Julian White is the Ambassador in the United Kingdom of the Confrérie du Sabre d'Or, encouraging The Art of Sabrage, which is the removal of the cork from the bottle with a sabre. Julian is just one of over twenty worldwide Ambassadors.
After a career in the British Army Julian White set up his business, Julian White Agencies, specialising in Fine French wines for the consumer as well as the wine trade. Julian is also a wine consultant and also organises tours of vineyards.
What inspired you to change from Military to Wine?
It was really a matter of time for me to retire from active service but not retiring from work. As I had always had an interest in Wine, it was a natural progression to join the trade. I had been in the wine trade for 20 years before being appointed Ambassador for the UK.
What has been the highlight of you career in Sabrage, to date?
I reckon that every year brings a new highlight in Sabrage. We have had some splendid gala balls and dinners at The Dorchester, Park Lane and The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park amongst others. Each one surpassing the previous! My personal highlight was sabraging a Methusalem of Champagne and being elevated to the highest rank – Grand Commandeur in 2009. But then last year the Grand -Maître announced that I was Best Ambassador of the Year 2011 at a Grand Gala in Deauville. So every year brings a new highlight for me as well as the UK Chapter.
Why 'The Art of Sabrage'?
It is an Art. Simple though it actually is, a novice can make a mess of the act if he or she doesn’t follow carefully the instructions of the Maître-Sabreur. If followed exactly it results in a perfect first sabrage, which is re-assuring to the novice who then proceeds to carry out the Act with increasing perfection every time.
What is important to your customers and how do you connect with them?
As a Wine Agent I have customers, as the Confrérie’s ambassador I have members and their guests. Many are both customer and colleague in sabrage. The Caveaux ( Hotels and Restaurants appointed by the Confrérie) are both customers and friends. Their support for our Order, supplying venues and so forth, is reciprocated by our help with their events. It is important for Caveaux and individual members to know that we are always on hand to provide the best in entertainment and bags of Champagne. They are kept in touch through our website and the monthly newsletter.
What does the future hold for 'The Art of Sabrage'?
The Art of Sabrage will continue. It is a more eclectic method of opening the bottle that the conventional way with sprained wrist and damp cloth! But, it introduces the audience into actual participation. Most sabreurs are instantly copied by others aspiring to do this, resulting in more Champagne being opened and more sabreurs ready to join the commissioned ranks of Chevalier de la Confrérie du Sabre d’Or.