1991 Sasson brand grew from bankruptcy to $300 million through execution of successful global licensing program.
1999 Sasson sold to Walmart