Global Champagne sales continued to increase in both volume and value in 2015, according to the first official estimates.
Champagne sales 2015: First estimates released
Vincent Perrin, director of regional trade body Comité Champagne, said the provisional Champagne sales total for 2015 was 312m bottles, an increase of almost 2% from the 307m bottles sold in 2014.
Sales rose by 5% in value to 4.75bn euros. Export sales drove growth, even if French sales crept up by 0.2% in volume during the year.
A stronger pace of growth for value sales versus volume also suggests that prestige cuvées continued to sell well in 2015, albeit the effect of currency swings was not initially revealed.
The Comité Champagne tries to anticipate market demand by setting harvest limits.
In 2015, the harvest was capped at 10,000 kg per hectare or the equivalent of 292m bottles. Around 14.5m bottles will be added to this on 1 February, coming from the extra 500kg per hectare growers can draw from their reserves.
The reserve stocks currently stand at 9,700 kg per hectare of vineyard and the aim is to reduce these stocks to 8,000 kg per hectare by 2019.
The 8m bottle difference between the sales and production volume allows the Champenois to slightly reduce their bottled stocks and thus ease financial demands. The focus on drawing from reserves makes it unlikely production volumes will increase in the next few years.
Perrin also reconfirmed the Comité Champagne’s commitment to sustainable winegrowing.
He concluded his yearly address at the St Vincent winemakers’ festival by stating that Champagne is actively looking to attract younger consumers with the help of digital communication and a network of Champagne educators.