Exports of Champagne grew for the seventh year in succession - and reached a record high last year.

Total export shipments of Champagne grew by 7.3% in 2007 to reach a new all time record of 150.9m bottles, compared to 140.7m bottles in 2006. This is the seventh consecutive year that exports have grown.

Worldwide shipments – which include France – were up 5.3% to a new absolute record of 338.7m bottles, finally surpassing the ‘false’ pre-millennium shipment level of 327m bottles recorded in 1999.

There were many more shipments than sales in 1999. In the following year – 2000 – this led to the only dip in shipments seen in the past 14 years.

Despite worries of a slowdown in sales, growth in the UK was stronger than in 2006, rising 5.9% to 38.7m bottles, also a new record – the largest volume growth among the top ten markets.

Shipments to China rose 30.4% – but that was still only just over half a million (656,208) bottles.

In terms of percentage growth the biggest increase among the top ten markets came from Spain, up 27.5% to 4.6m bottles, following a 26.7% jump in 2006.

In general, the traditional developed European markets performed better than markets outside Europe.

Europe was up 9% overall, while markets outside Europe increased by an average of 4.7%.

The exception was Japan, which continued its recent strong growth.

Exports there rose by 14.4% to 9.2m bottles, although this is slower rate of increase than the 34.9% achieved in 2006.

Japan maintains its position in terms of volume as the sixth most important market, closing the gap on Belgium.

In terms of value, Japan is already the fourth most important export market ahead of Belgium and Germany.

Among the top ten markets only the USA showed a decline, down 6.2% to 21.7m bottles.

Written by Giles Fallowfield